T Nation

Squat Troubles Again

I finally got comfortable squatting but wasnt really going fully ATG. After building up enough strength i finally was able to go ATG (took 2 months… sigh). After doing a few sets like this, knees got sore though and although its great that i can now go ATG its still not perfect, cuz my knees complain.

I slowly do body weight ATG squat and find that due to my long femurs it really helps if i do rise with my hips first then swivel about the knee. Using this method i can completely lock the knee above the ankle in a straight line and have 0 pressure on them.

Prob is of course… I feel that this will hurt my lower back if i add alot of weight. Hips up first even a few inches involves a slight ‘good morning’ element to the squat. Having to use this method to immobilize my knees is this a sign of inflexibilty in the hips (I have insanely tight hamstrings). Or is this just a body build thing? I do have a strong pain-free back.

Right now only using 135 lbs. I could do alot more but i dont see the point when pain, not strength, is the limiting factor - due to imperfect form. I have a low pain tolerance and almost spastically relax my muscles if i hit any kind of pain, so i cant just push thru the pain.

I’m doing lunges and partial one legged squats to build weak glutius medius and this is really great for my knees.
Still… I feel the back squat still has owned me and i dont like it.

To be honest, you will probably need a witness, whether having someone in the gym watch your form, or getting a video. I had stopped back squat and did front squat for a while and tried to get back into the back squat. I was so used to front squat that I struggled to get the back squat back down. I recently have improved my form by a lot.

This is what I have done:

Low bar position, with hands placed just outside shoulders.
Stance slightly wider than shoulders.
Toes pointed forward.
Deep breath, tighten core.
Slow, controlled descent.
Explode up.

And it works for me.

[quote]gabex wrote:
To be honest, you will probably need a witness, whether having someone in the gym watch your form, or getting a video. I had stopped back squat and did front squat for a while and tried to get back into the back squat.

I was so used to front squat that I struggled to get the back squat back down. I recently have improved my form by a lot.

This is what I have done:

Low bar position, with hands placed just outside shoulders.
Stance slightly wider than shoulders.
Toes pointed forward.
Deep breath, tighten core.
Slow, controlled descent.
Explode up.

And it works for me.[/quote]

I had the same problem, I front squated forever, then switched to back squat. I had to learn the movement again. That said, I think front squat is easier to get the idea of sitting back down with.

OP, not sure what you do for a warm up, but my knees feel like shit if I don’t do some bodyweight mobility work. Here’s what I usually run through before starting with the bar on my back:

Split squats 10 each leg
OH squats with a chunk of PV with a broomstick 10
Lateral Squats
“rotational” Squats
Ankel mobility drills
sometimes leg swings
sometimes a few sets of OH squats

From there, I start with the bar. Here’s what I did for a warm up with the bar on friday:
2x5xbar
1x5x95
1x3x135
1x2x185
3x5x240 (work sets)

If you’re only squatting 135, you could do a few timed sets with the bar to warm up. Keep it controlled the descent and try to explode up. You could go for reps (like 8-10) or just squat for 30-45 secs (don’t count reps) and call it good (do it a few times).

You can find some video and pictures of the bodyweight mobility stuff here:

Also, watch this video and listen to what Dan John tells you:

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-6529481301858251744&hl=en

I’m a big fan of the goblet squat he teaches in the vid.

I took some advice and had someone watch me squat ATG and they noticed my right knee only was moving in at very bottom of the squat, by a very small amount, partially due to my wallet in the left pocket (yeah dumb). Put stress on the knee. Even when i do bodyweight squat i have tendency to do this. If i concentrate on pushing the knee out (and removing the wallet duh) a bit with my hips the pain goes away. I had always seen exaggerated picture of knock-kneed people and thought ‘thats not me’ but even a small turning of one knee slightly in can cause problems over time.

Weeks of having this minor flaw eventually led to some soreness/ minor tendinitis for days at a time. Finally took a week off and fixed the problem. Also trying to strength left leg stabilizers.

Slow improvements but at least i can start progressing again. It’ll be a while before i master this simple exercise I feel. Wish Flameout would get off backorder.

I hate this damn “ass to grass” catch-phrase bullshit. If you’re squatting heavy at much less than, say “Ass To 12 Inches”, you’re gonna tear your knees up. Just lift it right.

[quote]JayPierce wrote:
I hate this damn “ass to grass” catch-phrase bullshit. If you’re squatting heavy at much less than, say “Ass To 12 Inches”, you’re gonna tear your knees up. Just lift it right. [/quote]

Can you source this with a scientific reference? I’m not suggesting that you are wrong, I’ve just heard it a lot and haven’t had anyone be able to back it up with evidence.

Thanks in advance!

Gimme a little while to find a good solid scientific reference. I have physical therapy for my left knee this morning, so it may be later this afternoon.

[quote]JayPierce wrote:
Gimme a little while to find a good solid scientific reference. I have physical therapy for my left knee this morning, so it may be later this afternoon.[/quote]

Cool! I hope your therapy session goes well.

[quote]JayPierce wrote:
I hate this damn “ass to grass” catch-phrase bullshit. If you’re squatting heavy at much less than, say “Ass To 12 Inches”, you’re gonna tear your knees up. Just lift it right. [/quote]

hy·per·bo·le [hahy-pur-buh-lee] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation
noun Rhetoric.

  1. obvious and intentional exaggeration.
  2. an extravagant statement or figure of speech not intended to be taken literally, as “to wait an eternity”

www.exrx.net/ExInfo/Squats.html

scroll down to the part about deep squats.

And, yes, I know that it’s an exaggeration. I just hate this particular one.

Wait…strike that. What I meant to say was that exaggerations have no place in the gym, intentional or not.

[quote]JayPierce wrote:
www.exrx.net/ExInfo/Squats.html

scroll down to the part about deep squats.

And, yes, I know that it’s an exaggeration. I just hate this particular one.

Wait…strike that. What I meant to say was that exaggerations have no place in the gym, intentional or not.[/quote]

Okay, I understand what you are saying. The literal ass to the grass description of a squat is what you are saying is dangerous.

Thank you for the reference.

Jay is kinda right i mean i remember when i was a kid i heard the phrase ‘pedal to the medal’ alot and when I FIRST trove I tried it for kicks - just cuz i heard the term. Even though it was stupid and i was a stupid kid… ending up in a pile of mangled metal is not a just reward for stupidity… neither is arthroscopic surgery.

ATG is a term that shud be outside the beginner’s forums.

Wow, I just watched the video of Dan John’s class. Absolutely top-notch instruction. Once I get back to heavy lower-body moves, I’m going to practice that shit before every workout.

PT sucks. I’ve been diagnosed with a patellofemoral cartilage contusion in my left knee. Apparently, that’s what happens when you get your knee smashed between a Triumph and a Mercury (other than the broken tibia).