Workout of the Day
15 OHS 95/65
*Every other run, run backwards
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Happy Birthday Alan!!
- By now every lifter knows what A2G means. Ass to Grass baby! Getting low in your squat is crucial if you want to fully engage your glutes and grow that booty you’ve always wanted. It’s also important if you want to get super strong, you know, that extra thing that comes from working out besides just looking good. The squat can be tough for people to master though and once a squatter realizes they can’t increase their weight, they start to wonder what is holding them back. With the help of Golds Gym personal trainer Daneal Jenkins, I’ve comprised a quick run down of what your squat says about you.
The Forward Lean
If you’re leaning forward too much in your squat, where your chest is ever so close to your knees, this means that you more than likely suffer from weak hamstrings and glutes. Compensating for the weakness, you’re shifting the weight to your more dominant muscles, such as your quads and your back. It can be typical for women to use their quads more for leg work given that many fit women tend to have over-developed quads in relation to their hamstrings. Quads tend to work harder to compensate for and overcome the “Q-angle” between the hips and knees. With that said, you also need to make sure you’re engaging your core to keep your back more upright.
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Fixes: Stretch: Hip Flexor Stretch. Mobility in your hips can be crucial when you’re trying to work towards your perfect squat. Non-Weight Exercise: BW (body weight) Box Squats. These work for allowing you and your body to feel what the proper technique is. When its time to use weight, keep it light at first. Quality over quantity! Weighted Activity: Start utilizing overhead squats and front squats. It is harder for your body to fall forward when it has to keep the weight on your heels to just stay up.
The Butt Wink
Besides being a super odd name for a weightlifting problem, the butt wink is pretty common amongst lifters and can be seen in almost every type of lifting. It is when the squatter’s back rounds under too early in the squat movement. This means that they are putting undue tension on their lower back and knees and often can’t increase their weights significantly because they will eventually begin suffering from back pain. Now, there is a depth where the wink has to occur, but it is at the very bottom of the squat or the physical location of what A2G implies. The biggest reasons for the “butt wink” are improper squat training, tight hamstrings, and a weak lower back.
Fixes: Stretch: Hamstring stretching and Adductor Magnus stretching. Non-Weighted Exercise: Back extensions to strengthen your lower back. Back extensions on a bench, on the floor, in a chair, in the air, ANYWHERE! Weighted Activity: Ball Squats. Get a Dynamax medicine ball and use that for your squats. Its a deep enough depth that you’ll have to confront your wink, but the ball will force you to keep things unwinked for longer.
Heels Won’t Stay on the Floor
Don’t you just love the feeling of going deep into a squat, only to feel like you’re about to fall flat on your face? While you may think that this goes hand-in-hand with The Forward Lean, let me correct you in that many people fight to keep their balance when they perform squats but can actually keep their chest relatively up. This problem usually occurs because of one tight muscle; the soleus. Yep, even your calfs can be what keeps you from a perfect squat.
Fixes: Stretch: Soleus stretch. Non-Weighted Exercise: Single-Leg Balance Reach. It’s a multi-part move so check it out here Weighted Activity: Single-Leg Squat – grab onto a door frame or a bench to keep yourself steady and hold a DB in the other hand to perform the move.
Knees Falling In
A very large problem for many new squatters is when their knees begin to fall in when they start to have any sort of weight on their back. This is more common for women given that garsh darn “Q angle” again, but can be fixed. It doesn’t only apply to women, as you can often see men suffering from the same affliction once they are topping out on weight too. This is mostly caused by weak Vastus Medialis Oblique (the inner quad) and hamstring. Additionally, you probably need to work the smaller parts of the outside of the knee to help keep everything in line when you’re putting pressure on it. Trust me, the last thing you want to hurt are your knees.
Fixes: Stretch: Adductor Stretches before you start working out. Non-Weighted Exercise: Lateral Tube (Band) Walking. You may feel silly going back and forth in your gym with a band around your ankles, but trust me, this is for your own good. Weighted Activity: Ball Squats with the barbell. The biggest thing you need to remember when pushing up through the squat? “Push knees out!”
Not Going Deep Enough
This the most obvious cardinal sin of squatting that you can make, given that everyone around you can tell that you’re not squatting right. The reasons for why you can’t get lower aren’t so obvious though. If this is something that happens to you, try doing this real quick: stand up in pre-squat position. Squat down so you’re fully sitting in a squat (butt to calfs) and then extend your arms straight out to your sides. If you’re body begins to force itself back or you can’t physically stand back up without assistance, guess what? You’re tight like a tiger chick. Your hip flexibility needs to be worked on, so here’s how:
Fixes: Stretch (sort of): Foam roll your sartorius, IT band, and hamstrings. I hate foam rolling the way I hate getting shots, it’s such a necessary evil. Except I’m uber tight so it’s more like a necessary satanic devil. Non-Weight Exercise: Bar Step-overs will help you open up your hips and are a great warm up for squats. Weighted Activity: Kettlebell Swings. Not only will they work your glutes but they will also assist in your hips opening up and creating more mobility. Mobility doesn’t have to be limited to just stretching, but can be assisted with strengthening as well.
If you quickly skimmed through this, one of the main thing you need to know is to stretch. It is not overstepping to say that a lifters’ lack of mobility and flexibility can be holding them back from being levels better. Don’t forget, there are muscles you don’t even know that can make a break a lift, so take care of them. The foam roller is our best frenemy for tight muscles as well, so you should have one at home. Also, you as a lifter are nothing without a solid core. Ab work is mandatory if you want to increase your weights in order to increase your awesomeness. You don’t need to rock a 6-pack, but your core will keep your chest up, your butt low, and the weight above your head. So make sure you plant your feet, push through your heels, engaged your core and squeeze those glutes during every single rep.