The Five Biggest Contradictions in Fitness
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The Five Biggest Contradictions in Fitness

Itís no secret that when people contradict themselves, it has the effect of making the flaws in their actions or statements seem glaringly obvious. But what about when WE ourselves get caught contradicting ourselves by someone else?

By: Nick Tumminello Added: January 6th, 2014
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Thread: Squat Form

  1. #1
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    Squat Form

    The more I've been thinking about it I'm coming to think my form isn't as good as I thought it was. It's not bad by all means at all, I just think it has room for imporvement. I found this out when I was "mock squating" in my room and couldn't keep balance with no weights. I keep falling back (haha, it was funny). But, I'm wondering what I can do to practice form. I'm thinking I bend my back in too much maybe.

    I've seen many people doing this, does this help: you take a ball and line it up with the wall. Then put it just below the shoulders and squat with the ball there. I think people have their legs parallel to their upper body so they make like a sitting motion with a 90-degree angle.

    I've also noticed something else (I don't know if it's wrong or not). But last time I squatted I would be going down but I would let the weight just drop and then explode at the last minute to toss it up. Like, I wasn't resisting the bar down at all. I realized this when one time it hit the safety bars. Do people take the bar down slowly and let it hit their quads really hard or do not resist the weight but explode up at the bottom?

    I think squats are my best asset by far. My legs are my strongest muscle group and I want to take advantage of this.

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  3. #2

  4. #3
    Senior Member Sensei's Avatar
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    Squat Form...

    I see hundreds of kids squatting all the time and almost NEVER do I see anyone doing it without a few major mistakes. Most common mistakes are not keeping the head back, the chest out, and the abs tight throughout the movement. After that, the heels coming off the ground and the knees bowing inward are pretty common.

    Perfecting squat form takes time and effort - just like anything else, you have to practice, practice, practice. Having someone knowledgeable watch and critique your form and videotaping and watching your own form would be good places to start. Also, STOP SQUATTING IN FRONT OF A MIRROR! It can really ruin your form. At least tape up something if you can't help mirror placement. Do you ever see world class athletes, for example sprinters, practicing their craft in front of a mirror? NO! Seriously, get away from the mirrors if you want to squat properly.

    Here are some links to some articles about squatting (mods feel free to delete this link if you feel it's necessary, but please don't lock the thread or delete the text to this post because of this - thank you): http://johnnymnemonic.proboards44.co...ead=1118016070

  5. #4
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    Wow...just out of curiosity, why get away from the mirror? The only squat rack is right next to the fatty-ass mirror.

    * * *

    What kind of flexibility excercises could I do to help my squat?

    * * *

    Another thing which I havn't been able to control is (I don't know if it is bad or not) is that after a few reps of hard muscle exurtion my damn feet flare out to the sides and are at like 25 degree anglees. I hear that they should be parallel and straight. I can't keep them from flaring out. Anyone else have this problem?
    Last edited by PhilsterT; 06-27-2005 at 11:15 PM.

  6. #5

  7. #6
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    what's wrong with a mirror?
    delete this account

  8. #7
    Grammar Nazi BG5150's Avatar
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    Actually, a mirror kind of helped me. I wasn't comfortable with my form and wasn't sure why. I took some light weight (something I could do out of the cage) and went perpendicular to the mirror. I kinda peeked to the side and realized where my back placement was in error. It fixed it right up.
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  9. #8
    Wrecker of Homes d'Anconia's Avatar
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    My feet flare out also so now I just start off with them at like a 30-degree angle. I don't go down that slow, but slow enough that I'm still doing some resistance (eccentric) on the bar. My knees also bow out a little bit.

    Sometimes I hear about how your leg should create a 90-degree angle at the knee. That's fine but understand that your lower legs will not hit the ground at a 90-degree angle like some people say it should. If you could carry a heavy load on your back without hunching over and create a 90-degree angle and the knee and have your legs perpendicular to the ground you're either a) a person to whom the laws of physics don't apply or b) about to fall backward.

    The heels of my feet come slightly off the ground when I squat but there's nothing I can do about that, way too hard to balance keeping them flat. I can't even squat my own bodyweight effectively while keeping my heels flat on the floor.

    The only problem i can think of with most people is that they hunch their backs too much.

  10. #9

  11. #10
    Senior Member Sensei's Avatar
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    Mirrors And Squatting

    Squats aren't the most complex movement in the world, but enough people have trouble doing them correctly that they should be viewed just like any other physical movement such as running, jumping, throwing, etc.

    If you are trying to coach or teach yourself a physical skill (like running, jumping, or throwing), do you practice it in front of a mirror? Most of the time the answer is no. The visual feedback you get from a mirror can be useful, but it can (and usually does) get in the way of all the feedback you should be getting from your body. If you are looking in the mirror, you're less likely to be focusing on all the things you need to be doing to perfect your squat.

    A mirror will not tell you if you are keeping your abs tight or your upper back flexed. If you are looking in the mirror to tell you whether your knees are bowing in or not, you are probably looking downward which is going to compromise your head positioning and consequently your lower back. Also, if you need a mirror to tell you whether your knees are bowing in or not, or whether you are rounding your back or not, then you need to get rid of the mirror RIGHT NOW!

    Depth can be a tricky one, but there are a lot of things that can be done rather than turning your head to the side to check it (which again, could REALLY screw up your form). Box squats, setting pins, setting up a bungee cord across a rack positioned so you butt touches it at the bottom, etc. are just a few things that come to mind quickly.

    btw, if you are just doing squats as a pumping exercise and you never go heavy or push yourself on them, then form might not be such an important thing. I'm just assuming that most people want to get better and stronger w. their squats because we all know that it's one of the best exercises to help you build overall body strength and size. Doing them correctly will make it possible to lift more weight and decrease your chances of ever having injury.
    Last edited by Sensei; 06-28-2005 at 01:26 PM.

  12. #11
    Senior Member bigpoppapump979's Avatar
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    the mirror is a good tool but alot of people just watch themselves in it the whole time with their head down. check the mirror occasionally, but try to keep your eyes up most of the time
    Last edited by bigpoppapump979; 06-28-2005 at 01:29 PM.

  13. #12
    Former Fatass Unreal's Avatar
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    I did my first "real" squat session on Friday because a friend who lifts was in town and showed me how to do them. I would have killed myself trying them on my own. My neck is still sore from where the bar was resting. I guess I wasn't supporting it enough with my arms.

    Where can someone go to have someone help them with form? I would love to start deadlifting and the other compound lifts that everyone on here gets hard over, but without some guidance, I don't want to start and hurt myself.

  14. #13
    Senior Member Sensei's Avatar
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    ...

    Quote Originally Posted by fatrb38
    The heels of my feet come slightly off the ground when I squat but there's nothing I can do about that, way too hard to balance keeping them flat. I can't even squat my own bodyweight effectively while keeping my heels flat on the floor.
    You really need to correct this... If you can't do bodyweight squats properly, you really have no business loading up a bar and squatting.

    Without watching you squat, it's tough to tell, but I'm willing to bet that your hamstrings are pretty tight. Can you touch the floor w. your legs straight?

  15. #14
    Wrecker of Homes d'Anconia's Avatar
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    Yeah I guess this thread is a bit difficult cuz we don't have any pics or videos of people doing their squats. I have no problem touching the floor at all but I'm saying that for some reason if my legs are shoulder width apart and my knees don't flare out when I squat that it seems like I have to slant my upper-body forward to balance out my lower back and ass which are in back of where my feet are planted on the ground.

  16. #15
    Senior Member Sensei's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fatrb38
    Yeah I guess this thread is a bit difficult cuz we don't have any pics or videos of people doing their squats. I have no problem touching the floor at all but I'm saying that for some reason if my legs are shoulder width apart and my knees don't flare out when I squat that it seems like I have to slant my upper-body forward to balance out my lower back and ass which are in back of where my feet are planted on the ground.
    I think you have a functional flexibility issue. You can work on this a variety of ways, but squatting properly is first priority. Here's a pic of me squatting if you're interested (notice there's NO MIRROR):
    Last edited by Sensei; 06-28-2005 at 10:20 PM.

  17. #16
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    No, darn, it's not showing. Could you try to upload it again please?

    * * *

    I can't touch the floor with straight legs. What can I do about this?

  18. #17
    Formerly Nick Hatfield SW's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=Sensei]Also, STOP SQUATTING IN FRONT OF A MIRROR! It can really ruin your form. At least tape up something if you can't help mirror placement. Do you ever see world class athletes, for example sprinters, practicing their craft in front of a mirror? NO! Seriously, get away from the mirrors if you want to squat properly.

    [QUOTE]




    I agree with everything you said but this. The mirror has always helped me, it has taught me alot about how my body moves. Without it (now at least) I'd have problems.
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  19. #18
    Senior Member Sensei's Avatar
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    I agree with everything you said but this. The mirror has always helped me, it has taught me alot about how my body moves. Without it (now at least) I'd have problems.
    No, you're just so used to using a mirror that you'd probably end up losing your balance if you squatted without it. I've seen a lot of people like that.

    Most sports movements require coordination and (like I already said) the visual feedback of a mirror just gets in the way of the movement. There have actually been studies about this. If your mind is made up about it, it won't matter, but they are out there.

    Think about it. Your title says you're a "quarterback murderer". When you pop someone on the field, do you need to see yourself in a mirror to do it properly? Would you be able to do it well even if you could watch yourself in a mirror while doing it?
    Last edited by Sensei; 06-28-2005 at 09:22 PM.

  20. #19
    Wrecker of Homes d'Anconia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sensei
    Here's a pic of me squatting if you're interested (notice there's NO MIRROR):
    See that's probably what I look like also when I squat. Your feet look wider than shoulder width apart, your back is not perfectly vertical, and your feet/knees seem to flare out a little instead of being perfectly straight forward. Maybe I was exaggerating my description of my squat or something but that's basically what I look like when I squat but for some reason everyone was telling me I have problems (?)

  21. #20
    Professional hobbit Focused70's Avatar
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    When I first started out, I was "taught" by a PT to keep my knees straight instead of having them flare out like in Sensei's pic.

    Wrong, as I found out later.

    Basically it's a sitting back movement. Head up, chest out, back arched, butt out. If you practice without a bar, using only your bodyweight as resistance, you can quickly get form down pat including keeping your heels on the floor. It took me several attempts but since then things are working fine.

    Now if only I could go lower, then things will be perfect. That's a whole separate issue altogether.

    Stash

    ps. There's a mirror in front of me when I squat. I look up at the ceiling and not straight ahead.
    Last edited by Focused70; 06-29-2005 at 11:50 AM.
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  22. #21
    Senior Member Sensei's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fatrb38
    See that's probably what I look like also when I squat. Your feet look wider than shoulder width apart, your back is not perfectly vertical, and your feet/knees seem to flare out a little instead of being perfectly straight forward. Maybe I was exaggerating my description of my squat or something but that's basically what I look like when I squat but for some reason everyone was telling me I have problems (?)
    No one's back will be perfectly vertical and your knees are supposed to flare out over the toes - not bow in. Stance width is an individual preference - heels coming off the ground is not. You said that your heels were coming off the ground when squatting even with just bodyweight. If that's true, then you DO have major problems!

  23. #22
    Professional hobbit Focused70's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sensei
    Depth can be a tricky one, but there are a lot of things that can be done rather than turning your head to the side to check it (which again, could REALLY screw up your form).
    Not to mention (as I've heard elsewhere) that this is an easy route towards herniating a disc.
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  24. #23
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    I got my form checked today and the trainer said it was good. He also checked my Good Mornings's form and said that was good too.

    * * *

    Also the trainer was fine with my knees flaring out, he just said to make sure my knees didn't go past my toes; keep the toes and knee cap in a straight line. Comments?
    Last edited by PhilsterT; 06-29-2005 at 01:09 PM.

  25. #24
    Wrecker of Homes d'Anconia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sensei
    You said that your heels were coming off the ground when squatting even with just bodyweight. If that's true, then you DO have major problems!
    My bad, I wasn't very clear when I typed that out. I meant that my heels come off the ground if I try keeping my back vertical and stop my knees from flaring out a bit.

    I'm over the subject anyway... I'm pretty sure both your form and mine are fine the way they are.
    Last edited by d'Anconia; 06-29-2005 at 03:12 PM.

  26. #25
    Professional hobbit Focused70's Avatar
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    Try practicing the movement by holding on to a pole with both hands. Once you get used to the movement, then move on to just the bar and work from there. Important thing is to look up and arch your back whilst keeping your core nice and tight. Sounds difficult but it's really not.

    Stash
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