Category Archives: Strength Training

Do Sit-Ups Ruin Your Posture?

Every few weeks, someone will tag me in a Facebook thread where people are arguing about the negative effects of sit-ups or crunches on posture. Typically, someone will claim that people are already sitting all day long and then question why would we dare put them into flexed postures during their training. They’ll also claim that performing sit-ups or crunches leads to negative postural adaptations such as kyphosis and forward head posture.

Trust me, I understand the sentiments. On weekends, when I don’t train myself or any clients, I tend to sit for much of the day trying to catch up on reading and writing. I can certainly feel the effects of such sitting on my body. Do this day in and day out, and I’m certain that it will have a negative impact on posture and function.

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A Better Way to Cue “Knees Out” in a Squat

Today’s post is from Derrick Blanton, a regular contributor to my blog. Derrick is constantly pondering biomechanical topics and thinking up effective cues. Here he describes what he feels is a better way to achieve proper knee position in a squat – focusing on loading the lateral heels.

My two assistants and I experimented with this and found that it is indeed highly difficult if not impossible (Andrew was barely able to, but Joey and I could not) to achieve medial knee displacement (inward knee caving) at the bottom of a squat while loading up the lateral edge of the heel, as long as our feet weren’t pointed inward. I’m assuming that this applies to the vast majority of lifters. We were able to cave inwards while still loading the lateral heal half-way up in the squat, but not at the bottom. 

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Forward lean in the squat – is knee-dominant or hip-dominant better for moving more weight?

Today’s article is a guest-post by raw powerlifter Greg Nuckols (see his bio below). Greg wrote a great article on glute training for powerlifters several months ago, and today’s article is just as excellent. Greg reviews one of my favorite papers on squat mechanics. In fact, last week, my two assistants and I put together a wooden model of body segments to help further explain the concepts included in this article. I’ll post a video on this in the next month or so. In the meantime, enjoy Greg’s review. 

Forward lean in the squat – is knee-dominant or hip-dominant better for moving more weight?

By Greg Nuckols

This is a write-up for one of the classic studies in squatting mechanics – Kinetics of the Parallel Squat by McLaughlin, Lardner, and Dillman.  I’ve seen it referenced in almost every study I’ve ever read about the squat, and I finally managed to find it full-text.  And let me tell, you, for a nerd like me, it was page-turning excitement.

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The Keys to Stronger Squats

Five months ago, I wrote a blogpost titled The Keys to Stronger Deadlifts. Since it was very well received, I decided to do the same type of article for the squat.

The most difficult position in the squat occurs right after the lifter comes “out of the hole”, at least in terms of joint torque magnitudes. This is especially true for raw squats, since squatting gear (briefs, squat suits, and knee wraps) provides enormous passive elastic assistance at the bottom of the lift. Still, positioning and explosiveness out of the bottom position in the squat play a large role in determining where the lifters’ sticking point will be. It is thought that ideal foot positioning and trunk angle in relation to the lifters’ specific body proportions play a large role in making a successful squat. But what exactly are the critical factors in elite level squats?

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