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This is Seth

You Should Squat More

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This thread will serve as a consolidation of previously asked questions regarding whether high-bar or low-bar, depth checks, feet position and squats in general. This is a work in progress and will most likely be trimmed down once someone has the time to read through and pick out what's actually helpful in these posts. For the moment, if you have a question, here's a great place to start.

Squat Issue: Hip failure in the hole.

Squat Form Check

squat question

Back Pain while Squatting

Smith machine

Squats with a Smith Machine or not at all?

Improving my squat ROM/glute strength

Squat: Low Bar Position

Weighted Squats - three questions

Using the Belt Squat When You Run into Back/Spine Problems

 

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edited on 1/7/13 to conform to new URL addressability

edited on 6/12/2014 to conform to new URL

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Hello, and thank you for posting this. I am a complete beginner here, and I think this thread is the correct place to post my question. Actually, I am sure this has already probably answered elsewhere but I just wasn't able to find it. Please feel free to reply with just a link and an eye-roll if I have missed something painfully obvious~~and TIA. :)

Anyway...I did a search through the forums (I may not be looking right, but I tried) and I couldn't find anything to answer my question.

As you can probably guess, I am very overweight and out of shape. For the past six months (since moving to Kuwait) I have been more sedentary than I have ever been in my life. I have also turned 41 years old and have lived a life full of adventure, punk rock, car wrecks, hard work and not infrequent smashy mayhem. For the past 5 or so years, I sometimes get creaking and crackling noises in my knees when I use them to stand up or go up stairs. I spoke with an athletic trainer in the sports program at a local college and he told me it was probably a build up of mineral deposits. He said I could have surgery to scrape it off, but it would just come back in a few years. He said, and he may be full of drek, but he said that it was pretty much harmless and that losing weight would be the best way to deal with it.

As someone new to this rebellion, I have been trying to do the beginner body weight routine, but I just can't do the squats and lunges. From my online research into the problem, I believe some/most of the problem is just plain weakness in my quads, and that doing partial squats to build up strength--fake it till I make it--will not be the fastest way to get to a point where I am strong and stable enough to actually DO real squats and lunges. Also, doing partials won't actually get to the muscles I need to strengthen, so may be ultimately a waste of time, if some of the articles I have read are to be believed.

I am WELL convinced that squats (and strength training in general) are GOOD and I "should squat more," as you say.

I also want to be smart about avoiding injury. Injured knees = crazy bad Juju.

Would a reasonable workaround be to try a stationary bike or an elliptical (I might have access to those for the next 30 days or so) to try to build strength and flexibility, or is there some other way I could get the foundation I need?

Advice? Anyone been where I am at? I could seriously use some encouragement. Pretty lame not to be able to even do the "beginnger" workout. :(

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I think you need to practice the complete motion, but it sounds like your body weight is a bit much for you at the moment. Do you have access to bands, or a rope something that you can use to assist you getting down and up? Ideally you'd be able to scale back the assistance as you progress. Eventually you'd build the strength to do them unassisted, and ultimately with added weight.

Another option, if you have access to it, is to use the leg press as a start point. It's not as good as the squat because it takes out the body stabilization, but it should help strengthen your legs. Be sure to go as deep as you can though.

Good luck and be sure to let us know how you get on!

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I have found this resource in the assassin's forum:

http://i.imgur.com/zw13Y.jpg

If you can't do half or full squat yet, maybe you could start with shoulder-stand, jackknife or supported squats?

That resource is superb. I really appreciate the help, and I think you are right about the jackknife in particular. The shoulder stand is a bit intimidating at this point, but I have to admit I am more than a little curious whether or not I could do one... ;)

I'll work with what I can do right now, and let you know in a week or so how it goes.

Thanks for your help, Nuala!

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Thanks for the encouragement, Lachy!

I don't have access to a leg press, but I DO have four flights of stairs. You are definitely right about the body weight being too much, and the "stabilizers" have, I think, atrophied.

I did some very gentle cruising around on a bike with my husband and son last year, and I noticed my knees hurt afterward. Not my thighs or muscles, but my knees. I did some online research at the time, and read about how sometimes people with weak legs will find their knees swinging in and out as they petal. Sure enough, the next time we went riding I noticed my knees swinging from side to side as we went up hills. I made an effort to hold them in line with my feet and, sure enough, I noticed almost NO pain after the ride.

Given that information, do you think going up and down the stairs a couple times a day would help to build up my "stabilizers" and give me the full motion I need to really make those squats work for me? I DO plan to do the Jackknifes that Nuala recommended. Maybe I could do the stairs as a warm-up to the squats, or is that wishful thinking?

Thanks again for the help, I really do appreciate it!

H.

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Going up and down the stairs will help in many ways, it's good cardio, it will strengthen your legs, but it won't do much for the full motion of the squat (there's a great image from Mark Rippetoe that shows the muscle difference when getting deep as opposed to not getting deep, but I can't find it!). To get the motion, you'll need to get your thighs parrallel to the ground, or even past parrallel. Walking up stairs won't replicate this, but it will warm your legs up, making them more flexible, making it easier for you to work on the motion afterwards.

But right now, you're starting, and the aim is to make progress. Do what you can, and aim to improve. Eventually you'll be doing body weight squats good and deep. So keep with the cycling, thats great you noticed your knees not tracking properly, do the stairs and the jack knifes. Maybe try body weight squats against a wall, and ease yourself down lower each day?

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@heatherphillips, stairs will do wonders, if you want to engage your muscle more, take two steps at a time and remember to push from your heel trying to actively feel your hamstrings and glutes contracting.

Edit: just climbed stairs for 15 minutes to test my theory, my calves and quads are jelly even though i was pushing from my rear.

Edited by Pat G
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Hello :)

I'm a newbie to this site but spotted this tread and also agree that squats should be done more. I have knee issues that I'm working through and find that if I squat to the point where I can just feel said issue but not aggrivating it helped me. Over tiem I have been able to slowly go a little deeper. A few years of bad form and too much ego have been the cause of my issues so back to bascics and lighter weight has really helped.

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