Saturday, August 13, 2011

How to do deep cross-fit style squats...

I think squats are a great exercise if you can do them. I never considered myself able to do them very well and always though that they were dangerous for the knees.


Then in 2009, a former co-worker, Michele (he's from Italy), took up crossfit and proceeded to show me how they do squats...they are very different from what I was used to before and my knees didn't mind them at all... in fact it seemed to strengthen lots of muscles that stabilize things. 


I try to do 2 X 15-20 at least twice a week...you can do them anywhere. I often do them in the office in the middle of the day. 


Jill has me also doing 'goblet squats' where you hold a weight in front of you..these are easier in that you don't have to keep the forward center of gravity with muscle power (i.e. you cheat on that part) , but they are harder in that you are lifting more weight (e.g. 20lbs more). Both are good.


WARNING: these exercises can potentially permanently injure your back, knees and god-knows-what-else. Use your noggin' and don't attempt them unless you know your limits. Nelly can tell you it's a tricky business (I believe he's recovering from a knee injury brought on by doing squats).


The key points are:


1) do not lean forward (which is why I face a wall so I can't), you can hold your hands out to help a bit (but don't touch the wall)
2) go ALL the way down by arching your lower back and tucking/rolling your butt BACK and OUT (I really don't do this very well.. I tend to roll inward rather than back)
3) careful! don't over do it, especially if you haven't done them in a while
4) keep your shoes FLAT on the floor, feet at shoulder width.
5) harder: go barefoot (or zero drop shoe) and still keep feet flat on floor.
6) advanced: stay down at the bottom and try to go deeper by opening your hips a bit more.


[Update: Nelly adds these IMPORTANT pointers:

In addition to your instructions, don't let your knees go further forward than your toes, you should be able to see your toes at all times. That's why doing them in front of a mirror is probably a good idea.

Also, make sure your knees go straight in relation to your feet, don't let your knees roll inward at all. That was what I was doing wrong, my knees would roll inward somewhat when I was doing the squats, straining the meniscus on the inside of my left knee. ]





Here's a video of me showing you how I do it..not pretty but it works for me, I cracked a good sweat just doing these few: 





It's a great way to strengthen your legs and keep a full range of motion to boot. I find my knees and back have no problem with them...YMMV!




If you've ever been to Asia you'll know that people over there often rest in a squat position.


It also comes in handy when the toilet facilities are
somewhat, erm, primitive. (oblig feeble attempt at SUAR type humor ;)


Believe it or not, for them it's a very low energy position...for me, not so much! 8)

3 comments:

  1. Great post. Squats are indeed very useful for building strength. I wish I would have seen this video or at least asked someone before I started doing a lot of squats on what the perfect technique was. All of your instructions seem right on to me.

    In addition to your instructions, don't let your knees go further forward than your toes, you should be able to see your toes at all times. That's why doing them in front of a mirror is probably a good idea.

    Also, make sure your knees go straight in relation to your feet, don't let your knees roll inward at all. That was what I was doing wrong, my knees would roll inward somewhat when I was doing the squats, straining the meniscus on the inside of my left knee.

    At least once a week I think about how idiotic I was about not knowing the proper way to do a squat. I just regret what could have been this year if I had been healthy. And I wonder if I will ever feel normal again. I think eventually will feel healthy again, but I yearn for those days. So my message for anyone out there is if you have a question about how to do an exercise properly, ask a personal trainer or something who can show you.

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  2. Now you're just rubbing it in my face, aren't you? ; )

    Good for you. I'm making slow progress on mine and intend to get there. Not to spend time sitting that way, but to run better. : )

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  3. @Nelly: thanks for your pointers..you are absolutely right...(I forgot those pointers)

    @mszip: Ha ha.....seriously, I never thought I could do flat footed squats either. You will get there...

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What do you think about all this? Please leave me a comment! 8)