Thursday, October 20, 2011

Still learning to squat

I have been training with weights since 1983.  I am a BAWLA certified Teacher and Leader.  I have read scores of books and thousands of articles on exercise.  Yet I am still learning.

Which is great.

Tonight I went to see Colin for a general maintenance session he is a Deep Tissue Massage therapist, but is himself an athlete with a background in rugby, powerlifting and wrestling.   Like me he is a big fan of Dan John and Kelly Starret and this evening I asked him to check out my squat form.

Here is Kelly:

I've read a lot about squatting over the years and thought that I had got it.  But recently Dan John's writing about proper squat style has been a revelation - He writes about it  here.  

What I did not get until tonight was the whole idea of squatting between your legs.  I've read about it, probably told people to do it.....but I was not getting it myself.

We have this idea of sitting back, forcing the bum back, as if we are sitting into a chair.  Tonight Colin was showing me that I need to squat down, breaking at the knees, creating some space and then squatting into that space.

It is one thing reading about movements, or watching videos but sometimes you need someone to show you, to coach you.  Thanks Colin.

Anyway, a couple of Dan John videos.  In this first one from about 12 minutes he talks about squatting between the legs, the body being slung between the legs, not on top of the legs.


Aileen said...

I've also been doing weights for many years and I learnt something in the last couple of weeks that helped me a lot. Something about the hip hinge. A real subtle difference in how you squat. Changing emphasis at the beginning to the hip, hinging/folding them first, just a millisecond of emphasis and I find the butt takes the weight and it all follows. Its made a huge difference.

john said...

Any quad emphasis on the squat via sitting "down" or whatever feels very odd for me, as do front squats. I naturally have a very hip dominant squat and continually have gone with a wider and wider stance as well. I think that is the best for hip strength and overall weight anyway.

John Sifferman said...

Absolutely right - it's always good to have a coaches eyes. I spent a few days at a coaching seminar two weeks ago and came home with several things to work on that I wouldn't have picked up on my own.

I think the issue with the squat is that there are different ways to squat that are activity-specific. Squatting under load is different than without. Front squats are slightly different from back squats, and even from goblet squats. So, I think the problem we are facing as fitness pro's is one of too much information and not enough clarity regarding the context in which we are training. It all comes down to your personal goals and what specifically you are trying to accomplish. Without that, it's just another movement like the rest of them that happens to be useful more often than not.

jason @ personal trainer said...

And I thought squatting was just squatting! I followed the videos and boy! Am I feeling it his morning or what?