Squat/Deadlift Form Check... Squat/Deadlift Form Check...

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Thread: Squat/Deadlift Form Check...

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2020
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    4

    Default Squat/Deadlift Form Check...

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    Hey, guys!

    I'm 46, and about 8 weeks in on my NLP. I have a genetic disorder that screws with my energy production, so I'm SUPER weak from a lifetime of sitting (got sick in 1993 at age 19, and had to stop working in 2004). Generally speaking, my back pain has improved, but I'm still having a lot of soreness in my SI joints. I do Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (as my energy allows) and my SI joints usually feel better after class. I'm wondering if the way I'm lifting is making it worse or not.

    This is my second and third set of squats (145 lbs). My shoulder and hip mobility feel like definite issues. Getting into the low-bar position has been a chore (although it's improving some), and this is as deep as I've been able to manage with my hips.

    Second Set

    Third Set - With Setup

    And this is my deadlift (185 lbs). This one has been KILLING my SI joints. For whatever reason, I have yet to make this one feel right. I've been trying to keep my hips down and I end up paying for it for days at a time. The only way I've been able to do this without hurting too badly is by keeping my spine almost parallel to the floor, and I don't thing that's right. Another thing is, I've been wearing my weightlifting shoes up until today; I took them off and it immediately felt better. So, I'm desperate for help on this one.

    Deadlift

    Alright, sorry for the wall of text, but thanks in advance for any help you can offer. BEARHUGS!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Posts
    1,101

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    Hey Rodney
    Normally we'd just delete a post where squats weren't below parallel, but I'm curious what the genetic disorder is and how it affects getting to depth. Are you able to sit on a box with your hips below parallel? Are you having pain as you get to parallel and try to get deeper?
    The bar is too low on your back, which may be why the shoulder is pissed. Check out Nick D's video on YouTube about how to find the right spot for the bar, but it should sit in the "groove" above the rear delts.

    You're setup too close to the bar for the deadlift. Your shins are vertical and these are basically stiff-legged deadlifts. You're also on your heels most of the time, rather than midfoot.
    Setup with the shins an inch away. If you believe you're already at an inch from the bar, then move back further than that. But the shins will be at an angle on the setup and the knees will make contact with the inside of the arms. Your hips will be lower and you'll find it easier to set and hold your back.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2020
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    4

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    Hey, Pete! Thank you so much for making time for me.

    My disability doesn't exactly have a name yet. I have 13 gene markers that are being over-expressed (4 sensory, 4 adrenergic, and 5 immune); metabolomics testing shows that 5 of my metabolic pathways over-function, while the other 135 or so under-function. Not sure if one causes the other, or if something else is the underlying cause. The docs call it "Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Fibromyalgia" on paper, but as you're well aware, those terms are diagnostically meaningless. I have a lot of neuromuscular pain that I can tolerate okay, but the fatigue is just bone-crushing. The end result is that I have to spend most of my day sedentary, so sitting has wreaked havoc on my strength and mobility. Fortunately, I'm on two meds that are the difference between living in bed and having a few hours to do some stuff.

    This is as deep as I can get my squat without 15 or 20 minutes of yoga and foam rolling. The videos I posted above were after a good 45 minutes of stretching, foam-rolling, warming-up, etc.

    IMG_3228.jpg

    Hey, I really appreciate you helping me with this. If you have advice on how to prep for squatting and deadlifting, that would also be a big help. Yer awesome!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    New York, NY
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    Hey Rodney,

    We don't understand metabolic pathways as well as we would like. This is in part because the body is very good at compensating at the molecular level if certain genes aren't being expressed up to snuff (we know this from chromosome substitution studies). So, I would be careful in reading too much into that kind of data. Try not to let it paralyze you psychologically.

    There are a lot of potential things you can tweak to help here, especially if you have Fibromyalgia. However, as Pete noted, you have a bunch of technique issues to fix. I would start with those, and you may need to remove the lifting shoes for the DL to better stay in balance. Based on your picture, you can get to depth no problem. So, to do this more consistently under a barbell I would suggest 1) pause some of your early warm-up reps in the bottom to get used to the bottom position. 2) descend down into the bottom a bit slower so that you have more awareness of where your body is in space. 3) push your knees out harder and keep them out in the bottom.

    Once you dial the above in, we can see how any of those changes affected how you feel (removing variables from the equation). I would then look at your sleep, nutrition, and training program. For people with Fibromyalgia they often have to take things very slow and train less often.
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2019
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    284

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hayden-William Courtland View Post
    Hey Rodney,

    We don't understand metabolic pathways as well as we would like. This is in part because the body is very good at compensating at the molecular level if certain genes aren't being expressed up to snuff (we know this from chromosome substitution studies). So, I would be careful in reading too much into that kind of data. Try not to let it paralyze you psychologically.

    There are a lot of potential things you can tweak to help here, especially if you have Fibromyalgia. However, as Pete noted, you have a bunch of technique issues to fix. I would start with those, and you may need to remove the lifting shoes for the DL to better stay in balance. Based on your picture, you can get to depth no problem. So, to do this more consistently under a barbell I would suggest 1) pause some of your early warm-up reps in the bottom to get used to the bottom position. 2) descend down into the bottom a bit slower so that you have more awareness of where your body is in space. 3) push your knees out harder and keep them out in the bottom.

    Once you dial the above in, we can see how any of those changes affected how you feel (removing variables from the equation). I would then look at your sleep, nutrition, and training program. For people with Fibromyalgia they often have to take things very slow and train less often.
    I find this interesting because my wife has fibromyalgia (which obviously is a very broad diagnosis) and she has similar issues with her squats, and a lot of SI joint pain. However deadlifts are less of a problem, especially if she warms up with slow RDLs. What kind of programming changes would you recommend for someone in that situation? Two days a week instead of 3? She's currently not training but she wants to get back into it if she can do it without excessive pain.

    I also noticed that Rodney's third reps were both pretty close to depth, in fact the third rep of his last set looked pretty good to my eyes. So it's less of a "can't hit depth" issue and more of a "can't hit it consistently." Which was what my wife experienced as well.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    New York, NY
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    Yes, depth he can likely fix pretty easily. In terms of programming adjustments for Fibromyalgia, you basically have to tweak rest and recovery just like you would for someone without it, but likely to a much finer degree. Options would be to take smaller weight jumps, jump the weights over a longer period of time (weekly instead of daily), reduce the number of work sets, reduce the number of training days from 3 to 2 (or 2 to 1 initially and then build back up). In some cases you might need to alter the variation of the lifts you do, but I would go to that after cleaning up technique and modifying stress/recovery.
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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2020
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    Gentlemen, I can't tell you guys how much I appreciate the feedback and pointers. I'm going to start implementing these immediately. I'll report back in a few days and let y'all know how it's going.

    Again, thank y'all SO much. You guys are pretty damned spiffy!


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2020
    Posts
    4

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    starting strength coach development program
    Hello again, Folks!

    I wanted to follow up and let you guys know that the tips and advice you all have shared have been helping.

    One of my neighbors is a physical therapist and I asked him to assess my mobility. He did a battery of measurements and my ankle mobility seems to be the problem. I've REALLY been working on that the past couple of weeks, and it feels like it's paying off. My squats still aren't deep, but they FEEL worlds better. Between that and REALLY focusing on pushing my knees out (for both squat and deadlift) I REALLY feel in control of the lifts, and I'm not in nearly as much pain after the fact. Here are my sets from last night (3 different angles on the squat).

    Squat 1

    Squat 2

    Squat 3

    Deadlift

    That last set of deadlifts felt better than any other set I've done since I've started. Again, pushing my knees out seemed to unlock everything and make it flow smoothly. Also, on my squats, pushing my knees out on the way down made me feel like I was in control of the movement, as opposed to falling into it without much control.

    I mentioned SI joint pain in my earlier posts. I've found a couple of exercises that seem to be helping; I do pelvic bridges on the floor while squeezing a ball between my knees, and then a modified clamshell where my top leg is straight (I do reps at 45 and 90 degrees away from my body). Those make a HUGE difference in that pain. But the biggest relief I seem to be getting is a standing hamstring stretch; it's less of a stretch and more like the yoga pose where you stand on one foot and hold your upraised foot in front of you with the hand of the same side. I stretch my hamstrings a lot in BJJ, but NOTHING seems to give me relief like that particular version. I'm not sure if any of this tells you anything about my SI joint pain or not. Either way, I suspect it's going to keep improving as I get stronger.

    Hey, thanks again everyone for being here. You guys are AWESOME!

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