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Squatting Issues | Boddicker Performance

Filed under: corrective exercise, strength training

Squatting Issues

by on Mar 9th, 2009

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Squatting is a great exercise that plays an important part in many strength programs. It’s able to be loaded pretty heavily, it hits a large percentage of muscle mass, which is great for training economy, immune, and endocrine stimulation. While the technique is relatively simple, most of the time the lift gets butchered, especially with endurance athletes. Here’s why:

1. Poor mobility at the hip and ankle.
This limits an athlete’s ability to get adequate depth.

2. A desire to load way too heavily initially.
Again, this limits the athlete’s ability to gain depth, but this time it is simply due to excessive load. Limit the ego first and then get into heavier lifting. The best time to groove the squat technique at first is in the warm up period.

3. Some athletes just aren’t built to be good squatters.
Those with long femurs and torsos, for example, just don’t handle squatting as well as a shorter individual. That said, however, most people can learn to squat very well.

4. Weak or under-active glutes.
In those just beginning to lift, loaded squatting is probably not the best option. Before jumping into heavy loading, glute max and glute med need to be working together to allow proper technique. If not, you get a bunch of incomplete reps that exacerbate existing issues along with (most often) a medial deviation of the knee.

There you have a few issues that need to be taken care of before loading is progressed too much. As our athletes are not training to lift a maximal load (a la powerlifters), it is okay (and necessary) to take some time to groove the right pattern. It certainly won’t be “wasted time” as the chances are that many of the typical dysfunctional patterns seen in runners will get cleaned up as the prerequisite work for good squatting gets done.

Carson Boddicker

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Leave a Comment »2 Comments
  • Isaac September 6, 2010

    Carson, do you have your distance athletes low-bar or high bar squatting? Do you ever incorporate front squats?

  • Carson Boddicker September 8, 2010


    To be honest, we may spend only 8 or 12 weeks annually with the bar on the back, but when we get them to that level where we are trying to push limit strength, I tend to favor a lower bar position and more of a box squat, vertical tibia pattern. What I’ve noticed with distance runners via FMS is that they will almost immediately go to a toe out or a plantar flexed ankle, knees first. The box squat lets us keep the knees in a little better position, hammers the hips, and allows us to get around ankle mobility restrictions while we are concurrently performing them.

    We use the front squat a bit, but far less than I have in years past. We typically will emphasize split stance variations, some static unsupported, and then some bar-on-back work once they demonstrate a good deadlift patterns that show us a strong hip hinge and the ability to resist shear.

    Carson Boddicker

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