In all the discussion of strength training being “simple”, albeit an over generalization of training, it also needs to be stressed that it comes with a series of interesting paradoxes. While it takes a number of years to understand that within mass training goals, the best use of your time is the movements that utilize the greatest amount of muscle fibres a far step ahead in the same movements, to move a weight in your hands you must use your legs. That might roll off the tongue a bit easier than actual compliance but like ideas of “spreading the floor” or “dropping under the bar”, they take years of experience with “cold metal”.
One of the other greatest twists in the iron game that both young and old need to consider is that while you will use great power movements as the mainstay to your program, attention to the finest of details is key to your success. This squarely relates to “proper generation of movement”, which is the foundation of training as noted the “Renegade Concepts of Training”. Yet movement generation, the form and function of training are typically ignored within standard gym settings and I have to admit a broad swath of “experts” in the industry seem to ignore its importance.
Is it because the digital age has swept the business quickly in front of the clients, many of whom are impressed with a heavier load but nothing about technique and proper form? Furthermore, with virtually no educational barriers to enter the field and coupled with the frontier of social media in which anyone can publish, quality controls do not exist because few stand up and hold said “experts” accountable. Unfortunately, who suffers are exercise enthusiasts, athletes and anyone else who steps on a gym floor as, what I refer to as the “culture of mediocrity” takes hold.
Form and technique in resistance training and while I like to use the idea of “getting the job done, anyway, anyhow”, it does not come with poor execution of lifts that will not only reduce the positive effects of training but set the individual up for the chance of injury. Unfortunately, resistance work and its many jewels of training get put on the blocks when this occurs.
Possibly the greatest example I am aware of is within the most important of all basic lifts for athletes, that being Squats. Commentary of Squats being dangerous or “painful is based upon the inability to execute the movements properly and worse yet, poor teachers at the helm or another example of the average, leading others to be average. While fault must be shared with the user, those who taught the movement are effectively its executioner and for that matter, the purveyor of broken dreams. As professionals it important to lead through example so great movements are used properly and the iron game is passed down to future generations.
The key point to this is not (simply) the benefit of performing Squats in your training but with all movements, execute the lifts correctly. While it looks “great” in advertising photos to have a big load on the bar, if technique is incorrect it will not only teach improper technique but harm the “iron game” that, given you are reading this, are potentially a steward of it. For those of us who are professionals in this field, consider the final section of that sentence as it is the responsibility of this generation to restore the iron game to its formal glory that the previous allow to decay.
Squats are likely the most important "basic" resistance exercise that an athlete needs to perform yet somehow important tips of how to perform properly are missed in the majority of media releases. Given their importance, please consider these three major elements when digging into the Squat racks.
Squats’ are not a “torso lift”, where you lean forward and effectively take a great deal of the impact off the legs and put is squarely on the back. The torso at the base of the lift should be roughly 45°, with some individual variation based upon limb length, but at no time should the upper body lean forward beyond that and force the ascent via the back. That is an accident ready to happen, yet common in many teaching circles. The reason for this occurring is a mixture of engrained poor movement patterns of the lift, generally brought on by weak, inflexible hamstrings and hip flexors, the lack of impulse coming from the glutes and insufficient core strength.
Right beside improper torso angle is the incorrect action, in a wider base stance typical of most athletic regimes, of initiating movement from pushing the knees forward at the very start of the exercise. This action reduces, eliminates, the chance of performing the lift correctly, which should start by pushing the hips back. It furthermore is rarely a simple coaching cue as it stems from weak, inflexible hamstrings and hip flexors and the only way to resolve the problem is shore up the weaknesses.
The third major flaw in performing Squats, or for that matter all actions involving the lower body, is possibly the most difficult to spot, that being the action of the big toe whereby most individuals roll to the outside of their feet. Without proper action, range of motion and impact from the big toe, generation of movement with the hamstrings, hips and glutes suffers. More visible in gait analysis by a Podiatrist, it needs to be corrected through a proper body re-education system and if I have my preference, top quality orthotics.
Oddly enough as we review compliance issues of Squat, the common denominator we see is weak, inflexible hamstrings and hip flexors and while we will look at a series of measures to solve the problem, all training regimes, whether for elite athletes, Bodybuilders, Powerlifters or everyday exercise enthusiasts should start with basic lunging pattern within RED2.
prepared by John Davies
photo by Renegade Style Productions, copyright protected.