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 Post subject: Athletic Body in Balance
PostPosted: Sun Dec 30, 2012 5:44 pm 
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So Mrs. Claus brought the book, and it was, ahem, humbling.

On the self motion screen I failed across the board. No pain in any of the moves, but I generally either could not make range of motion, wobbled, couldn't keep knees pointing straight, etc.

I filmed the first three, and was most struck in watching my attempt at deep squat. Suddenly 18 months of squatting experience lined up:

1) My personal form issue is dropping torso too much. Not nearly as bad as it used to be, but if I get in trouble that will be it.

2) Everybody at the gym says I've got great depth

3) Holy cow! On the deep squat with broom handle, I saw that as soon as I hit parallel my hips and knees stopped moving and my torso drops down before I can get the hips or knees to bend any more.

That sure was an eye opener. If i squat exactly to parallel or a smidgen below I've got great form, I just can't get any lower without for some reason bending down at the lower back a bit. After that it gets really ugly and my upper back starts rounding as I go deeper.

The second eye opener was the toe touch progression and deep squat progression. I tried 3 or 4 reps yesterday (still recovering from cold) and got all 10 reps of both today. The toe touch gets easy fast, but the squat progression does not. It gets easier, just not that fast. This is very encouraging. Practice seems to pay off quickly -- well, two days' worth anyway.

Not sure if I have a question, except perhaps what could cause that inflexibility in hips and knees getting past parallel.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2012 1:58 am 
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why do you want do get so much deeper? you are training for powerlifting or not? slightly below parallel should be enough then.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2012 10:08 am 
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ephs wrote:
why do you want do get so much deeper? you are training for powerlifting or not? slightly below parallel should be enough then.


I remember reading, I think from Mike Boyle years ago that you should "learn to squat deep before squatting heavy" - phrased how I remember it, may not be exact.

Not much has turned out to be more true. Not everyone will be able to squat to the same depth but you should be able to move safely and efficiently through the ROM your body will allow.

A quick screen I use to determine this is here - don't know who it is I just searched on youtube.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8rc2E_jkuM8

This is a squat on all 4's. The significance is, it takes away the need to stabilise your body. I like to get an arched back and have clients rock back until they just start to lose their arch. Just before this point is where I want them to be able to squat to before we start squatting heavy. Most men over 30 won't get any where near this ROM when standing. This is a problem! You have to ask what changes when you stand up? The short answer is, you have a stability problem. Your brain now has to worry about NOT falling over so if something in the chain isn't doing what it's supposed to, the brain will shut things down or, "put on the brakes" - in other words, shorten your ROM or achieve the ROM with undesired compensation (like lumbar flexion).

In Kens case, if he can kneeling-rock-back way deeper than he can back squat, then he needs to find and work on a stability fix - most often some kind of anterior core issue (evident if you can front/goblet squat deeper than back squat). If it's the same, then he has a flexibility issue and needs a boatload of foam rolling and stretching along side some stability work - you should always use both (stability and flexibility drills), but your specific problems indicate what you need more of.

Going back to the quote I started with, I have learned that if we make you squat high and heavy when you can't squat deep and efficiently, you will be ok until you get to a certain -and individual- level of strength/fitness which will take you beyond your threshold. This is when aches and pains kick in and, if nothing changes and you keep pushing, injury.

Now, I'll still use a high squat to teach good squat form. Quite often use Box Squats above parallel to teach hip hinging in a squat. We'll use load, yes, but won't be pushing for strength. It'll most often be in some kind of circuit or superset, the emphasise is not on adding more load.

The bottom line is, if you struggle to get into the bottom position of a squat with good form, you will not realise your true strength potential. It should be effortless without load. If it's not, then this should be addressed, and not only will aches and pains magically disappear, you'll be stronger, too, because that effort needed to get into position can be used to actually push weight.

KPj

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2012 10:21 am 
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KenDowns wrote:
Not sure if I have a question, except perhaps what could cause that inflexibility in hips and knees getting past parallel.


Basically, in my opinion, being Male, being in a developed country, sitting on the hips rather than moving from them.

Always worth pointing out that you have lost this ability, so you are aiming to RE gain it, rather than discover it for the first time.

It's just life. I wouldn't get too caught up on the cause, just the fix. You've got it right on practice making perfect - frequency rules with this.

You need to get used to exploring and expressing that ROM. If you think about it, once you start school, really, or at the very latest, working full time, you never express that fuill squat movement. It's how mankind figures out how to stand up, then we just stop doing it. Movement really is a case of "use it or lose it". We just stop using it, so we lose it. To re gain it, we need to use it again. Correctives, progressions, regressions, whatever, are just ways to try and force your body into that ROM, initially. You need this because right now your body doesn't want to go there. When you do it frequently your brain starts to go, "you know what, I know what this is, I remember it how this used to feel". Your brain is "hard wired" for that movement. Correctives just dig out the algorithm and put it to use again.

KPj

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2012 10:25 am 
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Also, while I remember, sometimes the upper body component of holding a dowel over head can be the factor that screws everything up.

You can get away with less than great shoulder and upper back ROM in a back squat and even more so a front squat but an over head squat will call this out if it's a problem.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2012 11:22 am 
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ephs wrote:
why do you want do get so much deeper? you are training for powerlifting or not? slightly below parallel should be enough then.


Can't add much to KP's answers, but the book makes the following point. It says that in a huge number of athletic activities, there is a "ready pose" that is about half-way between a full stand and a deep squat. If you are limited in your range, your ready pose will be halfway between standing and your deepest squat -- you will be at a competitive disadvantage. My joke here is that I can't consider becoming a star pro quarterback because I can't get down properly to receive the hike.

But seriously, think about an all-out squat attempting to set a new personal 1RM. Loaded up to my limit, just at parallel I've now hit the point where I have the least voluntary control over how to move my body. I'm at the extreme limit of my ROM with an extreme weight on my back, and the only way out is to complete the rep. Sounds all bad-boy and hardcore but that's not where I want to be. I'd prefer that when I hit parallel I've got plenty of freedom to move up or down.

Secondly, most squats fail when the lifter pitches forward. If my mobility limitations will cause me to do this every time I go just a bit too far past parallel then I'm wasting a lot of effort on those reps straightening back up again. I'd prefer a more efficient motion without that leak.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2012 12:09 pm 
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you are right in general. but in a competition you only need to reach below parallel. so you would constantly achieve more weight if you would always squat only a bit below parallel at your training, cause you can manage more weight the higher you stop in the squat position. when you go ass to ground you reduce the amount of manageable weight a lot. doesn't that outrule the positive things of deeper squats that you and kpj mentioned above?

an example: if the rule at bench pressing would be to only lower the weight til your arms are horizontal to your body, would anybody train a full bench press til he touches his chest then?

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2012 12:56 pm 
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Ephs,

I don't intend to train weighted back squats below parallel. I will train them as I always have. But for the reasons stated above I do not wish to have the bottom of the motion be the extreme limit of my ROM, nor do I wish to risk pitching forward, therefore I do the exercises in the book (without weights) to increase mobility.

Another way to think about it: if you take a woman to a restaurant and your best guess is it will cost you 75, do you bring exactly 75? Or does a smart man have some extra?


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2012 1:13 pm 
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oh, then i misunderstood you, maybe cause of the language barrier. i thought you aim to train deeper squats, sorry.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2012 1:47 pm 
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ephs wrote:
oh, then i misunderstood you, maybe cause of the language barrier. i thought you aim to train deeper squats, sorry.


Well now that we understand each other, let me confuse things further :grin:

I will in fact be doing weighted deep squats, in addition to normal squats and the mobility drills, but with light weights, like 20-30kg, and with the weight overhead. Here is a woman doing overhead squats with pretty good form, and she's going about as deep as I can go right now.



So to conclude:

1) Regular squats: because we always do squats

2) Unweighted deep squat progression from the book to increase mobility (the main subject of this thread)

3) Completely separate: overhead squats to train stabilizing muscles, improve balance, and just a little bit to improve mobility.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2012 2:10 pm 
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Ken, after watching that video of Nicole doing the 15xBW OHS, I did some searching and found this. http://www.catalystathletics.com/forum/ ... php?t=2624

It's interesting the people who posted in that little thread.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2012 6:50 pm 
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KPj wrote:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8rc2E_jkuM8

This is a squat on all 4's.


It's not really that analogous to a squat on all fours because you've taken the back angle/bar path out of the equation. Once the shoulders aren't restricted by keeping the load over the midfoot the hip joint doesn't have to close nearly as much. If you wanted to screen to be analogous with a loaded squat you'd need to have the clients shoulders remain in contact with the floor, which will almost certainly produce a greater amount of rounding than staying partially elevated on their hands.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2013 3:06 pm 
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i got you ken. go for it. overhead squats are awesome!

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2013 3:13 am 
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sometimes this movemet stuff is taken to far

Like, it'd be cool to have that flexibility to be able ot do an overhead squat. I dont
So what?

I mean really. Does that indicate I have some condition to be concerned ?

I get that one should not load up their {vulnerable body part here} but that aside, all this testing to see what we can do.. blah.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2013 5:21 am 
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JasonJones wrote:
It's not really that analogous to a squat on all fours because you've taken the back angle/bar path out of the equation. Once the shoulders aren't restricted by keeping the load over the midfoot the hip joint doesn't have to close nearly as much. If you wanted to screen to be analogous with a loaded squat you'd need to have the clients shoulders remain in contact with the floor, which will almost certainly produce a greater amount of rounding than staying partially elevated on their hands.


It's certainly flawed if you were to compare it to a loaded back squat or even just squat-the-exercise rather than squat-the-movement.

But it's quick, safe and straight forward to do, and all i'm really looking for is too see how far someone can flex the hips with a neutral lumbar spine. Many people get quite close to their heels on the kneeling rock back yet can't get below parallel when standing up. For reasons you have pointed out they may never get their back-squat to the same depth as their rock-back but if there's a major difference then it's safe to assume there's a stability problem. Also, if they experience pain or discomfort in the hip during the kneeling-rock-back as they move deeper into hip flexion then you have an indication (just an indication) that there may be some kind of structural reason to explain why they have trouble squatting deep, or squatting at all.

It's a mobilisation, I just see everything as an assessment and have found this one quite informative (and accurate, as people have improved mobility).

KPj

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