Sep 13, 2010

Squat clinic deets, "10"

Well, this morning was my first shot at the squat clinic, and I think it went well!

It was a nice manageable group of 5 at the 0830 class, and several of them really seemed to enjoy working on the basics. Got some feedback, and will tweak a tiny bit in the 2 evening classes, but overall I like what I came up with. Should be interesting to see how everybody progresses through the week, and beyond.

At some point I will try to make a short video of what am doing in our clinic. I'll have to find a volunteer to do the "ass lowering" drill, though. :-D

Honestly, just watch this Dan John video. You will be glad you did. Stick around for about 30 minutes, or at least make it to 20. He does go off on a few little tangents, but they're little nuggets of good info, not rambling, so it's all good. I am pretty much copying all of his techniques and cues.

Here's the sequence that the athletes will repeat each day after their warmup:
  • Samson Stretch/Lunge -- 30 seconds total for each leg; open hips fully
  • Bottom of the squat stretch -- 30 seconds total; elbows pressing knees out; make sure everybody has feet wide enough, and angled enough; make first assessment on depth
  • The "Amazing Ass Dropping Drill" OR "Mr. Universe & Buddha Belly" -- this one is where the Dan John video comes in, very hard to explain written out*
  • Potato sack squats -- extend arms down, with fingers interlaced like you're holding a sack of potatoes; squat down and touch backs of fingers to the floor; provides a tactile cue when you've reached the bottom postion
  • Potato sack squat to OHS -- lay PVC on floor in front of athlete; perform P.S. squat, then grab PVC with wide grip and lock out overhead; stand up; viola, an overhead squat!
  • Wall squat -- you can't beat the classics; great for reinforcing sending the butt back, tall posture as you drop, weight in heels, and knees tracking out over toes
* So here's a written explanation of the Amazing Ass Dropping Drill, as I have now named it. :)
  1. Athlete squats in goblet squat position -- elbows pressing at knees
  2. Trainer stands behind athlete and provides support by bracing the outside of the athlete's butt with the inside of their calf/shin
  3. Providing support allows the athlete to drop lower than their normal "comfort zone"
  4.  Trainer cues athlete -- "Big chest" or "Mr. Universe" or "Break the finger"; these are all aimed at improving the lumbar curve and spreading the chest out and up and moving the torso into a more upright position
  5. Trainer cues athlete -- "Buddha belly"; athlete relaxes lower belly, or actually pushes lower belly outward; this will cause the butt to drop, so trainer must be ready to provide support with their legs
  6. Continue to give alternating cues -- "Mr. Universe" and "Buddha belly" until athlete is at the bottom position, or is becoming unstable
  7. Lift athlete up and out of bottom position -- they will not be able to stand up from here on their own, as the stress response to push upward has been basically "switched off" by the drill
 So now go watch the damn video! :-D

In addition to squat therapy, we're also doing pushup therapy this week. Now that it's my chance to run the show for a week, I've instituted a "no knees" policy for pushups. I'm so excited to see if the ladies (and gentlemen) at our gym take to this new progression, and if they do, how much improvement it will lead to. Squeee!

If you don't know what I'm talking about here, see "Get Off Your Knees" by Lisbeth Darsh.

The WOD today was very simple, and gave everybody a chance to reinforce what we talked about during the skill session. Despite it's simplicity, if you execute it at a high enough intensity, it will feel like hell!
10 rounds:
10 pushups
10 situps
10 squats

Results: 15:58
I finished last out of all the 830 peeps, which I thought was kinda hilarious! Though I did stop a bit here and there to check out form, and give some feedback. But still this was slow. My metcon/cardio has gone down the freaking toilet since I haven't really worked on it lately. I'm much more concerned with strength right now, and I think I probably always will be biased toward strength.

Which is where another Lis article comes into play -- "Lighten Up While You Still Can". That article is all about having a focus for each WOD -- either go heavy, or go fast. Commit to one and stick with it and don't fuck around. So true.

I think very soon it will be time for to unload the bar, stop trying to be the strongest at everything, and work at what I *really* suck at -- intensity.


  1. Wow! What a great video. My squats need a lot of work. Some day I'll go ass to ankles. Wonder how long it will take...

  2. I'll be off to watch the video shortly. I think having a good squat technique is one of the best things we can do for ourselves.

    Love the "no knees" policy! :-)