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stik
11-17-2009, 09:50 AM
Normally I squat on Monday, bench on Wed, dl on Fri. I tend to do this so I have adequate time between dl and squat. I pull sumo and know I need a break. Well, last week, I deadlifted on Saturday due to time constraints. Yesterday, being squat day, I went in and absolutely could not break parallel, could not get down. It felt like icepicks in my upper quads and my legs felt very stiff and tight. This has never happened before.

I am cycling for a few weeks at a time with a week in between, did squats last week and got sick. Therefore I don't feel like I am losing a lot of time by what happened. I'll just do the other two this week and count it as one week of my four weeks of 5x5 at 80% before I move on to a one week break followed by four weeks of 5X3 at 90% and then a week with a 1RM before I go back to 5X10@50% of that one rep max.

I did sled and adductor, abs and stretching; things'll work out ok, but I wonder what happened. Any idea as to what is going on? If I had to guess, I would say to be sure to give myself more time between. I didn't stretch hard nor warm up a whole lot before, just a little and lightly as always, but I usually don't and haven't since Jan. What do y'all think might be going on?

I would also appreciate ideas as to how to get my squat wider. I am slightly wider than shoulder width.

rbtrout
11-17-2009, 10:04 AM
Who knows. It could have just been a bad day for squatting.
If you want to squat wider, then take a wider stance and squat. There's really no trick to it, but taking a wider stance. Don't forget, the wider you go, the more your toes will point out.

Beverly McD.
11-17-2009, 10:21 AM
It sounds to me like your muscles were cold. Warm up and do a little light stretching first next squat day. Cold muscles and tendons aren't pliable. They need to be pliable so they will stretch instead of tear.


Stand up straight. Without moving your feet, shift your weight to your toes. Now, again without moving your feet, shift the weight to your heels.
Feel the difference?

Widen your stance.
Shift your weight to your heels.
Start your squats with your weight over your heels, driving the knees out from the top, and lowering yourself with your glute and hamstring muscles. Not your quads.

Practice this throughout the day every chance you get. It will help you learn that wider squat position you're looking for.

stik
11-17-2009, 10:33 AM
I will experiment with my toes being wider than the 20 degrees or slightly more I have been using. I also tried Ms. McD's exercise and could feel the difference. And now that I think about it, it was cold out which would explain the stiffness and why I need to warm up until I know I am warmed up.

Board is awesome. Trout, thank you for mentioning that factor. And Ms. McD., you are awesomeness personified. Now I am wondering what angle on here y'all's legs and feet are. My legs till now have been a little more than a 45 degree angle with my feet out about 20 degrees. About where are y'all when you squat? I've been going with what has been comfortable for me so far, but of course the farther I can decrease distance, the heavier I will squat. I really do want to work on that before next APF meet I am going to in March. First meet, I was shoulder width and narrow. With stretching hard and the adductor and putting my feet way out on the leg press, I widened to where I am now. Would like to know more about how you folks do it and how you got there.

Thank y'all,
Stik

Edit to mention that I must remember to be patient with myself. I have been doing this long enough now to where I am just going to have bad days. It is good to want to be really good at this. At the same time, this is a marathon, not a sprint.

Beverly McD.
11-17-2009, 10:45 AM
Flexibilty is the key stik.

You want to angle your toes out, and at the same time, when you squat your knees need to NOT fold in at the bottom of your squat. In other words the joints of the knee and the ankle need to line up.
It's just practice.
Get in front of a mirror.
Hold on to something for stability.
Practice lowering yourself using your glutes and hams, at the same time watching to see your knees end up over your ankles.
Not inside the ankles and not in front of the ankles.
Don't fold over, keep your chest up.

stik
11-17-2009, 11:05 AM
I am good about keeping my knees out after that PLUSA article in Starting Out and Gerry Frank mentioned it to me. I practice staying tight in my gut. I do have to remind myself to push out and then in, emphasizing my hips and pushing out butt. I seem to have a hard time with width though. At times past, I am wanting to squat with my knees further to the side than my feet when in the hole. I am out of that now so that they line up. Maybe widening the angle of my feet some would help too. I would like more width, so I will follow your suggestions.

Beverly McD.
11-17-2009, 11:10 AM
It's a learned skill for most people stik. There are some naturally gifted, athletic people that everything seems to fall into place for, but the rest of us have to practice...
...over and over and over LOL.

IronDiggy
11-17-2009, 11:30 AM
I get that alot dude. I squat Sat&Mon and DL Wed or Thurs. Just gotta do more warmup with some dynamic stretching. I've also noticed more mobility work helps quite a bit.

stik
11-25-2009, 01:27 PM
My squats went better this week thanks to y'all's help. Keeping back and gut tight and sitting back instead of down helps, as does keeping weight on heels.

When people are in the hole, should their knees be vertical and direcetly above their ankles? Or is the best stance a different way? I have observed the former, but am wondering if there are those whose knees flare out with a perhaps narrower stance such that knees end up out further than feet or not.

mastermonster
11-25-2009, 05:34 PM
Hey Stik! Once you have the wide stance down the shins should remain practically straight up and down throughout the squat. The amount the toes are angled out just depends on how wide you are at the time. As the stance widens, the toes should point out more also. They should be at an angle so that an imaginary line from your hip joint to your knee, if continued on: would be pointing in the exact same direction as the toes...at any point in the squat. So, as the stance widens; the angle of the toes turns out in relation to it.

stik
01-04-2010, 01:38 PM
I use either a squat rack that looks something like this one http://www.nextag.com/Valor-Fitness-BD-4-695037499/prices-html?nxtg=aba70a24051f-41E825BC1E1EFD8Ahttp://www.nextag.com/Valor-Fitness-BD-4-695037499/prices-html?nxtg=aba70a24051f-41E825BC1E1EFD8Aor a power rack with the pins to work my squat.

On light days, I go to the Smith Machine so I can really practice putting my feet extra wide.

I do wall squats to warm up each time.

Would y'all, esp Mr. Buddy and Ms. Beverly, advise me to step outside the bottom rails to squat on heavy days, to avoid the Smith machine like the plague, to change anything as to how I am operating?

Thanks for your help as the trainer at my commercial gym that had pl experience moved to Florida and I don't get to go anywhere else for advice due to either time or money constraints.

Beverly McD.
01-04-2010, 01:53 PM
Using the smith to practice your stance is fine stik, but do your actual squats (heavy and light) in the rack.
Light work is really for working on form and technique. Using an open bar forces you to use more core work because you have to balance yourself. The smith machine balances for you.
Unless you have good spotters stay in the rack. It's a confidence booster and that will play over into your squat.

stik
01-05-2010, 11:19 AM
I checked yesterday on my heavy squat day. Actually, my stance in those racks are just a little bit less than a sumo stance. So I think I am fine. I am really feeling it in my rear end and my hips when I lift as opposed to my legs.

Also doing what you said and focusing on my heels (and also the outside of my feet). I get more persnickity over squats and think about stance more because I have long legs. But I think I am ok. I will avoid Smith machine.