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...)
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 :)