Sunday, September 2, 2012

30 DAYS OF SQUAT! (Day 2)

I made the first Squat Rx video over five years ago now. At the time, I had not seen or read anything properly addressing what I consider to be a very, very common cause of/contributor to lower back pain when squatting - the lower back rounding out at the bottom of the movement.


Soon after I uploaded the video to YouTube, I noticed that there had been a few "butt wink" and "lumbar rounding" threads popping up on internet message forums at the time, and the "squat form police" bandwagon was soon to follow. For a lot of trainees, who don't like lifting heavy anyway, the video served as an excuse to "squat with just the bar until I nail down proper form". I don't know how many times I've had to say "You'll never learn to  squat heavy with proper form squatting only the empty bar", but it bears frequent repeating. Like those famous words from Iron Mike "Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face." - you need weight to solidify your form under stress.

As far as the content is concerned, I think the video stands up pretty well - it's still an under-corrected problem among people who squat deeply. The first two or three minutes are very solid, and the advice to follow a "bottoms up" approach to correcting the movement is something I believe in very strongly. Overhead squats are a great drill and can do a lot to tighten up someone's form, even with lighter weights.

There are some drills presented in Squat Rx #1 that are probably of questionable value for correcting the problem - "wall walks", for example, while being a great drill for shoulder girdle mobility, may not be an exercise I'd recommend to someone without a modicum of motor control, and motor control/kinesthetic awareness is often exactly THE issue for people who just can't seem to figure out proper postures and positions within the squat. So, what I'm getting at is, if you have a lower back rounding issue, the wall walk ain't the answer...

If I were to reshoot the video, as far as content is concerned, I would start with a script (rather than simply scratching out notes). The addition of hip and thoracic mobility work, and a few proprioception drills to help the trainee find an "athletic posture" would make the video all the better. There are a number of great resources out there now in these areas, but having them all in one place and briefly introduced is the attraction of a instructional video zoning in on a specific issue like this. In addition, better camera, lighting, sound, and a good looking model like Jen Sinkler or Neghar Fonooni would make the series a thousand times easier to watch... Maybe someday!

7 comments:

EricF said...

The squat series definitely helped me fix my low back issues, there were a combination of things I was doing wrong under heavy (to me) weight, and its hard to focus on all the variables with a weight on your back that is near panic-inducing.

Boris said...

Thank you Eric - that's very nice to hear.

I always worried that there were too many correctives/cues/exercises in a given video. If I were to redo the series, I'd make each video much shorter.

Did you find that there was "too much" presented?

Boris said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
EricF said...

Not at all. I think an intelligent person can take away from all your videos exactly what applies to their given situation.

Baird Carr said...

These were released at a perfect time for me. That year I kept injuring my knees when I would squat, and I was suspecting that I didn't really know what I was doing. I watched the videos over and over, and still go back and watch them. Basic instructions that assume zero prior knowledge are a treasure on Youtube. I don't know that I can adequately express the appreciation I have for people like yourself that have expert knowledge and freely share it. But thanks.

Boris said...

Thank you so Baird! Were there points that were especially helpful to you?

Anonymous said...

Fantastic video, Boris! Ram