Evolution of the Squat: Joe Sarno

Remember the face Ace Ventura made when he walked into "The Lovely Room of Death"?

This is the same exact face I made when I first saw Joe Sarno squat.


Check out this video below and it will become quite clear.

(Note: There is no acceptable reason for the horrible footage, as the video looks perfect on my i-phone. My only guess is that Joe's uncle is on the board of directors for YouTube and they are blurring the image to protect his reputation.)

What is wrong with this squat?

1. His heels come off the ground.
2. His lower back rounds.
3. His upper back caves in.
4. His knees fall over his toes.
5. His glutes dip into an "anteater" position at the bottom of the movement.

(Note: The "anteater" position is when your glutes dips down as opposed to drive back at the bottom of the movement - similar to the mouth of an anteater.)

(This is what it should look like when the glutes drive back...)

The Evolution:

In a few months, we took Joe's squat from the abomination you saw above to beautiful image you see below.

The Corrective Action

I wanna play a game ...

I want YOU to pretend you are Joe's coach and I want you to think about how you would get him from Point A (abomination video) to Point B (pretty good squat video).

Unfortunately, most meat heads have absolutely no idea how to do this.

They just yell "Squat Deeper" or "@$$ to the Grass".

Fortunately, at Advanced Training, we know that squat depth is a lot more about mobility and stability than it is about being a "manly man."

If you have limited mobility in your hips and ankles, you cannot achieve sufficient squat depth.

This limited mobility will then compromise the stability in your core and lower back, forcing your chest to collapse and your glutes to sink (remember the anteater) at the bottom of the movement.

So what did we do?

1. We did not allow Joe to perform heavy back squats for 3 months. His maximum weight was 235lbs for 5 reps.

2. We incorporated a series of extra mobility drills such as wall ankle mobilization, band ankle mobilization, and prying. All 3 can be seen HERE.

3. We incorporated a series of stabilization drills such as planks, db front squats, and db goblet squats.

4. We also threw in some seated band abductions to help him push his knees out, as opposed to forward and over his toes.

5. We severely regulated the depth of Joe's squat. In fact, we would not let him go past 3/4 squats until every one of his reps were perfect. Only after that was achieved did we let him start 1/2 squats. In my estimation, we will have him at full squats within the next two months.

6. We made him focus on both "packing his neck" into the bar and making a "huge chest" when the barbell was on his back. These two things alone almost immediately cured his stabilization issues.


If you are having problems with your squat, find out the source of the problem as opposed to just trying to rep through it. Adding more weight before you fix your form will only lead to injury.

If your coach just keeps telling you to "Squat Deeper", get a new coach.

At a minimum, get him to read this article.

My blog could use the traffic :)

This Is My Sheet ...

At Advanced Training, every athlete gets their own individualized training program. Their program is tailored directly to their strength level, their training maturity, and their current physical condition.

These training programs are documented and handed out to each athlete on what is called "The Sheet".
(I have provided a portion of one of our sheets below for reference.)

Each athlete gets their own "Sheet" and each athlete is responsible to make sure they bring it to the gym for each training session.

The sheet is the physical manifestation of my "Mona Lisa".

Not only does it provide weight and rep schemes, it also provides a detailed sequence for how movements are to be executed.

Unfortunately, most of our guys are too mentally soft to bring the sheet to training every day.

Fortunately for me, I never miss an opportunity to make them feel terrible when they do.

Last Tuesday, as per the usual protocol, one of my athletes forgot to bring his "Sheet" to our training session. After doing my best to make him feel like an awful human being, I heard him say this as he walked away ...

"This is my sheet, there are many like it, but this one is mine..."

For those of you that know nothing, these words are a play on "My Rifle" - The Creed of a United States Marine.

Even if you know less than nothing, you should at least be familiar with this creed from the movie Full Metal Jacket.

Either way, I thought his comment was brilliant.
With that, I decided to write my own creed for Advanced Training called "My Sheet".

I am still debating if I am going to make the guys walk around the gym reciting it, while holding the sheet in one hand and a 45lb plate in the other.

Until then, enjoy...

My Sheet - The Creed of an Advanced Training Athlete

This is my sheet. There are many like it, but this one is mine.
My sheet is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life.

My sheet, without me, is useless. Without my sheet, I am useless. I must fill out my sheet true. I must fill it out more clearly than my competitor who is trying to beat me. I will...

My sheet and I know that what counts in this gym is not the weights we drop, the chalk we throw, or the grunts we make. We know that it is the reps that count. We will complete our reps...

My sheet is human, even as I, because it is my life. Thus, I will learn it as a brother. I will learn its weaknesses, its strength, its font, and its layout.

I will keep my sheet clean and ready, even as I am clean and ready. We will become part of each other. We will...

Before Advanced Training, I swear this creed. My sheet and I are representative of this program. We are the masters of our competitors. We are the saviors of my life.

So be it, until victory is mine and there is are no competitors, but adoring fans and adulation!