I’ll try to keep this short!
My girlfriend has been doing crossfit for about three months now. She is an athlete, but mostly a runner, so she has very very strong legs. As you all know, deep squats are some of the primary movements in Crossfit (which I dislike because i NEVER make my clients squat that low with their knees turned out). My girlfriend told me the instructors keep telling her to squat lower and that her chest is falling forward. I told her to squat safely and that if she couldn’t squat that low with proper form–dont do it!
I put her through a workout yesterday that involved body weight squats–knees/hips 90 degrees, knees and toes in line with each other. I was surprised to see even with no weight, he knees falling INWARD, LACK OF BALANCE, and CHEST FALLING FORWARD.
Now, in a squat assessment with a new, de-conditioned client, I would know the causes of these improper movements. BUT, as mentioned, my girlfriend has good balance, strong legs, and is an athlete. WHAT COULD BE THE CAUSE OF THIS???
TIGHT HIPS?? OVERACTIVE ADDUCTORS? WEAK LOW BACK??
ANYTHING WILL HELP! I just want to make sure she is doing these exercises correctly, and not becoming injured.
Great responses and information! It sounds like a more thorough postural assessment would need to take place to pinpoint all of her imbalances. Similar to what Marlan mentioned, I often find that athletes have more dramatic muscular imbalances than other clients since they train so hard in their particular sport which may call for repetitive movements. From what you describe, I find someone performing a squat in this manner typically pronates at the foot, lacks glute medius strength (or it isn’t firing at all), and has minimal ankle range of motion. Additionally, the Q angle plays a role at the knee in women. Since no one is textbook and there could be other imbalances at her pelvis I would definitely take the time to analyze and address her issues before she continues with force/repetition in poor form.
Have you ever thought about performing a break test on your girlfriend to determine specifically where the muscular weakness are.
NASM CES manuals states “the two step process to assess muscle strength is used to help the health and fitness professional evaulate the possible cause of muscle weakness in a client, which will direct corrective exercise strategies. Muscle weakness can be attibutable to several factors, but the most common factors in a health individual are atrophy or inhibition.”
NASM Essentials of Corrective Exercise Training – page 168.
A lot of girls I train have had this issue, especially runners! As has been said, this imbalance could be an ACL injury waiting to happen. The others have made great points about glute activation (medius & maximus), foam rolling & ankle mobility. One thing I’ll add that’s helped my clients is the smith squat. Most girls feel they’ll lose their balance doing a traditional squat if they’re accustomed to leading the motion with their knees. The smith machine forces them to remain upright (so no chest drop) & use the back of their legs & glutes to drive the weight back up. Just make sure your friend’s shins remain perpendicular to the floor throughout the exercise & start with little or no weight til the technique is perfect. Her feet should stay flat on the floor. Since the machine is supporting her, she can lean all her weight backward without fear of falling. If you don’t have a smith machine available, use a stability ball as Andrew said. While she’s squatting tell her to try to “pop the ball”. It’s a good way to retrain a kinetic chain that’s misfiring.
Being fit in one area does not necessarily translate to other areas. To me this is still a stab in the dark because we may all adjust her starting posture & follow thru motion differently because of personal ideals.
1st, u say notice these imbalances in ur girl w/no weight? Bruh get ur girl out that class or particular gym. Sounds like a horrible case of reinforcement of bad form!
U say the knees draw inward (could be tight adductors)? Need to c 2 honestly eval…
Lack of balance- even @ just body weight? (swaying, lateral rocking, unsettled feet? 2 many variables here from simple to complex)
Chest Falling Frwrd- this should be obvious 2 any1 familiar with the exercise. Do they not offer corrective guidance?
From the info posted she’s wasting her money & time associating with people who seem to not care for her well being or overall success. Should be a sign to self as a professional, you need to help your girl out or @ least get her better assistance.
There is no excuse for that. I wrote off topic cause Mr. Fears offered many valid starting points already. I don’t think all of her issue are muscle related, some I believe to be mental limitations which to me are easily fixed once the individual is aware & vigilant in self corrections.
Until she recognizes what she’s doing wrong she will continue to reinforce bad form. Thats not the kind of program you can just wing it through w/o some repercussions sooner or later.
I think she may be better served elsewhere if thats how they conduct business.
Good answers. In general, I’m not a fan of squats past 90 degrees of knee flexion because of the dramatic post-patellar pressure that’s generated during flexion past 90, especially under resistance overload.
I think the responses addressing the balance issues are reasonable considerations.