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Lifting Move of the Week: The Squat

Posted Sep 22 2010 4:14pm

Happy Hump Day to all! It’s Wednesday, so you know it is the Lifting Move of the Week!  Since this is an important exercise, I am just basically going to talk about this by itself today.

Here was my workout this morning:

Exercise Set/rep/weight Muscle worked
Barbell Squats 3 sets of 10 at 55# Lower body
Seated Lat Row 3 set of 10 at 55# Back
Barbell Chest Press 3 sets of 10 at 55# Chest
Planks 3 sets of 75 second holds Core
Alternating reverse lunges 3 sets of 15 each leg Lower body
Ahnold Press 3 sets of 12 with 10# DBs (20# total) Shoulders
Good Mornings 3 sets of 10 at 45# Low back and hammies
Triceps Kickback 3 sets of 15 with 15# DBs (30# total) Triceps

I haven’t done the planks in over 2 weeks and I could feel it! Again, someone felt the desire to talk to me while I was doing them. Saying they looked harder than pushups. Good thing I was looking at the floor so he couldn’t see my eyes roll…

Anyway, as you know by the title, the Lifting Move of the Week is:  The Squat !

I was a wee bit hesitant to actually post a video and talk about the squat because there certainly are strong opinions about it and what is “right” and what is “wrong.” With squats, there can be some variety of the minutae because of different body types, but there are some general things to do or avoid.

Some people say they can’t do squats because of knee problems, but truthfully, good squat form does not put that much pressure on your knees.  Most people tend to squat too far forward.  When you are doing a squat, you should be able to wiggle your toes and lift them off the floor at all times.  If you cannot do this, then you are putting too much pressure on your knees.  Think of sitting back onto your heels, as those really are what drive the force of the squat.

Knee problems with squats also can occur because you don’t go deep enough.  This means your legs never get to parallel or past.

This actually is okay if you have the chair in front of you to support your forward weight.  I see a lot of people, guys especially, load up the barbell and partial squat.  I die at how their knees must feel stopping at that point fully loaded.  When you stop part way down, this is what causes the greatest stress to the knee instead of passing through this point to where your muscles take over.

So, here is my version of the squat.  I wish I could have had a different camera angle because you can’t see my feet and it does not look like I am going past parallel (which I am) , but I had to use what I could attach the camera to for this.  Maybe when I get paid to do this, then I will get a fancy set up :mrgreen:

Notice that my lower back does round a tiny bit at the bottom.  This is referred to as butt wink.  And hooray thinking of the Google hits I will get with this post. After doing much reading, I don’t mind the rounding when I go past parallel for 2 reasons.  One, it is just really hard to keep your lower back arched once you go past parallel, which I think is a function of the way I am built.  The other is that when I try to keep that arch in my lower back, then I tilt forward too much and go off center as my hips rise faster than the rest of me, which is not good either.  Personally, I would rather just have a little bit of rounding and stay stable.  Again, just my opinion.  (This video also gives me some things to work on with my squat that I don’t see from viewing myself in the mirror.)

Maybe someday I will get to this:

The most important thing with squats is form.  It’s better to do 1 perfect squat with no weights than 20 done poorly with heavy weights just to say “I squatted my body weight.”

If you want to see the perfect example of squat form and how easy and free they are, just watch kids.

They squat naturally ass-to-grass without thinking about balance or anything like that.

** I am not a doctor, personal trainer, or other person of degreed knowledge.  Take any of my musings with 2 grains of kosher salt and do your reading**

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