- 03-10-2007, 10:11 AM
I was doing squats yesterday, and one of my friends told me I was going too low. But this is where I feel the quads stretch and the real pain in my legs. I also was positioning my feet pretty close, and parralel. Not sticked together, but a little like if I was skiing. A little more than the length of a pen. He also told me it puts too much stress on my knees. He told me to position my toes more to the exterior and have more space between my feet. I tried it and those 2 plates were cake. I was wondering.. My knees always have cracked, and I am not in pain (so far). Which one is the best way?
Any thoughts appreciated.
- 03-10-2007, 11:24 AM
From "Starting Strength", hope it helps !
Question - How do I properly perform a squat?
1) Get under the bar with your chest high and your upper and lower back tight.
2) Ensure your position is balanced from left to right, grip the bar, ensuring your grip is balanced from left to right.
3) Grip the bar as close to your head as possible. This will test your shoulder, elbow and wrist joint flexibility. The closer your hands are (within reason, your hands shouldn't touch your ears), the tighter your upper back will be, and the better the bar will sit on your back. Use a thumbless grip. You aren’t supporting the bar with your hands. You’re holding the bar DOWN against your back. Your wrist should NOT bend in either direction. It should be a straight line from your forearm across the wrist onto your hand.
4) Place the bar on your back across the low portion of the traps and rear delts (low bar position). Elevate your elbows as high behind you as possible, while keeping your chest upright. If your pectorals are sore, you will feel this as a deep stretch in the pectorals and possibly delts.
5) Inhale as deeply as possible, ensure your back is tight, bend down a bit and squat the bar out of the rack. Do NOT LEAN FORWARD and perform a good morning to get the bar out of the rack. You will lose tightness this way and, as a novice, expose yourself to injury.
6) Stand fully upright with the bar across your lower traps and rear delts, and clear the bar from the rack in 3 steps:
** Take 1 step backward with one foot to clear the rack
** Take 1 step backward with the other (trail) foot so that your feet are even
** Take 1 step sideways with the trail foot so that you get your heels to proper stance width.
Do NOT perform a "backward walk" with the bar. No more than 3 steps are necessary, total. Fidgeting with a few hundred pounds on your shoulders gets tiring. Squats are difficult enough as it is, no need to tire yourself needlessly prior to exercise execution with needless steps.
7) Make necessary adjustments so that stance width is proper, i.e. heels at ~ shoulder width, feet pointed in a "neutral" manner, ~30° outward. ~30° is "neutral" because as you widen your stance, your toes need to point outward in order to maintain proper patellar alignment with the thigh bones. When your heels are at approximately shoulder width, your toes will need to be pointed ~30° outward.
8) Keep your chest high and the bar balanced above the midfoot, take a deep breath, hold it, and squat down all the way. Do not look up, do not look down, do not look side to side. Keep your eyes focused on a point that is ~ 6-10' ahead of you on the floor, or if you have a wall close enough, focus on a point a few feet above the floor along the wall.
9) 4 basics of execution:
** Sit back (stick your butt out!)
** Squat down (bending/flexing the knees)
** Balance the weight by keeping your chest and shoulders upright while your upper body leans forward slightly to keep the bar above the midfoot
** "Keep knees tight" - i.e. don't relax your quads and simply "drop" into the bottom position, keep your thigh muscles tight throughout the motion
10) Once you have squatted down all the way into "the hole", without pausing or bouncing (more on this later), stand back up.
11) As you raise out of "the hole", you will be doing 3 basic things almost simultaneously:
** You will be pushing your butt upward
** You will be pushing your shoulders upward
** You will be extending your knees
** You will be forcefully contracting your upper and lower back muscles isometrically to maintain tightness in your torso
Do not begin to exhale (blow out) until you are near to completion of the repetition. This will cause you to lose tightness.
03-10-2007, 11:29 AM
Uh, has he ever heard of a variation? Close stance ATG Squat...Wide stance Parallel Squat...Normal stance Box Squat...etc.
Different Squats for different emphasis.
03-10-2007, 11:31 AM
03-10-2007, 11:35 AM
Safest for the knees in my experience are box/parallel squats although I don't get that much cracking/soreness from close stance ATG.
03-10-2007, 11:38 AM
03-10-2007, 12:50 PM
03-10-2007, 12:52 PM
03-10-2007, 02:37 PM
First of all, popping of MOST joints are merely gases releasing. This was covered when I took anatomy.
A2G or 90 degree squats should be about the same. No squatting should really hurt at all if you have proper form.
Positioning your feet outward helps make up for a lack of calf flexibility. Once I started working on my calf flexibility my squat grew much more comfortable.
An issue with ass to grass squats that many people have is improper lower back posture. It is important to keep the S-curve of the spine. Mark Rippetoe talks about the importance of proper spine curvature.
My initial issue with squatting was hip flexor flexibility, which is very crucial. Really, the entire squat process is all tied together. Really the squat is a simple exercise and too much thought can be put into it. Just work on getting comfortable in your form rather than following too closely to certain rules.
03-11-2007, 12:02 PM
For knee safety, your feet should be turned out some. (How much is really up to you.) And your heals should be at least hip width apart, and no more then shoulder width apart.
How far you squat is also upto what you can do safely. But most will claim more pain if they stop high, or go to bottemed out. I myself go well below seated, but not quite bottemed out.
What is more important then how deep you squat, is the form. Always keep the back straight, if you start to bow your back, you raise the risk of hurting yourself. (Also fix your site on an object as to where you will keep your head level through out the movment!)
03-11-2007, 02:16 PM
03-12-2007, 01:38 AM
Keep doing what your doing as long as it doesn't hurt.
If you have the flexability to point your toes straight ahead than do it.
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