Getting ready for squats

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Mcteague
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Getting ready for squats

Post by Mcteague » Sat Jun 19, 2010 10:42 am

I know a lot of people here like squats. But I don't think I am quite ready. I would like to know if people think my prep work and guideline of when to add them is correct.
In addition to my regular gym visits, I do a brief routine every morning. This consists of ab work, pushups, stretching, and 1 to 2 mile jog/walk. Kind of just to wake up the body.
I do leg presses at the gym. I am thinking of adding the following to the morning routine. Perhaps alternating them
1 a set of deep knee bends
2 wall squats. This is something. A martial arts friend taught me. Basicly you you squat down with you back against a wall and your thighs parallel to the ground and stay their as long as you can. If you do it right even a minute is tough
3 maybe some lunges
I notice that my heels come off the ground during kneebends. My right knee also grinds a bit. Which I am a little concerned about
I would like to add squats to my workout. But think I should wait until I can do 25 knee bends with my feet on the floor, and wall squat for 3 minutes. I am 50 6' 5" and about 70lbs overweight. Thanks for any advice


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ApolytonGP
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Post by ApolytonGP » Sat Jun 19, 2010 11:18 am

I think you can do other exercises which stress the same muscles. Given your height, age, overweightedness, knee, and gut feeling that you are not ready, I would stay away from the squat for now.

Good luck with the rest of your training...and DROP THE 70!

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Post by hoosegow » Sat Jun 19, 2010 11:45 am

Try getting under just the bar and work on your form. If it hurts, stop. You didn't say how long you have been doing the body weight exercises, but I like you prepping for the squat. If there is a trainer that is any good, ask for their help on your form. If not, find the guy/girl doing squats with the best form. Tell them what you want to do and ask for their help.

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Ironman
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Post by Ironman » Sat Jun 19, 2010 12:38 pm

It sound like your knees may be moving forwards as you go down. Strengthening the tear drop shaped muscle above the knee helps. Make sure you go low enough on leg press. You don't want to feel a stretch anywhere, but make sure you get full reps.

Bodyweight squats or squatting with a bar would be good to ad in. Putting little 5 or 10 lbs plates under your toes may be helpful. You have to get your center of gravity back a little. You have to lean the upper body forwards just a little as you go down too. You should also try to look upwards a bit. Never look down.

It is possible you may need some work with abs and/or lower back. You need stability in the core to squat.

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GTO
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Post by GTO » Sun Jun 20, 2010 9:18 am

I'm 49 and started squats about 7 or 8 months ago. Before I started I did these dumbell squats http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/Glu ... Squat.html . I would just advise to make sure your form is correct, there are people much more qualified then me to help here, but I always remember to get my butt back (hips unlocked) before I start down, look strait ahead, never down, keep my elbows pointed down... just make sure your form is good . I would also advise to get a pair of neoprene sleeves to keep the joints warm. I also got sleeves for my elbows...damned age keeps creeping up on me.


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Post by KPj » Mon Jun 21, 2010 6:01 am

I find the biggest issue by far with people who can't squat is that they just don't know how to use their hips. Some people will even understand how to in theory but just can't do it physically.

Basically, most people squat with their knees/ankles when they should actually squat with the hips. The first thing to move will be the knees and ankles, last thing to move will be the hips. The hips stabilise the lower back aswell as the knees so they really need to move first.

I think it's important to note that we aren't 'taught' to squat. We learn it instinctively as toddlers when we learn how to move around. Therefore, you are now RE learning the squat. I believe the squat is an essential movement pattern that everyone should be able to do. Not everyone is suited to heavy back squats but everyone should be able to nail a b/w squat i.e. have the ability to do a squat.

Anyway, back to learning to squat properly...

If you concentrate on too many things at once you won't manage it. I would advise just thinking about the following, for now,

-Hips BACK. Hips back just means shoving your ass backwards. If there was a wall 2 feet behind you and I told you to touch it with your ass, this would be 'getting the hips back'. This should be the first thing to happen when you squat.

-Knees out. This also gets referred to as 'opening up the groin'. Think of breaking the floor apart with your feet and knees as you squat. This will feel the most unnatural but just stick with it.

I would just get your head around these points for now. What I normally do is start people off with 'Goblet Squats' to a step/box. You hold 1 DB with both hands up to your chest, and squat. Use a light DB or Med ball straight away. The load on the front helps to activate your abs and also kind of tricks your mind into 'keeping the chest up' without actually having to think about it.

So, in short, I would recommend doing goblet squats, concentrating on the 2 points above. If you do it right, you'll feel the difference straight away. This works for most people but not everyone so if you still struggle let me know.

KPj

Mcteague
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Post by Mcteague » Mon Jun 21, 2010 4:58 pm

Thanks for all the replies. I learned a lot. Never really thought about letting my legs spread out, or the importance of stronger core muscles. There does seem to be some disagreement about whether the knees should extend past the toes. I have read different things. While I wait to figure tha out I will start with some light dumbell squat and remember to let my butt move backward. Thans again

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Post by Jungledoc » Mon Jun 21, 2010 11:31 pm

The relation of the knees to the toes is indeed controversial. It's partly a difference between a strength-training mentality and a power-lifting mentality. I'm talking here about the knees staying behind the toes or if it's ok to let them extend forward of the toes. (On the matter of them staying in the same plane as the feet, everyone agrees, as far as I know--they must stay in the same plane for safety as well as efficiency.)

The two things that affect that are the "sitting back" cue that KPj talked about. The second is the width of your stance--the wider your stance the farther back your knees will be. Some power lifters get their stance so wide that the shins stay vertical or even lean back slightly even when they are below parallel. I have decided that for me, I don't need to get a super-wide stance, and as long as I keep my hips back, I won't worry about how far forward my knees are. I was pleased to read that Rippetoe agrees with me! :lol:

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Post by KPj » Tue Jun 22, 2010 3:12 am

Yeah, i've come to the conclusion that a (very) wide stance is more suited to geared lifters. I used to squat with as wide as a stance as the rack would let me. I think that along with Sumo DL's is what caused a little adductor tear a while ago. Certainly didn't help but as a result I had to bring my stance in very close to squat without pain. Over the course of 6 months or so I edged it out to just beyond shoulder width and i'm back up to where I was with my squat now, and it's feeling like it'll keep going up.

With the knees going over toes - It's perfectly safe. It was never even proven to be a problem in the first place. However, the more your knees travel forward, the more stress you place on the knees. Remember 'stress' is a good thing in the right amount - this is how we get stronger and grow. Too much stress will lead to problems, though. It's a fine line, really. So, knees over toes is fine for healthy knees but people with knee problems are best trying to avoid it or atleast limit it. By not doing it and getting the hips back more, you transfer the stress to the hips which is going to lead to a better squat anyway, in my opinion. The glutes hamstrings and lower back are your big squatting muscles anyway. The quads are deffinitly needed but also very overrated in the role of putting up big weights.

KPj


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