Squats, The Discussion Continues

Alright so let me start with some basic philosophy about the human body first. Keep in mind this is my opinion and the way I look at how to train the human body. It is a combination of 20 years of dedication to understanding the best way to train the human body for performance. Not just performance in sports but just in general how do we keep our bodies working efficiently.

Like I said in the last post, look for what the potential negative side effects of any exercise is going to be. To do this means you have to first understand the body you are working with. I am not talking about good and bad form in the sense of how you would perform the move, I am talking about is the body you are using or training even capable of accomplishing the stimulus you are about to give it?

Here is the simplistic way I tend to look at the human body. Keep in mind I am going to give you the abbreviated version of most of this but I hope it is enough that you understand where I am coming from.

Lets just focus initially on the 4 major structural joints, hips, shoulders, knees, and ankles. If you studied you anatomy at some point you have seen the picture of the person standing in the anatomically correct position. Here is a picture from an anatomy book I have.primal_muscle-front The main thing I want you to pay attention to is the fact that all 4 of the structural joints and notice how they are completely horizontal from one another. Also notice in the lower body that the hips, knees and ankles are aligned vertically and the knees and feet are pointing straight ahead. This is the position our muscular system is designed to hold the skeletal system in. I realize this is not earth shattering news for most of you but keep reading.

Also remember that the same vertical loading is true from a side view. The shoulders, hips,img_9781587790621knees and ankles should all fall directly on the same midline through the body. Look at the picture to the right and you will see what I am referring to.

So if we know that this is the way that our body is designed to be have you done anything to check to see if your client or you personally are in the anatomically correct position? This will start to determine what your list of negative side effects for a move is going to be. If the client you are working with or if you are lacking in your muscular efficiency than odds are that you do not have a body that is in the anatomically correct position. Try taking some postural photographs and see what your body looks like. I am unable to show you any of my clients but here are a few examples of some people who have signed image releases with me. I will get some better ones for you when I get back to the office but these are of 2 collegiate athletes, both of who participated in track, both of who have back issues every time they squat. You can obviously say they are doing them wrong but at a major university do you think they are going to let their athletes get away with terrible form? Maybe I suppose but lets give the strength and conditioning coaches a little more credit than that.

img_08811-150x150dscn0809-150x150 Notice that in both pictures the knees are no longer aligned. Both of these athletes have externally rotated femurs as a byproduct of their training. Keep in mind these guys are scholarship level athletes at major universities that did a year round training program as part of their sport. I wish I still had the full shot so you could see more of the horizontal hip imbalances and how that impacts an elevation issue in their backs but like I said I will get better ones tomorrow. Notice the feet on the picture on the right are also pointing out? Compare that to the anatomically correct position. This is the issue with squats and I will explain that in great detail.

Last picture for today is from a side view. Same athlete as the one on the right above. As you can see he is your typical strong athlete. Notice how far his body is off that straight line that should bedscn08101running through his 4 structural joints. Also notice the extreme anterior tilt in his pelvis (the pelvis rotating forward) and the exaggerated curve it puts his lumbar spine into causing what would be an otherwise flat set of abs to protrude out. Next post I will go over what all this means in regards to squats.

Ill break here and continue on the next post with more of how your clients current state of muscular efficiency can greatly change your list of negative side effects of an exercise. Also what these anatomical issues people have can determine what style of training you should use with them. In the meantime look back through the philosophy stuff we have posted on Strength training.


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