Note: I’m trying out how to fix my squat. Please don’t take me for an expert and think I can fix your squat. If you need help, read the articles I link to, then read their forum discussions, and if you’re still in a fix, pose your question there. There, now everyone’s properly convinced of my noobness, we can continue:
From Squatting 101, by Mike Robertson:
- Your hands should be as close to your shoulders as they can get. This’ll tighten your upper back and give stability.
- When you’re ready to take the weights up, think about pulling your shoulder blades back together
- Stand just outside of hip-to-shoulder width, the wider your feet go, the more toe flare you’re going to need
- (from Six tips for a sexy squat, by Mike Robertson):
Once you’re set-up and ready to squat, take your elbows and rotate them forward so they’re pointing almost straight down. If your hands are in close on the bar, this will pin your elbows into your lats, increasing your stability even further.
Tried this in the gym yesterday: I felt a little more stable, but not enough by far.
From Squatting 101:
- think about sitting back versus sitting down.
- think about pushing the knees out to the sides.
- Squat as low as you can without losing form (so try squatting less low and see if that fixes your form).
- Once you hit the bottom position of the squat, think about keeping your chest elevated the entire time. And think about driving your upper back into the bar
No matter how much I think about pushing the knees out, they don’t do it. They’re good tips, but I’m going to need more than thought power.
3. Front squats
Box squats and front squats are both good to build up strength. We don’t have boxes in our trucker gyms, and I’m not taking my own. They think I’m crazy enough as is. So let’s look at the front squat.
Damm it looks awkward. Here’s a primer about holding the bar.
I tried this in the gym yesterday. It was extremely awkward, I couldn’t get a grip on the bar without twisting my wrists. I know women’s arms work bend outward a bit and this can give them trouble getting a good grip on a straight bar. Using an EZ-bar helps, but can I use one for front squatting? Also, I couldn’t find a good place to hold the bar. My hands are only supposed to hold it in place, but they were half lifting it. It was all sorts of not-good. But I’ll keep trying, hopefully get some help from one of the guys.
From The Magnificent Seven: Must-Dos for Female Athletes, by Stephen Morris
“Many female athletes have a problem with their knees drifting inward while squatting. Strengthening the adductors can help solve this problem. I first learned about this solution in an article by Bill Starr. He noted that this happens often to female athletes and also male athletes who are pushing their squat poundages to new limits. He noted that simply putting a little work in on the adductors stopped the problem post-haste.You don’t have to worry about devoting a whole day to adductors (back and adductors today?). All you have to do is add three or four sets of ten reps at the end of your session twice per week, on either the machine or with a cable. After four weeks or so, the problem should have disappeared. If not, continue until your knees are stable.”
Damm, I’ll be so embarrassed going on that stupid thing.
Tried this yesterday, and today my adductors are so sore it looks like this was the first time in the decade they’d seen any use. So I can only conclude they’re not doing they job when I’m squatting either. I’ll try putting some focus on them in my squats, and I’ll also keep going on the machine.
5. Lunges (working out the leg imbalance)
Not only my hip stabilizers are weak, I also have a leg imbalance. At the bottom of the squat my left hip tilts down to put more weight on my right (strong) leg. I don’t know exactly how to work out an imbalance yet (That’s next on the research list), but Six tips for a sexy squat mentions a few exercises you can use to build your squat.
Lunges. Y’all know how to do a lunge, don’t you? My most hated exercise.
6. Bulgarian squats, single leg squats
These I like much better.
7. Back extensions
Doing those. Doesn’t feel like it does anything, but I’ll keep at it.
8. Other helpful exercises
Romanian deadlifts, good mornings, glute ham raises, reverse hypers. Those all look like great exercises, but I’m not starting on them without some proper instructions from a trainer, for now.
9. If you have a back arching problem
I don’t, but if you do, read Tips to squat deeper, by Mike Robertson (does this guy do anything besides writing articles on squats?)
10. Keep working at it
Squats just *are* hard, and a good way to get better at them is just to keep on doing them. If you do it, and do it well, it’ll pay off. So stick with it!