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Core Work for Squat Stabilization?

I used to have a problem of swaying side to side and moving my knees while squating, then I got better squating shoes and that fixed it, then the problem came up again recently. I talked to a trainer and he said it’s either a glute, core, or lower back thing.

I don’t think it’s lower back because my ME deadlift is 100lbs higher than squat. Maybe my glutes, but I can lunge a decent amount. So I’m thinking my core routine needs more work.

Tomorrow I have shoulder and ab training.
Right now I do 3 sets of hanging windshield wipers (which are still pretty hard for me, I can only do 4-6 reps with a lot of wrest in between), then a set or two of weighted crunches. I used to do an isometric exercise where I hang and hold a dumbbell up as long as possible, and I probably need to add it again. The trainer also suggested lunges with one arm raised holding a dumbbell. I’ll do a set or two of that too.

Anything else people recommend?

Do you notice a stabilization problem in any movements besides the squat?

You could try some heavy squat lockouts and holds. If you have a yoke, that would also work great. If not, try taking a few steps back and forth in the rack with a loaded bar on your back.

[quote]malonetd wrote:
Do you notice a stabilization problem in any movements besides the squat?

You could try some heavy squat lockouts and holds. If you have a yoke, that would also work great. If not, try taking a few steps back and forth in the rack with a loaded bar on your back.[/quote]

I often do this though not for the same reason. Usually when I am aiming for a certain weight in a couple weeks I will load up the bar at the end of a workout and just step it out and back to get the brain used to it. Good side effect has been stronger stability.

To the OP, there was a good article on Elite a week or so back that also might be of help.

Hows your 1 legged squat? If your knee is all over the place, do some glute activation exercies before your squats. Then work on bulgarian split squats.

Have you tried overhead squats?

IMO your hips and thigh abductors are weak. I’d suggest continuing to strengthen the abs, maybe try good mornings, wide stance squats, and possibly barbell lunges stepping out to the sides rather than forward. Dumbell step-ups wouldn’t hurt either.

Looks like the consensus is to get under the bar more, walk it out more, and squat more.

As you get higher in weight your weaknesses will start to show. Even though your quads might be strong enough to get a 1000lbs up, your ankles might not be able to handle it.

That is not to be taken literally for you but just an example. The best cure for it is to stop going up in weight for a FEW weeks. Try concentrating on your reps. Make sure your technique is flawless as you build up your reps. Then you can work on raising the weight and you should see a difference in how you squat.

Considering your muscles are activated in different ways when doing different exercises all the isolated core training will have little transfer to the squat.

As others have said though try different forms of squatting. Overhead squats, front, back, 1 arm overhead heavy dumbell squat, and unilateral leg training.

It could be form as well. Try pushing your knees out during your descent as well as on the way up.

good tips. thanks

I’ll try the walking out idea. It made me think: would isometrics help as well? I usually an least stable at the lower part of the squat so maybe some isometrics at the bottom and middle of the squat would help that?

I’ve never done the 1-legged squats or bulgarian split squats.
Are these what you mean by split squats:
http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/GluteusMaximus/BBSplitSquat.html
?

I used to do overhead squats in my old routine, and probably will again when I’m back on WS in 3 weeks.

I do good-mornings on back day. I do Zerchers wide-stance.

Here’s my current leg routine: all 4-6 reps:
2 sets squats, 2 sets front squat, 2 zercher, 3 stiff-legged deadlifts, 2 lunges, then calves

How would y’all recommend changing it up to incorporate the split squat, one-legged, lunges to the side, etc.?

This reeks of lateral instability. Try some glute activation before each session and single-leg work every other session.

Posting a vid would also be helpful.

[quote]TheBlade wrote:

Here’s my current leg routine: all 4-6 reps:
2 sets squats, 2 sets front squat, 2 zercher, 3 stiff-legged deadlifts, 2 lunges, then calves

How would y’all recommend changing it up to incorporate the split squat, one-legged, lunges to the side, etc.?[/quote]

How much time do you want to spend working out? And how long does your current workout take? Do you warm up?

You can either choose one single leg exercise and add it to your workout, or you can have a single leg day. Maybe every other leg workout, or every 2 leg workouts. If you warm-up you can do the 6 point lunges for your warm-up on some days. With either no weight or a low weight its not too demanding on your major leg muscles but will help with the coordination of your lower body.

How long have you been doing this routine? It’ok for sports in season but as far as building a solid power squatting foundation it’s too little of one thing, and too many variations in one workout.

Add sets to your basic back squat keep your form flawless and don’t do less then 6 reps. If you want to do the other squats you can continue to do them too, or if you dn’t have time do them on another day or not at all for a while.

How is your glute/ham flexibility? You could be pretty tight and if you really start getting into some flexibility issues at the bottom of your squat you could be losing your neutral lower back which will put too much stress on your quads and definitely could make you seem unstable.

Well, I am just learning the squat (I have been doing it for about 7 or 8 months), so I am not expert. A video would really help. I am a lot more stable when I breath into my belly (get the belly big and squat between the legs), get my stance wide, and get the elbows underneath the bar not pointing backward. Work on your set up and be sure you are completely centered under the bar.

I know that sounds obvious, but sometimes we forget the obvious (I know I do at times). I find that the squat is not just an up and down movement. There is quite a bit of movement in the thighs spreading out on the descent and squeezing back together on the ascent. The knees go out on the way down. I am finding the squat has a longer learning curve than other lifts. The squat require more than just pure power.

It also requires quite a lot of flexibility and coordination (or maybe I am just inflexible and uncoordinated). I know I may get some flames for posting advice being that I am a rookie squatter, but I feel some what of a kindred spirit with those learning this wonderful exercise. Good luck.

[quote]BigDaddyT wrote:
and get the elbows underneath the bar not pointing backward. Work on your set up and be sure you are completely centered under the bar.

[/quote]

You want your elbows pointing back. This is will give you a nice stable base on which to place the bar, and will help with thoracic extension which will help to keep your lower back in neutral.

I used to have this same problem. The thing that made it stop was “spreading to the floor”. Try pushing your legs apart during the lift. Think that you are pushing out with your feet (they will not move, of course).

Also, you might need to widen your stance.

Doesn’t Gray Cook use bands for problems like this? Small band with minor tension, which tries to draw the knees in, resist it and squat.

I had this and I rectified it by:

  1. Back extensions once per week on a non-deadlifting day
  2. Heavy side bends
  3. Heavy weighted crunches
  4. Partial deadlifts

When added 100lb to my partial deadlift and got to 90lb+ for 10 reps on heavy side bends and weighted crunches I found my core was a lot stronger.

Also, widening your stance a little and flaring your toes more may stop your knees coming inwards on the ascent.

Hope this helps.

danger-kelly,
What is glute activation?

Airtruth,
I spend about an hour working out, I like to keep it 45min-1hr and I always warm up.

OK. I have two more weeks till I switch routines, so I’ll warm up with lunges and add a split squat set or two.

I’ve been doing this particular routine for 4 weeks, and will continue for two more weeks then change it up. It’s more of a heavy bodybuilding routine than for squat power, but my next block will be focused on power so I’ll definitely have a bigger focus on getting the foundations good.

Shadowzz4,
I’m not sure, my flexibility could be better for glute/hams I think. How would I fix that, just more stretching?

BigDaddyT,
Good points. I have noticed the splitting the floor thing helps and I’ll try the breath into belly thing.

I’ve always squatted with relatively narrow form, at least compared to most people (as in, my feet are slightly more than shoulder width apart, rather than far out like Louie Simmons-style), but that’s because I’m on the short side (between 5’8 and 5’9) so I’ve always thought it was optimal for me, although it’s definitely harder to load more weight that way, and I’m more interested in big quads than getting a 900 pound squat. Am I thinking the wrong way about this?

wsk,
Cool tips. I already do rack pulls and heavy weighted crunches. I’ll add the other shit some place. What are side bends?