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I’ve been working by myself for a year now on mobility and progressed a little. I think this stuff is slightly over my head and need a coach to help me. Kelly seems to only be addressing ways to solve mobility issues after the individual has already addressed major issues like muscles not firing correctly because one muscle is stiff and another is not stiff causing your body to protect itself (never knew that until this forum– in fact i am surprised he hasn’t talked about this). Where would the best place to go to help address my issues? Functional Movement Screen? etc.
It is funny, I am actually going to San Fran for vacation. I live in Philadelphia.
If you are coming to our neck of the woods sometime, make sure you schedule a session with Roop at SF Crossfit. Well worth the time and bring a video camera to record the whole thing so you don’t forget. Then when you’re there, pepper him with all the other questions you have lol. If you see him for the first time, ask him for a general assessment and then he’ll work on some things he sees wrong. If you’re going to be here for a while, you can also consider making more than one visit across the time you’re here.
Check out my post “the miracle of internal rotation”. Tiger, I think you are right totally, but I think I am pretty short in the hip and my anterior chain is very stiff. I’m not sure how much I can utilize the proper techniques of a squat with such stiff tissues.
My main goals in performing a squat are
Don’t shoot knees forward first.
Keep shins vertical
That’s a good list of cues! But knowing the cues and understanding them are very, very different. You have to practice with razor sharp focus and great intent and realize what those cues mean. And even once you feel proficient in the movement, every so often you’ll hit an epiphany that brings one of those cues to life.
At some point, with enough deliberate practice, you will understand what it means to screw your feet into the floor. You will understand the sensations, the tension, the strength that initiating the movement through the hips creates. The weight distribution will start to make sense, the breathing will start to make sense, but no amount of reading will fill in the blanks completely.
But now my question is what are you doing daily to open up the front of the hip? It is as you say, that stiffness in the front of the hip can shut the glutes down, or at least make them very difficult to activate. What is your plan for combating this issue? If you don’t have a plan of attack, then that is exactly what we need to put together. Only through consistency will you be able to decide if and why your approach is working.
Also, it is important to realize that movement technique is not an all-or-nothing thing. If you are a mindful athlete, you will be optimizing that technique for the rest of your active life (which will hopefully be all of it). If you’re missing a significant amount of your range of motion, of course you won’t be able to squat perfectly, or very deep. But you can always do something. Fixing your mobility issues won’t magically transform your squat. All it will do is provide a window for greater improvement.
That is my squat. I think I am focusing intently with the way I do the movement, but I could be wrong. Having a coach pick out my flaws in real time would be great as I would be able to always have those corrections in my head.
As far as what I do all day is pretty active. I think I may sit for 4 hours a day. I don’t have a stand desk at work, but I don’t really need to sit longer then 10 mins at a time. I also don’t wear high heel shoes.
As far as a plan goes I am going to clean up the internal rotation. So far I am on day 3 and I already am losing the tightness I once had. This is what typically happens. I take away tight tissue and never experience it ever again. For instance I could barely couch stretch my right side. Now it seems the only way i get a good stretch is if I internally rotate the couch stretch. I am going to also smash hard on the quad insertion to the it band. Smashing adductors also helps the wall squat. Sitting in the squat 10 mins a day will also be a goal as well.
Man, video footage. That’s awesome!
Judging from that video, the biggest thing you might be missing is a keen sense of when you hit hamstring end-range tension at the bottom of the squat. Getting the hamstrings lit up is one of the major benefits of leading with the hips back, and being able to stay connected to that tension throughout the movement is important for staying tight and stable when you hit the bottom.
It’s hard to see with the rack in the way, but it does seem like you’ve got a little change in pelvic position happening at the bottom of the squat (the dreaded “butt wink”). The older video of you squatting 135# shows it more clearly, though old footage is old footage. What this shows is that you are trying to get lower in that squat than either your motor control or mobility (or both) allow.
Now here’s the thing. Loaded squats with clean technique will do wonders to drive your bottom position deeper and open up the hips and hamstrings. It’s almost like magic, when you try a few air squats before and after your heavy sets. However, if you are unable to sense where that true bottom position is (or you are very eager to have a deeper squat), you’ll never nail the same kind of end range tension and be able to reap that awesome benefit.
Here’s what I would strongly recommend for your loaded squat practice (assuming you’re not already doing it): slow eccentric reps, paying very close attention to how deep you can go without faulting (keep your hamstrings on tension); and pause squats (start adding a 2-4 second hold in that good bottom position). These things will necessitate a bit less weight, but that will probably only do you good.
Also, something’s making think you’re losing stability coming out of the top position, and this may be related to how loose your arms are on the bar. You need to hug that thing tight to your back.
Also, also, if you could get some footage from the front/back, both at full speed and slow-mo like the one you posted, that would probably offer even more insight.
Yeah, I want my hamstrings to be lit up more. And that knee going forward is a sign that my body doesn’t want to allow the hamstrings to be used. I haven’t worked on my hamstrings in a few weeks because I am passing the hip flexion test, but now that I am improving internal rotation I can start working on that again.
I wouldn’t be overly concerned with keeping a perfectly parallel squat stance at this point, personally. Being able to squat with your feet parallel represents a nice ideal, as it does allow you to rip the floor up with huge torque production, but squatting effectively while maintaining that stance is incredibly demanding on your squat range of motion.
Iron Tiger: I appreciate your response. A lot.
Man, it looks like you’re doing a solid job on the whole “knees out” thing. It’s a bit hard to tell in the dim light, but it does look a little “winky” at the bottom. Which just basically goes back to the topic at hand. I think you have the rest in the bag enough to progress this thing.
I wouldn’t necessarily revert completely back to the air squat as a learning tool on this, however. It can be useful, but I think it’s going to be hard to really feel what it’s like to put a stretch on the hamstrings with your bodyweight alone. I would even choose an easy 12-rep weight, and just slowly take it down to your bottom position and hang out for a bit, staying tight and squirming around a bit to feel where that tension’s at.
Something I like to do (unloaded, this time), is just drop down into an air squat and just press my knees back (keeping a braced spine) and feel what it’s like to hit hamstring tension, kind of like when you’re hunting for tension in the bottom position of a deadlift. After I press back and hit tension, I try to “pull” it back with me into the squat bottom position, to be even tighter in the hamstrings. I almost think about that return to the squat position like I’m doing a hamstring curl against the floor. This really helped me figure out my hamstrings in the squat. Even try doing it while holding on to the squat rack, if you find yourself tipping backward a lot.
With regards to using the back squat to learn and improve that bottom position, almost think of it as stretching the hamstrings at the bottom.
Unfortunately, it’s one of those things that’s a lot harder to articulate than I would like. Just keep thinking about it, and a great epiphany will happen sooner or later. And I’d say sooner with the kind of drive you’re putting into improving this position.