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Thread: Squat Check - Trying to fix bar path and knee position

  1. #1
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    Default Squat Check - Trying to fix bar path and knee position

    As the title says I'm trying to work on fixing my squat form, particularly with respect to bar path and knee position. I was previously letting the bar get well forward of mid-foot and my knees were sliding forward at the bottom. I ended up aggravating my hip-flexor on the right side because of this. After some time off I started back to squatting with really light weights to rehab the hip and also fix my form. I've been working on getting my back angle right and sitting back more, also using TUBOW to work on knee position.

    Here are two "work" sets today at 175, which is still very light for me; but I want to make sure I've really got my form dialed in before I start getting heavy. First work set below I knocked over the TUBOW partway through the set. Second work was a little better I think.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VEJgcs7rpSE

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XuYXLv4Nxsk

    And here's the last set with bar path traced in Kinovea: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w7f597bMI8M

    I only got side view because it's much easier to video given the position of the power rack in the corner, plus it seems most relevant for what I'm working on, but I can try to get a different view next time if necessary.

    What I see:
    • Bar path pretty decent on some reps, but still coming a bit forward on some.
    • Knees not coming nearly as far forward as previously, but I'm not sure they're getting set by 1/2 way down like they should.

    I'm also not 100% sure I'm getting enough tightness in posterior chain, at least it doesn't feel like it compared to starting deadlift position. But I don't know if that's partly due to the weight still being so light, or if there's a cue I should work on for maintaining tightness in glutes/hamstrings.

    Any cues or suggestions welcome, I really want to make sure I have my form dialed in before I start squatting heavier so I don't re-injure my hip-flexor.
    Last edited by JSK; 02-26-2012 at 01:56 PM.

  2. #2
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    These look pretty good to me. Maybe the only nitpick I can see is it looks like you lead with the chest on some reps. That could be why you're not getting the tightness in the posterior chain. So think about driving straight up with the hips the whole time (of course don't let your chest cave while doing this).

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by JSK View Post
    ...but I'm not sure they're getting set by 1/2 way down like they should.
    Also this. You are correct here. Work on actually making contact with the wood too. It will take practice, but the mechanics will pay off.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jmoye View Post
    These look pretty good to me. Maybe the only nitpick I can see is it looks like you lead with the chest on some reps. That could be why you're not getting the tightness in the posterior chain. So think about driving straight up with the hips the whole time (of course don't let your chest cave while doing this).
    Yeah, somewhere along the line I started squatting with a more upright torso lifting my chest and head up, thinking it would help with keeping the back in extension, but all it really did was kill my hip-drive and cause my knees to slide forward at the bottom due to losing tightness. Now that I realize what I was doing wrong I'm working to fix it, but the corrected movement still feels a little foreign to me so, I guess it's something I'm going to have to really work on until it becomes ingrained.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sking1001 View Post
    Also this. You are correct here. Work on actually making contact with the wood too. It will take practice, but the mechanics will pay off.
    Thanks for the confirmation. Is there any cue that can help with this (setting knees earlier), or is it just a matter of continuing to practice with TUBOW?

  6. #6

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    I actually think TUBOW is not useful as a cue during the set. It works better as an instructional aid. If you feel like you're losing hamstring tightness, the usual cue is "knees out," but sometimes this doesn't cut it. A useful cue for me lately is to imagine pushing not just my knees out, but my entire femur. I think of "pushing" my femurs out of my hip socket, while simultaneously pushing my knees out too. This doesn't change the angle of my knees, all it does is make my hamstrings tight. My cue at the start of the rep is "legs out." If you do it right, you'll feel a big difference. This, plus the cue to keep the bar in a slot over the midfoot, keeps everything tight and where it belongs during the rep.

    Some folks use the cue of "spreading the floor apart with your feet" to achieve similar effect. I like this more. YMMV

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    I actually think TUBOW is not useful as a cue during the set. It works better as an instructional aid.
    I might agree it's not a corrective aid per-se, but it's definitely a good indicator whether or not the knees are sliding forward at the bottom. I will admit it can be a distraction though, I'll probably stick with it a few more workouts then maybe just for the occasional warmup set.

    If you feel like you're losing hamstring tightness, the usual cue is "knees out," but sometimes this doesn't cut it. A useful cue for me lately is to imagine pushing not just my knees out, but my entire femur. I think of "pushing" my femurs out of my hip socket, while simultaneously pushing my knees out too. This doesn't change the angle of my knees, all it does is make my hamstrings tight. My cue at the start of the rep is "legs out." If you do it right, you'll feel a big difference. This, plus the cue to keep the bar in a slot over the midfoot, keeps everything tight and where it belongs during the rep.

    Some folks use the cue of "spreading the floor apart with your feet" to achieve similar effect. I like this more. YMMV
    I know the conventional wisdom is that everybody needs to do better at keeping their knees out, but I think I've always done a decent job of that; they were just sliding forward at the bottom. I suspect trying to lead with the chest out of the hole was my biggest problem, and something I'm going to have to work on some more to keep my hip drive fully engaged. I'll try to think about pushing out with the whole leg next time though, that may help.

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    More video from today. It felt like I was staying tighter on some reps, but examining the video I still see my knees not getting set early enough and the bar coming forward of midfoot towards the bottom (pretty sure these two are related). A couple of reps have noticeable "knee slide" at the bottom, which I've got to fix before moving back to heavier weights, otherwise I'm just going to re-injure my hip flexor. The one rep that looks pretty good to me is #5 in the first video, but I'll be damned if I know what I did differently there or how I can replicate it more consistently.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NoNF89acMDU

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tj6TemXasGM
    Last edited by JSK; 02-26-2012 at 01:57 PM.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by JSK View Post
    The one rep that looks pretty good to me is #5 in the first video...
    I don't see it. You're not touching the block of wood within the first 1/3 or 1/2 of the descent. Period.

    Shove your knees out and forward first thing and touch the TUBOW. Touch it. Touch it. Then keep your knees there and move your hips back and down while maintaining tightness in your lower and upper back. Easy as that.

  10. #10
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    So last two workouts I've tried to break the knees first and then sit back. I feel like I'm getting a little better tightness at the bottom. I couldn't get video on Fri but here's a set from today. In trying to break at the knees first I started doing some sort of hitch at the hips, also I still see some knee movement at the bottom.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UEqImn9zVMk
    Last edited by JSK; 02-29-2012 at 09:25 PM.

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