T Nation

Want to Squat/Huge Flexibility Issues


#1

Hello all -

I have been lifting on and off for the past 8 years. I have gotten 'smart' over the past 9 months, thanks in large part to this website.

While I am making some great progress (esp over the last nine months), I have been extremely hindered in my inability to do traditional squats, or deadlifts off the floor. (Bar needs to be propped about 6-10 inches off the floor.)

Growing up, I was what is known as a 'Toe Walker'. I was one of those kids who were up on their toes, ALL the time. This obviously could get a little rough with the ballerina jokes etc... but being that I was still pretty athletic, and always extraordinarily tall for my age, I still got by as an athlete. My doctor diagnosed me with a congenital short Achilles tendon issue, caused, more than likely, by my difficult birth. The shortened tendons constantly pull against my hamstrings and up allong my entire posterier chain, causing those muscles to default to 'tight' as well.

By the time I was 11, my parents decided that it was not anything I would grow out of, and I began some physical thearapy. She finally recommended that I get put into walking casts with my feet pushed at an upward angle, so that basically I would be stretching day and night for 6 weeks straight. When the casts came off, I for once in my life, felt what it was like to be able to touch my toes without any kind of 30 minute warm up. That flexibility was short lived however, but in the end, it did cure me of the extreme toe walking I had always done.

Now at the age of 28, I don't walk on my toes, but if you watch me walk carefully, I do bounce up onto my toes, much like an extremeley good leaper does. (Can't jump worth a crap though)

Now back to the original point of the post. Even after a good warm up and a good deal of stretching, I still cannot squat even to paralell without my toes coming off of the gorund, or me falling backwards.

This really has been pissing me off, and I have been working to correct this - what I am looking for by posting is for:

A) anyone who was a 'Toe walker' growing up, who has dealt with major flexibility issues, and has been able to over come this and squat without issues

B) anyone who has trained anyone with this issue, who has been able to get them able to squat.

If anyone can say yes to A or B, if they could point me to any particular stretching program, or give any other advice, I would greatly appreciate it. A lot of the programs I see always assume avg. flexibilty to start with, something I just don't have.

Thanks so much in advance,
Tall Guy


#2

You cant squat without your toes coming off the ground? Thats weird.

When you squat, you should try to keep your shins as perpendicular (to the floor) as possible. I'm guessing you can stand upright with a flat foot. Since its just your thighs and hips moving, your feet should be able to stay flat.

Do you squat in a rack, or on the smith machine? I feel that in order for your toes to come off the ground, you would have to lean really far back and fall over.

If no one gives you an answer (specific stretch(es)) I would go see a therapist about it and ask them.


#3

Hey whats up. I'm 6'5 myself so flexibility has become somewhat of an issue for me as I've been aging. I just skimmed your post, but quick fix would be to throw 5 pound plates under your heels.

Long term fix would be to add some sort of corrective phase to your workouts to fix your flexibility issues! S2B book has a section on this... helped me a ton.


#4

What is a s2b book ?
Thx Pittbull


#5

Scrawny to Brwany


#6

Thank you


#7

Why not get Eric and I's "Magnificent Mobility" DVD? It outlines over 30 dynamic movements to improve flexibility and performance.

If you're interested, you can pick it up in the Biotest store that's linked above. Needless to say, we've used this stuff with a ton of strength athletes and regular athletes alike, all with great results.

Stay strong
MR


#8

thanks to for all the replies - I will check out the MM DVD in the Biotest store - I've finally comem to grip with the fact that I need to overcome this lower body flexibility issue in order to progress to the next level -

still would love to hear from anyone else who faced similar challenges and was able to overcome them

thanks again,
TallGuy