correcting 'knees out' asymmetry
I'm a novice lifter following the linear progression you've outlined in SS and PPST. I appreciate your writings. I've searched this board and read the available articles, but I couldnt find a way forward with this squat asymmetry issue.
On squats I progressed to 102.5kg (226lbs) x5x3 and decided to video them since I've been having difficulty keeping my knees out. The video shows that my left knee buckles in and I try to correct it, but not before the symmetry of the squat is thrown off (right hip rises first, resulting in a lateral shift in that direction).
Video of 102.5kg (226lbs) x 5, 2nd set: http://vimeo.com/14068772
Video of 105kg (230lbs) x 4: http://vimeo.com/14069671
Leaving aside those with anatomical imbalances (one short leg, etc.), the standard advice for folks who have asymmetrical squats is to get the knees out and keep them there until the muscles strengthen and symmetry is achieved. Today I lowered the weight to 85 kg (187lbs) for 5x3 and focused on keeping them there. The video reveals a strange imbalance- though the squat seems symmetrical in the sense that the hips rise evenly, my right knee is much farther out than my left. The entire squat seems to be shifted slightly to the left.
Video of 85kg (187lbs) x 5, 1st set: http://vimeo.com/14125180
I'm not experiencing any pain and wasn't aware of this issue until I filmed it. I'm uncertain what is causing this or how to correct it. My other lifts are still improving without issue. Height is steady at 6', bodyweight is 178lbs and rising.
Is this squat asymmetry a result of flexibility differences between right and left legs/hips? What would you advise to remedy this issue?
You seem to have a short right leg, so it is not surprising that your squat would show asymmetry. Shim your foot a little and see what happens.
i happen to live in the same town as Perry and we just met to get another set of eyes on for him. I am a PT and have been studying/working through SS for about a year. Today we check him for leg length and hip, knee, or ankle abnormality and nothing looked terribly relevent. Minor lack of hip ER when tested in flexion, [slight] pronation of R foot. i would call him normal from that point of view, maybe these slight things are relevent, i just don't know.
I would say the problem would be a motor control issue specific to ascending under load. Basically we talked about ways to keep his hips from adducting while driving up. "spread the floor", shove the knees out- especially on way up. i suggested he take the weight down and get it right -- knees out, more hip drive then move back up.
Questions: did we miss something? any suggestions on the off chance we are in the right neighborhood on his problem?
I experimented with shims, but they didn't seem to help the asymmetry. I decided to meet with a physical therapist to get his opinion about possible structural causes of this lateral shift.
He is convinced that this problem with hip abduction on ascent is a result of neuromuscular factors rather than structural ones. He was unable to find significant anatomical or mobility differences between the legs/hips/ankles.
With this in mind, my plan is to deload (to 80kg, using John Sheaffer's recommendation to make the last work set as many reps as possible beyond 5) and maintain symmetry as I add weight, since I have evidently ingrained this lateral shift as a "normal" part of my squat. It would be helpful to have a coach to insure that I am not wasting my time, but I have been unable to find anyone in SE Michigan who is capable.
If you have any further suggestions, I'd be interested. Thanks again for your time.
How did the squats look when your were tweaking the technique?
Originally Posted by Brad
Perry really seems to "get it". Stone solid with no or light weight. He has experimented with bands and such to work on keeping the knees out. Dispite this, and whatever cueing I gave, the bit of a shift of the hips occured when we put more weight on.
Note that we only had about 45 minutes and had to make due in the clinic without a rack, so we didn't get a chance to do a lot of reps.
the knees in or minor hip shift, I see as part of the same problem weak abductors, maybe he is just weak and the heavier loads expose this?
You guys need to get into an actual gym to get this figured out. Surely you have access to a facility.
Today I did squats with 80kg and jammed the knees out harder than ever before, not allowing to move AT ALL on the ascent. The bar path slowed considerably, but ignoring a few wobbles, the video showed that they were more or less symmetrical. I think I've been allowing myself to let the knees come in slightly (1 inch or so) and then pushing them back out. This is a consequence of focusing too much on hip drive and bar speed, and not enough on knee position- something that I can feel, but which may not show up on video.
For the record, I have no personal relationship with Brad (posting in this thread) and made an appointment at his PT practice only because his website advertised that he and his colleague had experience with powerlifters and bodybuilders.
It would be great if there were a gym or knowledgeable trainer in town, but sadly there is not (as far as I know). I will continue to train at home. Thanks, Rip.