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PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2012 10:09 am 
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she really sucks at it. Her back rounds right over so that her head is practically between her knees, and she comes up so far onto her toes that I'm worried she'll pitch forward.

I don't think I'm a good enough coach to solve this on my own so any help (this means YOU Kenny) is appreciated.

I'm not even sure what info to give to help you guys to help me so ask away and I'll try and fill you in as best as I can...


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2012 11:34 am 
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robertscott wrote:
she really sucks at it. Her back rounds right over so that her head is practically between her knees, and she comes up so far onto her toes that I'm worried she'll pitch forward.


It might not be the case with your girlfriend, but having a weighted bar on the shoulders - and specifically, near the neck - freaks some people out. It doesn't feel comfortable or natural to them, and it shifts their attention away from their hips and thighs and towards their backs when they try to do the exercise.

She might want to go to bodyweight squats to make sure the basic mechanics are OK. If they are, she can progress to dumbbell squats (first held up to the shoulders with light weights, then at the sides with heavier weights) Or she could do weighted belt squats or goblet squats.

That's all that comes to mind right now. Good luck to your girlfriend with her training.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2012 11:40 am 
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thanks Stephen, I haven't actually tried her with a bar yet, I tried the goblet squat thinkher to do a few sets of the wall squat driing it might help her to keep better position but it didn't.

I'm going to try and get her to do a few sets of the "wall squat" drill to see if that makes the movement a bit more natural


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2012 12:07 pm 
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Put a plate or similar under the heels. It might help too. I don't believe mobility is an issue, right? Put a pvc pipe or a stick on her back so that it touches the butt, thoracic spine and back of the head. Make her squat only as low as these three parts still touch the object. The feeling of the object might give her some motoric clue what posture is needed.

You might want to consider high boxes as well. Squats against a wall or supported by a wall in front to give proper posture.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2012 3:12 pm 
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Here's my 2cents.

If a toddler is available somewhere, watch how the kid squats. They go straight down.

This is how I warm up.

I grab one of the vertical posts of the barbell rack with two hands and squat down. Barefooted, legs spread at shoulder width, knees and toes pointing out like a V as is comfortable. Ass to the grass. When I'm all the way down, my knees are almost at my shoulders. Lean back so the post is keeping you from falling backwards.

Then I do the same with the safety bars in place.

Then I repeat with an empty bar being aware I won't be able to be as straight I was when I'm holding onto something. But try to keep balanced and vertical.

As I get up, I look at the edge of the ceiling and the wall - or close my eyes. I put a little lean backwards to ensure I don't flop forward using my ab and lower back. I ask my spotter to make sure I don't flop backwards.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2012 4:20 pm 
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What cues have you been using with her?

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2012 4:35 pm 
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Oh, when lifting, pretend you are pushing the floor away from you as if you were on the leg press.

I also hesitate but it might be worth it. Try with no load on a smith machine being aware the smith machine gives you a false sense of balance.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2012 4:23 am 
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My advice would be suss the movement out in the warm up first. You can use the warm up to learn new exercises or prepare for new exercises, and it saves any embarrassment from either you or your g/f if try and train the squat and it looks horrible.

Teach the squat with b/w down to a step. Having a step there helps because it gives her something to sit "back" to.

It sounds like she just doesn't know how to squat with the hips, which is very common. I normally find women much easier to deal with in this case because they normally have plenty of flexibility where as some men are tight as a drum so you have that to contend with as well.

Back to the hips - I start off with an explanation, saying currently you squat with the knees and ankles and we need to learn how to squat with the hips. I then explain what "hips back" means. Then I explain what "knees out" means. I'll show them hip backs back and i'll show them knees out. Then I just tell them to push the hips back and the knees out, these 2 thing are all I want them to think about. I tell them depth is irrelevant, we just need to get the movement right and the ROM will come.

Most commonly with people who lack body awareness, they may get one and not the other. So, they may push the knees out but they initiate the movement by shooting the knees forward. Or, they may initiate with the hips but the knees cave in. In that case you tell them they're half way there, "you're getting the hips back, now you just need to push the knees out, too", or, "you're pushing the knees out perfectly but you need to start by reaching back with the hips".

Sometimes, like magic, it just clicks and it's as if they've been squatting like that their whole life (your brain is hard-wired to squat like that). Other times it will require a lot of thought just to do it with bodyweight, in which case I ask them to practice it daily and I won't load it in the workout until it "clicks".

Pushing the hips back and knees out will fire up the glutes and hammies, which is what allows you to squat back - I would argue that a toddler squats back, btw, and not down. Semantics, really, but when you think of squatting as sitting back rather than down it tends to help.

This is the initial approach I use. The clients reaction depends on where I go from there. There's a variety of cues and tips for squatting. For example, holding a light weight or med ball out in front for a counter balance. Wrapping a light band around the knees to "emphasise the mistake" - this, btw, can completely transform a squat in seconds, as the band forcing the knees in causes an automatic "knees out" response.

I stay away from a heel lift because I want people to get back on their heels. Normally if you fix the hips this will happen as a side effect. I know some people use a heel lift initially and progress to flat but it's not something I do. I quite often ask people to remove their shoes because they already have a heel lift on them.

Anyway, nail it with body weight, then go to goblet squats and use it as an exercise. When it's just like "riding a bike", then all you need to do is teach the front squat bar position because she will already be able to do everything else without much thought.

KPj

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2012 11:26 am 
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Dub wrote:
Put a plate or similar under the heels. It might help too. I don't believe mobility is an issue, right? Put a pvc pipe or a stick on her back so that it touches the butt, thoracic spine and back of the head. Make her squat only as low as these three parts still touch the object. The feeling of the object might give her some motoric clue what posture is needed.

You might want to consider high boxes as well. Squats against a wall or supported by a wall in front to give proper posture.


I don't really want to go down the route of elevating heels, I'd rather get her mobile enough so that she can hit depth with her heels on the floor

using a box is a good shout though


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2012 11:28 am 
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Jungledoc wrote:
What cues have you been using with her?


none yet!


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2012 11:29 am 
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KPj wrote:
My advice would be suss the movement out in the warm up first. You can use the warm up to learn new exercises or prepare for new exercises, and it saves any embarrassment from either you or your g/f if try and train the squat and it looks horrible.

Teach the squat with b/w down to a step. Having a step there helps because it gives her something to sit "back" to.

It sounds like she just doesn't know how to squat with the hips, which is very common. I normally find women much easier to deal with in this case because they normally have plenty of flexibility where as some men are tight as a drum so you have that to contend with as well.

Back to the hips - I start off with an explanation, saying currently you squat with the knees and ankles and we need to learn how to squat with the hips. I then explain what "hips back" means. Then I explain what "knees out" means. I'll show them hip backs back and i'll show them knees out. Then I just tell them to push the hips back and the knees out, these 2 thing are all I want them to think about. I tell them depth is irrelevant, we just need to get the movement right and the ROM will come.

Most commonly with people who lack body awareness, they may get one and not the other. So, they may push the knees out but they initiate the movement by shooting the knees forward. Or, they may initiate with the hips but the knees cave in. In that case you tell them they're half way there, "you're getting the hips back, now you just need to push the knees out, too", or, "you're pushing the knees out perfectly but you need to start by reaching back with the hips".

Sometimes, like magic, it just clicks and it's as if they've been squatting like that their whole life (your brain is hard-wired to squat like that). Other times it will require a lot of thought just to do it with bodyweight, in which case I ask them to practice it daily and I won't load it in the workout until it "clicks".

Pushing the hips back and knees out will fire up the glutes and hammies, which is what allows you to squat back - I would argue that a toddler squats back, btw, and not down. Semantics, really, but when you think of squatting as sitting back rather than down it tends to help.

This is the initial approach I use. The clients reaction depends on where I go from there. There's a variety of cues and tips for squatting. For example, holding a light weight or med ball out in front for a counter balance. Wrapping a light band around the knees to "emphasise the mistake" - this, btw, can completely transform a squat in seconds, as the band forcing the knees in causes an automatic "knees out" response.

I stay away from a heel lift because I want people to get back on their heels. Normally if you fix the hips this will happen as a side effect. I know some people use a heel lift initially and progress to flat but it's not something I do. I quite often ask people to remove their shoes because they already have a heel lift on them.

Anyway, nail it with body weight, then go to goblet squats and use it as an exercise. When it's just like "riding a bike", then all you need to do is teach the front squat bar position because she will already be able to do everything else without much thought.

KPj


that was solid gold Kenny, exactly what I was looking for, thanks.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2012 8:05 pm 
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robertscott wrote:
Her back rounds right over so that her head is practically between her knees, and she comes up so far onto her toes that I'm worried she'll pitch forward


I will shamefully admit that these are the exact problems I'm having with my squat. After ignoring it for far too long, I've recently been trying to work on my technique.

Putting a plate under my heels almost completely corrects my form, I am able to squat deep and all but eliminate the rounded back. I've been told that if the plate helps your squat then the cause of your problems is most likely tight calves. Should I continue to build up some strength this way or ditch the plate and work on other techniques to stretch out my calves?

Ignore me if you feel I'm hijacking your thread, I just feel like your girlfriend and I are in a similar position *insert embarrassed sigh here*


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2012 2:30 am 
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bolto wrote:
Putting a plate under my heels almost completely corrects my form, I am able to squat deep and all but eliminate the rounded back. I've been told that if the plate helps your squat then the cause of your problems is most likely tight calves. Should I continue to build up some strength this way or ditch the plate and work on other techniques to stretch out my calves?

Well not directly calves, but ankle mobility in general has been the most usual reason to heels coming off the ground when squatting. Do some ankle mobility drills. These are good ones by Eric Cressey:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lcw4HXnH ... re=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7XmSGBBByF4

You also may want to try to sit back, drive the chest and elbows more up and maybe the head back a little. It could help getting the spine more neutral.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2012 5:08 am 
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Plate under the heels can fix form for a couple of different reasons.

1. Lack of ankle ROM* which has been discussed and this is an easy one to figure out just by checking ankle ROM. If it's very limited then this might be your issue. If not then it's probably something else. Which bring me tooo...

2. Something else: The heel lift essentially plays to the strength of someone who is quad dominant. It allows you to be even more quad dominant, and go even further with that movement pattern than before. It can make it look better but, in reality, you're just getting better at doing it wrong.

This is where it's just my opinion. I've heard/read of people using the heel lift as an initial crutch to begin to teach better squat mechanics then reduce the heel lift over time and, i'm sure it works. I just don't use it myself and it doesn't make as much sense to me as just getting people on their heels from day one. I would rather use a high Box squat with this person rather than a lower squat made possible with a heel lift. You could argue both approaches create an initial squat which isn't quite right. Mine lacks depth, the alternative has a heel lift. However, I don't mind lack of depth if the movement is how I want it, then we can slowly groove that pattern and get more ROM. I just want people off their toes, not to put them on their toes even more, even if it is just for an initial phase.

Anyway - if someone has crap hips, they will squat with the knees. So, the magic in the heel lift can be nothing to do with the ankles, and all to do with the hips. When it's someone with really poor hip control and really lacks hamstring, glute and ab strength, I'll typically have them do high box squats and RDL's (only down to the knees) until it clicks.

You can trial and error this yourself, btw. For example some peoples squat will clean up like magic if you put a light resistant band around the knees, forcing them to push out. Some people will clean up like magic if you just add a weight held out like the top of a front raise. In both cases you are creating stability somewhere that didn't normally have it - rather than giving them more mobility somewhere that may not even need it.

*poor ankle ROM can be due to tight calves but, it can also be due to poor ankle ROM.....

KPj

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2012 7:05 am 
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robertscott wrote:
she really sucks at it. Her back rounds right over so that her head is practically between her knees, and she comes up so far onto her toes that I'm worried she'll pitch forward.

Hi Robert,

Ken Downs "Squat Morning"

She doing a "Squat-Morning", great term from Ken.

With that said, I do the same from time to time.


My Squat Video

In fact, a friend of mine told me I should make a training demonstrationg video on Squatting.

The Title would be, "Don't do this".

So, I have a lot of empathy for her.


Quote:
I don't think I'm a good enough coach to solve this on my own so any help (this means YOU Kenny) is appreciated.


Thanks for putting the pressure on me.

Strong Back

What this style of squatting suggest is that she has a strong back and weak leg drive.

Leg Drive Remedy
She need to increase her leg strength. These exercises overload the legs and take the back out of the equation.

1) Step Ups

2) Belt Squats, etc

Weak Abs

The abdominals job is to keep you in an upright postition.

Another problem that usually exist with the "Squat-Morning" is weak abs.

Improving Squatting Technique

Box Squatting

I like this movement because it teaches you to sit back.

Start out with light loads or no loads to insure her technique is right.

Then add the bar/weight.

Stop

At any point where her technique falls apart, STOP the movement.

Continuing it only promotes poor technique.

Kettlebell "Squat Swing"

I take a great deal of pride in stealing other people's ideas. I got this one from Bret Contreras and the National Strength and Conditioning Research Journal.

Contreras Heavy Kettlebell Swings http://www.t-nation.com/free_online_art ... cd01.hydra

Performing the Kettlebell Swing with a squatting action is an effective method of learning to squat, as per Contreras and my personal experience.

"It was found that kettlebell swings create a hip-hinge squat pattern..."
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21997449

Hungarian Core Blaster
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P9JKyWhVGl4

You can make this for $20. It is "Adjustable", you can change the weight.

The downside is it is only good for Swings. However, that's what you want.

Video

Great video above. However, you need to have her squat lower than he's demonstrating in the video.

Dumbbell Swing

If you don't have a Kettlebells or want to make a Hungarian Core Blaster, you can do them with Dumbbells.

This probably is an easier way to start, since you probably have access different weight sizes.

Sit Back

You want to have her perform the swings by SITTING BACK further. This will take her into a parallel squat postion.

Eccentric Force

The eccentric/downward movement in the swing really load the hole position of the "Squat Swing".

That means if you start off too heavy, she's going to experience DOMS. So, start off with a fairly light load and work up.

Kenny Croxdale

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