Training and nutrition advice
"The squat is a balancing act." This is the line, in a video from Alan Thrall of Untamed Strength, that really helped me improve my squats.
Some of you may be thinking, "well no duh!". Sure, it seems pretty obvious now. But, for some reason, I never really thought of squatting as a balance game, before I heard Alan say it. Sometimes, you just need to hear somebody say the obvious in a certain way to actually make it obvious to you!
After trying a 1 rep max squat, my left hip flexor was out of wack for about 3 - 4 weeks. During those weeks, I decided to relearn how to squat.
How many times have you heard to keep the weight over your heel, or drive through your heels when you squat? Personally, I can't remember. I know it's a lot.
Alan's advice? The weight needs to be pretty evenly spaced throughout your entire foot. This piece of advice was REALLY helpful for me.
I began squatting with my nose up to a pole. I learned how to squat with my nose about an inch away, at most, without hitting the pole. Focusing on how the weight felt in my feet as I descended, and ascended, was crucial in finding the stance I now use.
My feet use to point fairly straight ahead, with just a little turn out. Feet were maybe a little bit past shoulder width. Now, my stance is a little narrower, and feet are turned out to almost 45 degrees. I also have 10 lb plates under my heels. This helps me feel more stable as I squat. Someday, I do plan on getting some squat shoes so I no longer have to deal with balancing my heels on some plates.
Bracing your core is also discussed in the video I've been talking about. This was pretty profound too. I knew bracing was important, and how to do it, but I began placing a lot more emphasis on proper breathing after watching this video. Now, even during light warm-up sets, I practice breathing properly so I can be really good at bracing my core to keep myself in a much safer position throughout the entire squat.
Here's the video Alan made, one I highly recommend watching:
Questions or comments on this stuff? Leave them in the comment section!