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Back Squat, Knees past toes
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Author:  Oscar_Actuary [ Mon May 16, 2011 2:22 pm ]
Post subject:  Back Squat, Knees past toes

On the "knees past toes" part.
(from Rob-t-us form check)

I'm a victim of too much information, but isnt the point that the weight should be on the mid foot and back, and not on the toes. Isn't the relative position of the knees to toes based on anatomy, too.
That is, as long as you are not puting the weight on your toes, they still may end up ahead of the knees. With Bar over midfoot and back nuetral, and thighs just past parallel, something has to give, especially if you have long legs, no?

I thought it was like the Deadlift. Rippetoe emphasis a few ques and not the angle of the back.

Author:  mark74 [ Mon May 16, 2011 3:33 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Back Squat, Knees past toes

Yeah that part left me puzzled as well. The reply I gave myself is robt AFAICT uses a high bar squat whereas Rip teaches to keep the bar low, so the torso should end up being more upright than you would see in a low bar squat. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

Author:  KenDowns [ Mon May 16, 2011 4:28 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Back Squat, Knees past toes

Contributing my own ignorance, it seems as well simply having weight anywhere on your upper back changes the dynamics.

If I try to "sit back" into a squat to warm up with no weight I feel like I'm going to fall over backward, which I kind of figured is because the center of mass is behind my feet. But when there's weight on the bar near my shoulders that center of mass is now right over my feet.

Author:  Paperclip [ Mon May 16, 2011 4:31 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Back Squat, Knees past toes

I think the focus is should be how to squat with a good form, though you can argue that "safety" is important too in an exercise, which is also correct especially if you have a problem or an injury. But in this case, "knees shouldn't be past toes" sounds arbitrary to me as a safety parameter. On top of that, if you think that the more common high bar squats are done with the knees past toes, a person who gives this advice could be someone who squats only halfway/partially to keep his/her knees behind his/her toes, which is actually a more important matter to be considered.

Author:  robt-aus [ Mon May 16, 2011 5:06 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Back Squat, Knees past toes

in addition to the considerable personalised information provided in the form check thread, i can repeat what i've read. i know I understand the words, but i'm still working to ensure i perform these steps.
after asking for all this help, i'm still in a learning phase as i need technique changes.

on page 29 of my Starting Strength 2nd ed Coach Rip lists 5 basic conditions or "anatomical position markers" that constitute good technique. to paraphrase:

spine rigid in lumbar & thoracic extension
bar vertical to middle of foot
feet flat at correct angle for stance width
thighs parallel to feet
acetablulum lower than top of patella

he does say that knee movement past toes depends on your individual shape (SS 2nd, pg 15), but that it will happen.

of course there's lots of other squat variations and his is but one approach. but we all know this.

mark74 thank you for the observation about bar position - i'm attempting to do low back bar squats so i'll see if i can position the bar any lower.

Author:  Oscar_Actuary [ Mon May 16, 2011 6:32 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Back Squat, Knees past toes

I want Kenny Croxdale to see this.
He said to keep shins perpendicular more than once here

Maybe I should have just put his name in the title.

All the input is nice though!

Author:  Jungledoc [ Mon May 16, 2011 7:18 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Back Squat, Knees past toes

Kenny is a powerlifter (don't let his age fool you, he's getting higher totals now in his 50s than he did in his 30s), and for a powerlifter, the more vertical the shins the better. Vertical shins are no where near past the toes--this is essentially the same cue. I think Rippetoe's point is that knees not past toes is not a safety issue, but will help you get more weight, which is why powerlifters emphasize it. For the average fitness lifter, it doesn't matter.

Author:  mark74 [ Tue May 17, 2011 6:18 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Back Squat, Knees past toes

Jungledoc wrote:
and for a powerlifter, the more vertical the shins the better.


Ah, that's interesting, I would have thought sitting back would limit the amount of weight instead, it seems harder to me. Anyway, armed with that knowledge I scavenged this post which gives some insights as to the execution details of a PL squat.

I remember reading somewhat heated discussions where people would argue whether the so called athletic squat taught by Rip is a PL squat or not. They certainly look fairly similar although the stance is wider in the PL squat.

Author:  Kenny Croxdale [ Tue May 17, 2011 6:40 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Back Squat, Knees past toes

KenDowns wrote:
Contributing my own ignorance, it seems as well simply having weight anywhere on your upper back changes the dynamics.

If I try to "sit back" into a squat to warm up with no weight I feel like I'm going to fall over backward, which I kind of figured is because the center of mass is behind my feet. But when there's weight on the bar near my shoulders that center of mass is now right over my feet.


Ken,

Falling Backwards

This indicates your sitting back like you should in a powerliring squat...bar low on back and more hip involvement.

Counter Balance

Having to put more weight on the back allows you to drive back, it counter balances your sitting back.

You've got it right for a powerlifing squat.

Kenny Croxdale

Author:  Kenny Croxdale [ Tue May 17, 2011 6:47 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Back Squat, Knees past toes

Paperclip wrote:
I think the focus is should be how to squat with a good form, though you can argue that "safety" is important too in an exercise, which is also correct especially if you have a problem or an injury. But in this case, "knees shouldn't be past toes" sounds arbitrary to me as a safety parameter.


Paperclip,

Olympic Lifter Squats

Olympic lifter squatting do drive there knees forward. They don't seem to have any problems.

Various research indicates this is not necessarily a problem.

However, driving the knees forward defintiely places more "shear force" on the knees.

Powelifting Squats

Keeping your knees perpendicular to the floor, minimizes the "shear force" on the knees.

The trade off is more stress on the hips.

Chose Your Poison

So, it a bit of a trade off.

Kenny Croxdale

Author:  Kenny Croxdale [ Tue May 17, 2011 6:58 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Back Squat, Knees past toes

Jungledoc wrote:
Kenny is a powerlifter (don't let his age fool you, he's getting higher totals now in his 50s than he did in his 30s), and for a powerlifter, the more vertical the shins the better. Vertical shins are no where near past the toes--this is essentially the same cue. I think Rippetoe's point is that knees not past toes is not a safety issue, but will help you get more weight, which is why powerlifters emphasize it. For the average fitness lifter, it doesn't matter.


Jungledoc,

I appreciate the plug.

"Youth is wated on the young."

I did well in my 50s because I know more about how to train.

"If had know then (in my 30s) what I know now..." I'd have done a lot more back in my 30s.

As you noted, knees being driven foward is not a safety issue. However, it does place more stress on the knees.

Bottom Line

Like you doctors say, "If it hurts, don't do it."

Kenny Croxdale

Author:  Paperclip [ Tue May 17, 2011 8:43 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Back Squat, Knees past toes

Kenny Croxdale wrote:
Paperclip,

Olympic Lifter Squats

Olympic lifter squatting do drive there knees forward. They don't seem to have any problems.

Various research indicates this is not necessarily a problem.

However, driving the knees forward defintiely places more "shear force" on the knees.

Powelifting Squats

Keeping your knees perpendicular to the floor, minimizes the "shear force" on the knees.

The trade off is more stress on the hips.

Chose Your Poison

So, it a bit of a trade off.

Kenny Croxdale


True, Kenny. It's also in accordance with my experience.

mark74 wrote:
ons where people would argue whether the so called athletic squat taught by Rip is a PL squat or not. They certainly look fairly similar although the stance is wider in the PL squat.


All powerlifters in the place I train squat with low bar and shoulder width stance, basically what Rip teaches. I don't know if that's the best form for them but they do it because they are taught to do so.

Author:  KenDowns [ Tue May 17, 2011 9:18 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Back Squat, Knees past toes

Kenny Croxdale wrote:
KenDowns wrote:
Contributing my own ignorance, it seems as well simply having weight anywhere on your upper back changes the dynamics.

If I try to "sit back" into a squat to warm up with no weight I feel like I'm going to fall over backward, which I kind of figured is because the center of mass is behind my feet. But when there's weight on the bar near my shoulders that center of mass is now right over my feet.


Ken,

Falling Backwards

This indicates your sitting back like you should in a powerliring squat...bar low on back and more hip involvement.

Counter Balance

Having to put more weight on the back allows you to drive back, it counter balances your sitting back.

You've got it right for a powerlifing squat.

Kenny Croxdale


Wow, now that's encouraging. :salute:

FWIW, today's number for squats is 165#, more than I've done before, but still no sense of impending stall. I'm very curious as to how far I'll get before that first stall.

Author:  mark74 [ Tue May 17, 2011 9:35 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Back Squat, Knees past toes

Paperclip wrote:
All powerlifters in the place I train squat with low bar and shoulder width stance, basically what Rip teaches. I don't know if that's the best form for them but they do it because they are taught to do so.


That's interesting. I'd guess it's some kind of trade off, i.e. reaping some benefits from both positions while avoiding extremes that can be hard to execute or put too much strain on some structures. I'd certainly like to hear more.

Author:  Paperclip [ Tue May 17, 2011 10:05 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Back Squat, Knees past toes

mark74 wrote:
Paperclip wrote:
All powerlifters in the place I train squat with low bar and shoulder width stance, basically what Rip teaches. I don't know if that's the best form for them but they do it because they are taught to do so.


That's interesting. I'd guess it's some kind of trade off, i.e. reaping some benefits from both positions while avoiding extremes that can be hard to execute or put too much strain on some structures. I'd certainly like to hear more.


I can't say more of it because I do not train with them, just in the same place. Actually I lied because I trained powerlifting with them in 1 month when I injured my shoulder(s) from olympic lifting. From my experience, what Kenny said is absolutely true because I had groin strain, which I never experienced before, from doing low bar squats and sumo deadlifts.

If you're interested about how do they perform with that kind of squat style, one of the powerlifters who's in 75kg class (I think) is capable of squatting 300kg (with a suit in comps). One coach could allegedly squat 285kg with 63kg of BW. BTW it's kind of amazed me that a PL squat suit can add 50-70kg (110-154lb) to your squat!

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