Correcting squat technique

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    Correcting squat technique


    Hey guys, I'm looking for some help for my buddy. He is about 5'10, 185 or so. He is somewhat ecto morph, basic athletic type build, decently lean with visible abs. Skinny legs. Decent chest, arms, shoulders. He is having trouble with his squat form. I've read a ton that's been posted here, watched the video links of coaches teaching proper form, Ripptoe, and another guy. I understand the correct form and technique, and it's pretty natural for me to go fairly deep. I know what he should look like and how if should feel, and he understands what I mean when I try to explain or tweek something. Here is his problem, that I thought he fixed by lowering weight. His other partner who is stronger, squats 225 for 12-15 deep reps. My buddy could get 6-7 half reps, but it was obviously too heavy. He said he goes up on his toes and can't "sit back" correctly.
    So lately, he said he dropped weight and went lower, and it murdered his legs for 4 days. So this AM we where going to nail legs. He said he feels like he is going to fall over backwards with a bar on his back. I know people are mechanically different, and femur length plays a role in all this for some. He doesn't appear out of proportion in that regards.

    When he has his arms straight up over his head with no weight, he can't sit back into position, his weight just falls over at the bottom. Same with bar on back. But if he keeps his arms out straight in front of him, he does fine. Sits back, stays on heels, doesn't feel any balance issues. I sent him links with tips on squats that included overhead squat position. Couldn't do it. One said to teach someone from the bottom position up. Have him get into bottom position next to the rack and support himself on it, to learn what it feels like in correct bottom position. That's fine for him b/c his arms are in front as a counterweight. We have tried several different things. We tried box squats to a bench, and he had some trouble with that. He has hard time making his hips go back enough. Now he front squats fine. So he finished up with a few sets of front squats of 135. I told him maybe he will just have to be a front squatter.

    My main question is are there any specific exercises or stretches he could do to help improve his balance? Everything that is has been posted about squat form we have tried. When he squats with arms overrhead or back like he's holding a bar on his back, and he just falls back at the bottom. Even just bodyweight. I don't know if it really is tight hams since he is fine going low with a front squat. I'm kind of stuck and out of ideas, since everything that has helped my form isn't working for him. Anything specific would really help. I will try to get a vid and post it to help with critiques.

    Thanks in advance, sorry for the long post.

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    sounds like he has several postural issues that can be fixed by stretching.

    1) if his heel rises he needs to stretch those calves

    2) everything else you describe is related to improper pelvic tilt. he needs to seriously stretch several muscles attached to the pelvis, the most important being:

    PSOAS, HAMSTRINGS, HIP FLEXORS, TFL/IT BAND, PIRIFORMIS

    i deal w/ this sort of thing everyday while doing posture assessments for new clients (i'm a personal trainer) and improper pelvic tilt is quite common.

    google some stretches for the muscles listed above and have your buddy devote some serious time to stretching.. before and after each workout he should take 10 minutes and thoroughly stretch each of these muscles, holding each stretch a minimum of 30 seconds. make sure you're warmed up before you stretch btw. he needs to do this at least 3 times a week. this would work even better he gets a foam roller for self-myofascial release and learns how to use it properly. after several weeks his flexibility should start getting better and better until he is comfortable doing back squats.
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    Cool thanks for the info. I'll check it out
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    dont static stretch before weight training as it will weaken the muscles. what you should do is dynamic stretching before and static stretches after. get your buddy to do body weight lunges as a warmup and adding them into his training would be a good idea as it will strengthen the hip flexors. If he feels like hes gonna fall over his lower back more than likely needs to be strengthened, doing good mornings, hyperextensions, romanian deadlifts, and regular deads will help with his squat form.
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    I passed these suggestions on to him. He told me when he was in high school he was a hurdler. His coach told him he was the most inflexible hurdler he had ever coached. Even after 3-4 months of aggressive stretching for track, he said he only gained about 3 inches of additional stretch, however they measure that. He could only do low hurdles since he just jumped higher to get over.

    He has been doing regulard deadlifts for a while. His job requires him to work on a welding line making steel joists. So a majority of hisn day is spent leaning over a table, so his lower back seems to get some work during day also.

    Thanks again.
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    He has been doing regulard deadlifts for a while. His job requires him to work on a welding line making steel joists. So a majority of hisn day is spent leaning over a table, so his lower back seems to get some work during day also.

    Thanks again.[/QUOTE]

    that doesnt mean he shouldnt increase the intensity of his lower back training
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    Quote Originally Posted by stullsy View Post
    He has been doing regulard deadlifts for a while. His job requires him to work on a welding line making steel joists. So a majority of hisn day is spent leaning over a table, so his lower back seems to get some work during day also.

    Thanks again.
    that doesnt mean he shouldnt increase the intensity of his lower back training[/QUOTE]

    I understand that, I was just letting you know some more info
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    From skimming your post I would suggest changing his squat routine to the following:

    1) If he's not using a powerlifting stance then switch to it.

    2) Switch to Parallel Box Squats. Use the steppers in the gym or a bench if need be and have him concentrate on keeping his lower legs parallel to the ground and pushing his butt BACK not down. He will feel like he's going to fall but the bench is there so no worries. Sit down on the bench don't just touch it and then push back up. This will strengthen his PC which sounds very weak.

    3) Incorporate Zercher squats into his routine. These are a fun change up and teach perfect form for regular squats.

    4) If he's not doing them already do Front Squats.

    5) Check out DC stretching techniques for the quads and do it immediately after he is done squatting.

    6) Check the ego. Drop the weight. Perfect the form. Eat and grow. Come back to regular back squats in 6-8 weeks and see how he does.
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    I don't know quite as much as those before me but when I started lifting in high school I had a similar problem. My coach would always say "spread your chest, keep a 'C' in your back, and (when squatting) sit back nice and slow just like you do on the john." I don't know how but somehow eventually the message got through. Best thing I can say is practice, practice, practice the fundamentals... luckily you can practice your squatting form just about anywhere.
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