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  1. #1
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    Hey guys,

    Tried to teach a buddy of mine to squat yesterday. He is wicked inflexible. When he gets about half way to parallel his ankles start to roll in, at body weight squats (no weight) and when he goes further down his heels lift up and he ends up on his toes. I had him try wider stance, narrow stance, feet on a plate, shoes, no shoes and it comes back to the same problem. I don't know what to do to help him. He is showing a genuine interest, and it is nice to see and I really want to help him out.

    About the only thing he is getting "right" is knees out. Well, as much as can be expected with the weird shit his feet are doing. He also can't keep his back tight and has but wink starting at about 1/4 squat depth.

    His shoulders are weak as hell too, I think. I tried to show him the OHP and his first push the bar ended up almost behind is head with his arms at what is almost parallel to the ground, like some crazy stretch. Got that fixed by having him stay tight and focus on controlling the bar.

    His deadlift was ok, but again, he has issues with keeping his back angle.

    All of this was done with no weight on the bar, and then I put 20kg on the bar for his DL to see if that helped but not really.

    Please help.

  2. #2
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    Have him hold onto something stable and get him to slowly lower himself into a proper bottom position and hold it for a bit. Keep working on that to try gain some flexibility/mobility and to also get used to the movement.

    Also, don't throw a ton of corrections at him at once. Find the major things he needs to fix (think injury prevention) and focus on those.
    Last edited by Paul Sousa; 08-30-2010 at 03:11 PM.

  3. #3
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    Thanks Paul.

    I tried to keep it to a minimum and just get him to the basics but it was really bad and I was worried about him getting hurt from just learning it. He said his legs are sore today from only doing maybe 20 bodyweight squats.

    I am going to try and have him do those "sissy squats" or whatever they are called, like you were talking about, having him hold onto the Sally Machine uprights and see how that goes. Maybe it is ultimately a balance issue because he was "worried about falling backwards".

    Thanks.

  4. #4
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    Yeah, a lot of people are very uncomfortable with the sitting back part of the squat, especially without a bar on the back. Sometimes if that's the only major issue it is best to put a bar and a little weight on them and it gets sorted out. Sounds like he has some major flexibility/mobility issues though that need attention. I know it isn't the popular method around here, but you may also want to consider box squats as a starting point to get him confortable sitting back.

  5. #5
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    One of my lifting partners had all sorts of flexibility problems as well. You could say he is not very gifted in the athletic department but 5 months have passed and he has real nice form on all lifts except OHP which gives him some problem for some reason. He just could not keep his knees out on his squats, they would just buckle in even if he actively pushed them out. His back would be rounding as well, but he was able to fix all those problems with some hamstring stretching and just doing the lifts.

    I think just stretching every now and then at home and doing the lifts with lightish weights will enable him to squat properly.

  6. #6
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    If he can't touch his toes, and if he can't touch his knees on the wall while his toes are 2-3 inches away from it, then I don't think he's ready to squat bellow parallel.

  7. #7
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    Carnivroar,

    I will give that a shot and see if he can do both of those.

  8. #8
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    This isnt flexibility problems, its WEAKNESS problems. I think a lot of us who are not super athletic were similarly tight when beginning barbell training. His problems are more to do with poor muscle control/weakness.

    His knees cave in because his abductors like medial glutes are not working properly. He is coming onto his toes because he cannot keep tension in his hamstrings and calves etc. Even if you are very inflexible, if you have good control of your muscles you just have to squat with the best technique you can and form/depth will just improve.

    get him to practice things like extending the back muscles while lying on the floor and keeping full body tension when doing something like a RDL with a broom stick. When he learns how to be tight, just get him to do the lifts with good technique even if it is quarter squats, he will improve. Of course, stretch afterwards, but the muscle control is th emain thing here.

    I was the same to an extreme extent (I have dyspraxia) but I managed to teach myself good technique in both low bar and olympic full squats. Its just a matter of hard work. I also could not press an empty barbell when I started.

  9. #9
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    That's a good point Dastardly. But try those two tests and see how that works out.

  10. #10
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    starting strength coach development program
    Quote Originally Posted by Dastardly View Post
    This isnt flexibility problems, its WEAKNESS problems. I think a lot of us who are not super athletic were similarly tight when beginning barbell training. His problems are more to do with poor muscle control/weakness.

    His knees cave in because his abductors like medial glutes are not working properly. He is coming onto his toes because he cannot keep tension in his hamstrings and calves etc. Even if you are very inflexible, if you have good control of your muscles you just have to squat with the best technique you can and form/depth will just improve.

    get him to practice things like extending the back muscles while lying on the floor and keeping full body tension when doing something like a RDL with a broom stick. When he learns how to be tight, just get him to do the lifts with good technique even if it is quarter squats, he will improve. Of course, stretch afterwards, but the muscle control is th emain thing here.

    I was the same to an extreme extent (I have dyspraxia) but I managed to teach myself good technique in both low bar and olympic full squats. Its just a matter of hard work. I also could not press an empty barbell when I started.
    I agree that bad form is not always caused by tightness. I the case of the training partner aforementioned, he probably had some very weak external rotators which is why he couldn't keep his knees out. It could also be that his lower back wasn't strong enough to counter the pull of the hamstrings. However, maybe if the hamstrings were more extensible, they wouldn't pull on the hips that strong, giving the lower back muscles less trouble.

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