Cannot do squats

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Peter Rouse
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Post by Peter Rouse » Sun Apr 04, 2010 11:38 am

IceDane wrote:
Matt Z wrote:Try changing your stance and/or bar placement. Don't let your knees come together when you squat, and don't bounce at the bottom.

"As far as my squatting experience goes, if my knees go further than my toes without me going up on my toes in the hole, I'd fall over." - IceDane

You should be driving through your heels, not coming up on the ball of your foot.
I had a feeling that would be misinterpreted. What I'm saying is that I find it impossible at all to make my knees go further out than my toes, without going up on the balls of my feet. I don't see how it is possible to do with your heels firmly on the ground, without losing the balance.
This maybe due to ankle mobility, calf flexibility, or pelvic stability.

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Post by caangelxox » Sun Apr 04, 2010 12:22 pm

IceDane wrote:
Matt Z wrote:Try changing your stance and/or bar placement. Don't let your knees come together when you squat, and don't bounce at the bottom.

"As far as my squatting experience goes, if my knees go further than my toes without me going up on my toes in the hole, I'd fall over." - IceDane

You should be driving through your heels, not coming up on the ball of your foot.
I had a feeling that would be misinterpreted. What I'm saying is that I find it impossible at all to make my knees go further out than my toes, without going up on the balls of my feet. I don't see how it is possible to do with your heels firmly on the ground, without losing the balance.
On front squats, my knees can go passed my toes a little bit due to gravity or something. and if you do the wall ankle mobilization exercise, your knee can go passed your toe too and thats the point in that exercise, to increase ankle mobility.

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Post by Jungledoc » Sun Apr 04, 2010 10:04 pm

The squat chapter in Starting Strength is what has made the most sense to me about the knees-past-toes issue. Whether your knees stay back of your toes, come even with your toes or go a little in front depends on your particular dimensions and proportions, and on your stance width. The wider your stance, the less tendency there is for your knees to go ahead of your toes. The important things are that the knee be pointing the same direction as the toes, so that the femur and foot are in the same plane, and that the bar be over the center of the foot. If those criteria are met, then having your knees go further forward than your toes certainly is not going to hurt anything, especially your knees.

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Post by Jungledoc » Sun Apr 04, 2010 10:04 pm

Not seeing any replies from the OP!

Ran
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Post by Ran » Mon Apr 05, 2010 12:31 am

Thanks for all the advises, I wanted to go through all the replies before I post one. Yes I have read Starting Strength and try to follow it as closely as possible. I squat the following way:

1. Stance: Shoulder wide. Feet pointing out at angle I imagine to be 30 degrees. :lol:
2. Bar position: Below traps.
3.Depth: Till my hamstring touch my calves, or at a position pretty near to that.
4. I push my knees out while sqauatting.
5. To avoid pushing from my toes, I curl my toes while going up.
6. While going down, I start with my butt, like I am about to sit in the commode.
7. While going up, I drive with my butt.
8. As adivised in SS, I try to look at a point 6-7 feet away in the floor. I find this very difficult though. It kind of puts me offf balance. So often I look straight.
9. I have never really understood that bouncing thing. I always find a natural bounce at the bottom. I dont know how to eliminate it. May be I should be slow down at the bottom.
10. As far as that knee over toe thing, that ccould be as issue. But I am not sure how I check that. Do I ask someone to check that for me while I squat?
10. And finally, I keep my back straight all the time.


I learnt sqautting from Starting Strength. In my gym, no one (yes thats right) squats.
Do glute bridges, clams, glute activation work before you squat. and if your knees are bothering you, massage your TFL because that may be overactive and may be a trigger point or it could be somewhere in the hip flexors. massage both with a little ball
caangelxox, is there a link where I can learn these?

Bob I try to be very tight while squatting, so the bar is balanced evenly I guess. But yes the bar does wobble while going up and down.

Doc, on a hindsight, may be I was squatting a bit narrow. Do you think I should do the squat stretch (as described in the book) and then use that width as the squat width?

Thanks,

Ran

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Post by Ran » Mon Apr 05, 2010 2:56 am

Excuse the typos in that post. Saw them after posting!!

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Post by Ran » Mon Apr 05, 2010 11:53 pm

Update: Started again today. With much wider stance and very low weight.

I guess earlier I was not pushing with my hips, though I thought that I did. While rising, in my effort to rise straight, my torso formed a very narrow angle with the vertical and I pushed with my knees. This time I am trying to push 'back' with my butt as suggested, resulting in a much wider angle. This I guess has taken away much of the strain on the knees. Though I did feel DOMS, but it was at the quads, not at the knees.

Any thoughts?

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Post by hoosegow » Tue Apr 06, 2010 9:50 am

Are you kind of falling forward or doing a semi-goodmorning? I'm not sure I'm understanding.

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Post by alcas » Tue Apr 06, 2010 12:31 pm

I had the same problem, do box squat, this is the best way I found to be ok with my knees. Later you can do back squat.

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Post by Jungledoc » Tue Apr 06, 2010 4:28 pm

I think that for general-purpose squatting you should try to find a stance that is comfortable. Yes, doing the squat stretch is good. Get down into a deep squat (no weight) and wiggle your feet around until it feels like everything feels right. If you think you need to make changes in stance width, do it gradually, and (like you are doing) with reduced weight.

About the "push with your butt" cue. This does NOT mean that the butt starts up first. This makes it more like a good morning move. The butt and shoulders should be going up together at first.

To check all parts of form if you don't have a knowledgeable partner, use a pocket digital camera or a phone and make a short video of yourself. Then you can see for yourself. Don't be looking down at your feet with heavy weight on your back, but when you are warming up with an empty bar, stop at the bottom, and look at your knees and toes.

A little bounce in the hole is OK and even desirable under most circumstances. Coming to a dead stop makes it a harder exercise, and you won't move as much weight. Rip talks about that in the book.

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Post by caangelxox » Wed Apr 07, 2010 12:35 am

My hamstrings does not touch my calves when I squat. I heard going too low is not good for the knees going parallel is best.

and as far as the exercises I mentioned like glute bridges and clams, you could go to google. type in "glute activation exercises".

and like u said, u may have been using too much weight before and it put too much pressure on the knees and don't go past parallel, especially if your learning the exercise. you can do free squats without a barbell and just your bodyweight just to get the motion correct.

and as someone said...try box squats.

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Post by tostig » Wed Apr 07, 2010 3:58 pm

My weights keep fluctuating. When I think I'm making progress with my strength, I realize I'm not going as low as I want to. I'm only just below parallel and I'm not hitting the safety bars which are slightly lower.

So I lighten my load again so I can get right down.

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Post by RobertB » Thu Apr 08, 2010 4:31 am

caangelxox wrote:My hamstrings does not touch my calves when I squat. I heard going too low is not good for the knees going parallel is best.

and as far as the exercises I mentioned like glute bridges and clams, you could go to google. type in "glute activation exercises".

and like u said, u may have been using too much weight before and it put too much pressure on the knees and don't go past parallel, especially if your learning the exercise. you can do free squats without a barbell and just your bodyweight just to get the motion correct.

and as someone said...try box squats.
Correct me if I am wrong - im definately not experienced - but don't ripptoe etc basically insist on squatting below parallel, and have proven that it doesn't harm (it infact helps vs the "higher" squats) - as say hold my hands up, just research I'm doing, nothing to do with experience. Perhaps it isn't worse for knees but is harder to master i.e. you may loose form going below and loose the line between knees and toes.

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Post by caangelxox » Thu Apr 08, 2010 8:19 pm

I think the majority that get injured are the ones that are not flexible enough to go that low.

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Post by Jungledoc » Thu Apr 08, 2010 10:28 pm

RobertB wrote:Correct me if I am wrong - im definately not experienced - but don't ripptoe etc basically insist on squatting below parallel, and have proven that it doesn't harm (it infact helps vs the "higher" squats) - as say hold my hands up, just research I'm doing, nothing to do with experience. Perhaps it isn't worse for knees but is harder to master i.e. you may loose form going below and loose the line between knees and toes.
Yeah, you're right about squats that don't at least go down to parallel. However, if you go really deep, deep enough to slam the hams on the calves, that can hurt the knees. If you want to go that deep, just be sure that the thighs only just touch the calves, and not lever the knees.

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