Using the appropriate muscles

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kab3261
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Using the appropriate muscles

Post by kab3261 » Tue Feb 15, 2011 9:07 am

It seems that the more I read on form and technique, more more questions I have. I was looking at the videos and articles suggested in the “Squat, Forms, Tips, Videos” thread, as well as other various posts on this forum.

Am I understanding correctl,y that the squat is a glute/hip move, with the quads helping?
If so, are there some cues to tell whether I'm focusing on the appropriate muscles?
Does the deadlift also, focus more on the glutes and lower back than on the quads?

Quite often when I perform a move (either while working ou,t or in daily life) that calls for me to use my quads, my knee which has caused me some pain since my 20's, causes me to go up a bit on my right toe to alleviate the discomfort somewhat. I have been practicing BW squats while keeping my glutes tightly clenched and noticed that it seems to take a lot of pressure off the knee. Does this mean I am doing them the right way, or am I totally screwing up things? I am NOT trying to wimp out on things, but since I am only a couple of weeks away from 50, I don't want to bring on a problem that will effect my next 50 years here on earth!

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.
Karen

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Post by wilburburns » Tue Feb 15, 2011 10:20 am

Let me start by saying there are many different variations of the squat. I'll focus on a couple as they have different primary muscle involvement.

Power Lifting Style Back Squat:
Wide Stance, Toes angled out. Typically Low bar position on back

This is Glute/Hip/Hamstring Dominant and utilizes less Quad activation. Keypoint being less, not zero quad activation.

I'll call this Body Builder Style:
Narrower stance, Toes more forward. Higher bar position on back.

This form is more of a quad dominant and utilizes less Hamstrings and Glutes. Again, note the use of "less"

Front Squat:
Narrower stance, toes forward, more upright stance to maintain proper bar position.

Another Quad dominant squat like above.

The key points are it really depends on your form and setup for the movement. By just a few simple cues and changes, your can change the target muscles used.

The Deadlift should focus mostly on your Posterior chain, ie: the muscles on the back side of your body. Glutes, Hamstrings, Lower back, Upper Back, Shoulders, etc.. Truly a full body lift. However, it's possible to get in a position to actually Squat the weight up, which moves a lot of focus around to the quads. If this happens, you need to check your form and see what is going on. I would first suspect some lower back rounding and then maybe a flexibility issue that does not allow you to get in teh correct bar position.

Cliff

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bam
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Post by bam » Wed Feb 16, 2011 4:47 am

There's a Rippetoe video called "Starting Strength" -- a companion to his epic book on form. The video shows a bunch of people being coached by Mark Rippetoe for the five basic lifts. I found the video very helpful.

I think you do have to clench the glutes and core when doing squats, deads, military press, bench press, chins and dips. It takes a bit of concentration at first.

On the deadlift specifically, I can feel my hams, quads and back noticeably engage just before I stand up. I attribute this to muscle memory as my body tenses up to lift the weight. It took me quite a bit of practice to get the muscles to engage properly. Now I do the 5/3/1 BBB program and am comfortable doing 70+ deads in a single workout.

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Post by kab3261 » Wed Feb 16, 2011 8:42 am

I think I tend to use the power lifting stance more than the others. By having a wider stance and angling my toes out, it seems to go easier on the knee. I have downloaded quite a few of the Rippetoe videos from YouTube. I really like the diagrams he does.
The only thing is, that I use dumbbells. I never have a spotter, nor do I have a setup that allows me to get safely under a BB. I hold the DB's over my shoulders (almost the way you'd hold a BB...kind of). To have a decent amount of weight on a BB has in the past been a dangerous challenge to get the bar into place. With the DB's I can sort of swing them into place.
I am thinking of video recording myself, so I can see what it is I'm doing. Would this be helpful?

Thanks for the input!
Karen

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Post by hoosegow » Wed Feb 16, 2011 8:59 am

Video taping yourself will help for that one set. You can see where your flaws are. Also if you are using dumbells, you can also do overhead squats if they get too light.

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Post by Jungledoc » Wed Feb 16, 2011 9:12 am

Karen--try "goblet squats", holding a dumbbell vertically between your hands against your chest.

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Post by KenDowns » Wed Feb 16, 2011 10:00 am

kab3261 wrote:I think I tend to use the power lifting stance more than the others. By having a wider stance and angling my toes out, it seems to go easier on the knee. I have downloaded quite a few of the Rippetoe videos from YouTube. I really like the diagrams he does.
The only thing is, that I use dumbbells. I never have a spotter, nor do I have a setup that allows me to get safely under a BB. I hold the DB's over my shoulders (almost the way you'd hold a BB...kind of). To have a decent amount of weight on a BB has in the past been a dangerous challenge to get the bar into place. With the DB's I can sort of swing them into place.
I am thinking of video recording myself, so I can see what it is I'm doing. Would this be helpful?

Thanks for the input!
Karen
Kab I had this same problem and cooked up a way to do squats w/o a cage.

The method is simple. Instead of putting plates on the bar, hang them from the bar, about 2 feet or so. I put the plates on folding chairs, tie them to the bar, then get under in a squat that is halfway between sumo and normal, and press up. Then take a step back and go into the reps. To dismount you go in reverse, step forward and squat down.

One interesting advantage is that if you go too low on the reps the plates hit the ground and you lose resistance, so there is a built-in check against doing that. So it turns out to help with form.

kab3261
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Post by kab3261 » Fri Feb 18, 2011 8:42 am

Thank you for the ideas.
Doc, I have done the squats you described. I notice that holding the weight there hits a somewhat different part of the body.

And Ken, I saw your original post on this and thought it was a good idea. I think a trip to Walmart may be in order :lol:

Sorry it took me a bit to get back to this to give my thanks for the advise... work as well as getting my husbands truck traded in have taken up the past couple days!

Karen

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