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Tag: squat (page 1 of 2)

Your Form is Bad Because Your Mind Is Weak

Have you seen asymmetry in heavy lifts? The bench press where the sternum turns to the right. The squat where the left knee and left elbow stick out to the side. The deadlift stuck over on the right foot.

These happen. Often. If you haven’t noticed them, look out for them. It’s actually pretty cool.

But as a trainer, it’s frustrating. I can’t train you into that asymmetry. I can, but… what good could that possibly do? Now I have to stop you when I start to consistently see that.

But I’ve seen people shift over there almost immediately. I mean, like, rep two out of twenty. They know how to do the exercise, they just can’t. Their brains won’t let them. Why? Because ‘dey scared. Continue reading

Learning How to Fix Lifting Technique

Humans are complex, and movement can be complicated. Why does your client always bend over when they do squats? Why do they do that weird thing with their back on some days? How can they understand it more simply?

Fixing movement is simple: make the wrong stuff look right.

Okay, smart guy, but how do I know what is wrong?

THAT’S the hard part.

Fixing movement is simple for me now that I’ve coached for roughly a decade. But that’s only because I’ve meticulously dissected thousands of reps. Now I can identify what I like and what I don’t like.

  • That squat looks like a deadlift. I don’t like it for this person.
  • That push up looks like they’re doing The Worm. I don’t like it.
  • That deadlift looks like it hurts. I don’t like it at all.

Deciding what you DON’T like is easy… but only once you know what you DO like.

For example, there might be three dozen different squat faults you could identify…

  1. Forward shift
  2. Right shift
  3. Right-forward shift
  4. Left shift
  5. Left-forward shift
  6. Backward shift
  7. Right-backward shift
  8. Left-backward shift
  9. Knee collapse
  10. Knee splay
  11. Foot collapse
  12. Arching back at the top
  13. Never neutralizing back position
  14. Arching back at the bottom
  15. Rounding back at the bottom
  16. Collapsing chest at the bottom
  17. Looking too far down
  18. Not setting eye gaze
  19. Wearing poor shoes for squatting
  20. Limited ankle mobility
  21. Squatting too deep
  22. Squatting too shallow
  23. Shifting forward only at the bottom
  24. Shifting backward only at the top
  25. Shifting forward only at the top
  26. Spinning everything on the way up
  27. Squatting with the bar too low
  28. Collapsing one foot but not the other
  29. Collapsing one knee but not the other
  30. Not finishing with glutes
  31. Not driving out of the bottom with the legs
  32. Losing ab tension on the way up
  33. Losing upper back tension on the way up
  34. Looking too far up
  35. Thinking about too many things
  36. Being weak out of the bottom

That took me about 6 minutes to list. But how long did it take to build that database of squatting mistakes?

It takes a long time.

And that’s necessary. Experience begets competence. That’s how you can become a master of your craft.

But there is a quicker way. It’s not easy, but it is quicker.

You want to understand what “normal” looks like.

Think about how much simpler it is to simply say, “That doesn’t look right. If I do _________________, then it might look right.”

That’s it. It’s not, “You’re losing your upper back at the bottom of the lift. I want you to keep your upper back tight. Oh that didn’t work. Well… think about squeezing your shoulders together while you squat. Squeeze harder! Yes yes yes! Eh, no. That’s no better.”

Hey! Some of that is just coaching. It’s an art. You play with cues you like and sometimes they don’t work.

But let’s say you have a group of twenty people. Can you cue them?

Some would say no, but I think you can. I’ve done it. But your cues have to be dialed in. So does your exercise selection, but that’s a talk for another day.

But now the burning question: how in the world do you find out what “normal” looks like?

THAT’S the hard part.

And that’s also why I put together this mentorship.

I think I can teach you most of what you need to know is roughly 24 hours of hard work. NOT 24 hours of daytime, but 24 hours of focused, deliberate practice. 24 hours of nose to the grindstone. 24 hours of well slept, highly caffeinated attention.

At least, I think we can do that if you’re a somewhat experienced coach. You have some coaching reps under your belt. You’re already familiar with the process of seeing movement and giving cues. You probably just need some re-focusing. And more coaching reps never hurt either.

How does it work?

I think most people get into the fitness industry because they learn well by doing. We have to get our hands dirty. We have to coach each other. We have to look at movement in a new light. And we have to have reasons for the cues we give.

You can say, “Chest up!” But if the problem is in the hamstrings, that cue probably isn’t going to work.

So we work together to identify “normal”. Then we can use our instincts, harness our creativity, and come up with cues that work for us.

First, we become scientists. Then, we become artists.

Will you join us?

The Unseen Importance of a Warm Up — And How to Write Your Own

On my way to the gym. Running late. Got out of the office late. Then forgot something and had to head back really quickly. Stopped at seemingly every traffic light that has ever existed.

Surely you’ve experienced that. Do you ever skip your warm up when that happens?

How much of it do you skip? Do you even have a warm up?

There are some parts of a warm up that are absolutely essential. Then there are some things that you can use to “stack the deck”, so to speak, to ensure you’re optimizing your session.

A good warm up sets you up for a great workout.

Continue reading

Maybe You Shouldn’t Do Yoga, CrossFit, or Squat Deep

Doing any one thing in particular is unnecessary for your goals, no matter what they are. But doing something is necessary for progress.

  1. Find a direction.
  2. Figure out what steps will get you towards there.
  3. Re-evaluate monthly.
  4. Stay the course.
  5. Make every day a win.

Fitness is a bit of an amorphous target. It’s generic. Does it mean cardiovascular fitness? Weight loss? Relative strength? Absolute strength? Weight deadlifted? Flexibility measured? Workout done in x number of minutes?

Is your goal a fitness goal? Or are you just trying out a new training method?

Most people I work with — at least the “regular” people with day jobs — want to be more fit. It would always be nice to be skinnier, stronger, leaner, toner, healthier, smarter, more muscular, more patient, more even-keeled, less anxious, less depressed, less neurotic, less unstable.

But if you want these things, we have to talk about goal setting.

Continue reading

Client Show Off

I just wanted to share with everyone some hard work from one of the morning clients at IFAST over the last week.

Squat. Bench. Deadlift.

Maria has always been fun to train since she’s very physically healthy. She works hard and just needs to be pushed on some occasions. Her technique is usually flawless.

I swear I don’t just beat her up all the time, but sometimes you should push the envelope a little. She went heavy on her last two sessions, now we’ll back down and let her recover.

Great work, Maria!

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