Finding An Appropriate Squat Stance Part 1

 

Strength in Conditioning for Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Squat width (hips) and foot placement both affect squat depth, knee position, and the ability to keep an upright torso. While the default stance for a bodyweight squat places the hips under the shoulders and has the feet turned out to 15-30 degrees, it is important to find a stance that’s best for you.

Hip anatomy, hip mobility, and motor control during the squat affect your ability to keep your weight on your heels, keep the knee inline with the second toe, and progress your squat depth overtime.

Here are some anatomical, mobility, and stability factors to consider when selecting an appropriate squat stance…

#1: Anatomical Considerations

  • Hip socket depth and shape
  • Femural head length and shape
  • Height
  • Anthropometry (femur versus torso length)

The hip is a ball and socket joint.  The head of the femur (thigh bone) comes to a head and fits into a socket called the acetabulum.  The acetabulum is surrounded by a layer of cartilage called the labrum that can become impinged during squats.  While this condition can be genetic (femoral acetabular impingement) it is important to find an appropriate squat stance and suitable depth to prevent abnormal stress to both the head of the femur and hip socket, which can cause abnormal bone growth.

Stuart McGill points out that the depth of the hip socket depth has a strong genetic component.  Great Olympic lifters are often from Bulgaria and the Ukraine who have shallow hip sockets, whereas the “Scottish hip” is characterized by a deep hip socket that is better suited for rotation and less suited for producing power at the bottom of the squat.

The important point is that your hip anatomy will determine how deep you can squat comfortably and what types of exercises are best supported by your own anatomy.  The images below show two very different femoral heads and acetabulums, which require different squat stances.

Squat-Stance-2

Images from www.paulgrilley.com/bone-photo-gallery

 

Squat-Stance-1

Images from www.paulgrilley.com/bone-photo-gallery

 

“The depth of the anterior labrum of the hip joint acetabulum is a major determinant of the ability to squat deeply.”  – Dr. Stuart McGill

The following two assessments in this video can help you determine your optimal squat depth and what squat stance supports the greatest depth.

Quadruped Rock Back

“In order to find the optimal hip width (or amount of standing hip external rotation), have the athlete adopt a 4-point kneeling stance. From neutral, rock or drop the buttocks back to the heels. Mark the angle at which spine flexion first occurs. Then repeat with varying amounts of space between the knees. Look for the optimal knee width that allows the buttocks to get closest to the ankles without any spine motion. This is the hip angle that will produce the deepest, and ultimately the highest performance squat.” – Dr. Stuart McGill

Rotation During Hip Flexion

The second assessment in the video above is examining the degree of internal and external hip rotation available during hip flexion.  By looking at what degree of hip rotation best supports hip flexion, an athlete can find a squat stance that will maximize squat depth.

Check out tomorrows post for two more tips on how to find the strongest squat for your anatomy.

- Kevin Kula, “The Flexibility Coach” – Creator of FlexibilityRx™ – www.FlexibilityRx.com

Related Resources

The Movement Fix: Why People HAVE to Squat Differently 
Aaron Lipsey: How Deep Should I Squat? How To Test Squat Depth

 

CONDITIONING
1 Mile Run
50 Push Ups + 50 Air Squats + 10 Burpees
Walk Small Lap
800 Meter Run + 25 Push Ups + 25 Air Squats + 10 Burpees
Walk Small Lap
400 Meter Run + 15 Push Ups + 15 Air Squats + 10 Burpees
Walk Big Lap
LIFE: 15 Minutes: 300 Meter Run or Row + 10 Push Up + 10 Air Squat + 5 Burpees + Walk Small Lap
.
STRETCH

 

Are You Seeing Red? Take the L2 Fitness Test

 

Strength In Conditioning for Tuesday, April 21, 2015

You surprise your self in the gym with new skills week after week. Sometimes you don’t even believe the numbers you record in your PR journal.  Your mile row and run times you never thought were possible.

Bottom line, you getting pretty darn fit. Fitter than than you even thought you could be.

You’ve put this new found strength and stamina to the test and earned your level one band. Looking back on this test now, you know that the new you would blow that test out of the park.

If any of this rings true, it’s a pretty good sign that you are ready to take the Level II test.

If you think you’re ready, your next chance at the Red Band is this Thursday night at 7pm.

Come out to test your skill and strength, judge, or cheer on your fellow SICFITTERS!

SICFITbands

WARMUP
Barbell Work
.
CONDITIONING A
4 Rounds
Front Squat | 10-12 | 8-10 | 5-8 | 3-5 | 1-2
20 Second Rest
5 Pull Ups | FITNESS & SPORT: Max Effort
5 Burpees
20 Second Rest
20 Second Row | 80% | 90% | 100%
2-3 Minute Walking Rest
.
CONDITIONING B
3 Rounds
8 Single Arm Kettle Bell Swing Each Side
6 Box Step Ups Each Side
30 Mountain Climbers
.
CONDITIONING C
30 – 20 – 10
Sit Ups + Double Under
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Summer Camp for Kids!

The heat is rising and the kiddos are counting down the days until Summer! How do you plan to keep them active over the long hot break? Bring them to SICFIT’s Summer Camp!

SICFIT Scottsdale Kids empowers children and young adults to develop body control, teach basic nutrition concepts and form a foundation for healthy habits both physically and mentally. Camps include fun workouts, learning exercise skills, nutrition education, healthy cooking, active games, water fun sports, goal setting and other health and fitness activities.

We have TWO sessions for kids, June 22th-26th, and July 13th-17th.The cost  is $189.00, Mondaythrough Friday 9 am to 12 pm. Ages 5-12 and space is LIMITED! Don’t wait, register online by clicking here or call us at 480-922-3253!

Got Teens? We can Help!
Have a Teen? Don’t worry, we have them covered too! The Bigger, Faster, Stronger Athletic Camp is BACK! July 6th-10th, help your tweens and teens take a dive into training during the summer to help get prepared for upcoming sports. Students learn the basic physical skills including strength and balance. They will also take a more in-depth exploration of the movements and programming consistent in Strength and Conditioning. Register your Teen or Tween today (ages 12-17) by clicking here or by calling (480) 922-3253

 

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Snatch-spiration!

 

Strength in Conditioning for Monday, April 20, 2015

This week we’re kicking off the programming with the most complex and dynamic movement we train… the snatch!

After drilling body position, bar path, and proper mechanics during the snatch progression, use the following EMOM to strengthen those motor patterns. With each rep, our body engrains the technique within our muscle memory and over time, this most complex lift becomes easier and easier.

Don’t let form go out the window during the snatch and jump rope metcon, however. Every time you practice bad form, you are one rep further away from mastering this OLY lift.

For a some snatch-spiration to get you pumped for todays workout, check out this video of our fellow SICFITTER, nailing a 190 pound snatch!

OLYMPIC WEIGHTLIFTING 
Snatch Progression
.
CONDITIONING A
12 Minute EMOM
Odd Minute: 3 Tough Power Snatches
Even Minute: 7 Burpee Box Ups
.
CONDITIONING B
7 Rounds
7 Power Snatch
21 Double Unders
LIFE: #45/35 + 30 Single Unders
FITNESS: #75/55
SPORT: #95/65
.

 

Love, Nutrition and Marriage a perfect FIT for North Scottsdale.

 

A match made in….Nutrition. Not your likely love at first site meeting place for two young college students but it was perfect place for one of our associates at SICFIT Scottsdale to find his love. David Sharp and his lovely wife Erica  met on campus at Cal state San Luis Obispo or SLO as the locals like to call it.

A little information and “WHY” we are so lucky to have David on full time staff and a key role player in our organization. Well let’s just say these two young, FIT coaches are living the life they had planned back in college and we only hope they will continue to follow their dreams. I am very excited to have David on our team as one of our managers and only hope the future holds everything they both want in life. Cheers to you both and may your family, friendships and finances fulfill your hearts, hands and homes with love and prosperity.

Luke, Najla, Kanon and Camille Kayyem

 

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David Sharp

I grew up in Lompoc, a small town near an Air Force base about 1 hour between SLO and Santa Barbara. I played all sorts of sports growing up from soccer to water polo to basketball and baseball. My parents have about 20 acres of land so he was always running around taking journeys with the dogs, dirt biking and causing mischief.

When I got to Cal Poly, he already had his associates degree and was planning on becoming a dentist. That changed with all of the calculus I had to take and decided to switch over to nutrition, where I met Erika.

I have held just about every job that you can imagine over the last 10 years (sales, marketing, EMT, firefighting academy, administration and coaching — my true passion. I wasn’t getting the coaching exposure and direction that I wanted so I decided to expend my knowledge and recieved a certification with crossfit and joined a local gym. I found SICFIT and transitioned over to a more focused strength and conditioning program with a detailed system and amazing business leadership in the community. I have learned so much about fitness, business and life in general.

I still plays baseball on the weekends, where Erika attends nearly every game (unless its late or really cold) and brings her snack bag and fluids — in true dietitian form. My goal of running a SICFIT gym and eventually owning multiple locations is slowly coming true. I am now in charge of a lot of responsibility and have become an intricate part of the business development side of SICFIT. I have so much still to learn in the FITness industry along with what I have already learned in coaching, programming and maintaining the SICFIT culture.

 

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“I love what I am doing in my career and cannot wait for the future.”

Erika Sharp (Wincheski)

I was born in Silver Spring, Maryland. All of my extended family is from the east coast, my direct family (brother, Kevin (17); sister, Morgan (23); mother, Joanne and father, Ken) all live in Half Moon Bay, California. Though I was born in Maryland, I grew up in a small town about 30 min south of San Francisco.

I was a gymnast for more years than I can even imagine, from age 2-17 (on and off due to injuries) and coached gymnastics (preschool – level 4) for 8 years. My family is very active in sports, hunting, outdoors, and eating (that’s where the Italian in me comes out).

I always knew that I would be in the health and wellness field since I was in high school. I pursued that in college at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo where I majored in Nutrition. This is where David and I met, as he was also a nutrition major — one of the few males might I add. My passion and interest was in sports, so I tried to incorporate that into all of my school projects.

At the beginning of my junior year (I was able to graduate in 4 years, so this reference works) I noticed that this cute guy was in all of my classes (I was taking most of my senior level classes because I am a bit of an overachiever). He would always show up on his street bike, holding his enormous helmet and acting really cool. So naturally, I walked up to him and struck a conversation that began with… “so, you are in all of my classes…why is that?” he proceed to answer with “because I am a nutrition major”….well DUH! and then class began and we didn’t talk much.

About a week later, we were at the downtown SLO farmer’s market on a thursday night — this is the place to be on a thursday night. They shut down multiple streets, have all sorts of food, drinks and live entertainment. I was downtown with my roommate at the time when I saw the guy that was in all of my classes. He was with his friend who was having a pretty good time at that particular moment. He started to approach me and my friend when David noticed that I was the girl who approached him last week. We started talking and then he hit me with “hey, it’s my birthday next week and I am going to have a party, so let me get your number” — not a bad pick up line thats for sure. So of course I gave him my number and we hit it off.

Six and a half year’s later, here we are! Married, 2 dogs (our children) and a pretty sweet 3-story condo — not smart for your electric bill though.

We have lived through quite a bit of a long distance relationship while I finished up everything that I needed to for my career. I am a registered dietitian (RD) and the Director of Nutrition at EXOS (formerly, Athletes’ Performance) where I manage 9 facilities across the country and work with high school, college and professional athletes of all sports — my favorite time of the year is baseball offseason! I interned with them in 2011 after I graduated college so that I could get some experience in sports nutrition. It was amazing and I loved every minute of it. After that, I moved to the DC area for 11 months to finish up all of my hours for my credential. David and I would visit every 3 months or so and he got to meet my giant Italian family.

Mid-way through my time in Maryland, I was offered my dream job in AZ working with EXOS as a facility dietitian so after finishing up on the east coast, I journeyed back across the country to AZ where David was meeting me. Since then, we have settled in, planned a wedding, attended numerous spring training games and rescued another puppy.

Even though I work at a gym and in workout clothes all day, I did not work out for over 8 years — lots of old injuries, plus working out in a gym was foreign for me who mainly just lifted myself and flipped around. Thankfully, I eat well, maintain good portion control and have some impressive muscle memory. David has always been the really active one in our house with all of his lifting, coaching, and weekly adult league baseball. In January I started working out to a program that David developed for me. I called it my “get jacked for the wedding” program, and sure enough I put on a decent amount of muscle and lost some body fat. I think I am now hooked on lifting heavy objects. Thank you for welcoming us to Scottsdale and making us both feel like family.

 

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SICFIT Spring Leaning Nutrition Challenge Finals!

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Eight weeks ago athlete across the Phoenix greater land area entered into the Spring Leaning challenge at SICFIT. Over 60 competitors across multiple gyms including Scottsdale, Chandler, Scottsdale Old Town competed on daily basis. The challenge kicked off with a 6 minute amrap (as many repetitions as possible) and ended with the same workout. Today we saw athletes at each gym location fight to beat their original score. It was awesome to see some of the huge improvements from beginning to end.
Over the course of the eight weeks every athlete would log a daily score based on nutrition, physical activity, and public involvement (ie: did you cheer your friends on Facebook or post a delicious meal?).
Included in the challenge was a starting and final weight and body measurements.
The Grand overall winner will be announced after the weekend. Here are the category winners:
Most Weight Lost
Men – Ted Holmgren
Women – Wendy Allen
 
Most Inches Lost
Men – Chris Tousley
Women – Vanesa Romero
Top Workout Improvement
Men – Rusty Perry
Women – Marlyn Shults
Most Daily Points
Men – Ryan Clancey
Women – Wendy Allen
Way to go everyone! Post a comment and tell us how your life improved with this challenge.
SL SL2

Ready for Rope Climbs?

 

Strength in Conditioning for Saturday, April 18, 2015

To get you into the rope climbing mood, check out this video of 2013 SICFIT Athlete, Tony Swann, performing WOW 19 – max legless climbs in three minutes!

 

WARMUP
10 Rounds
30 Second Row at 50%
30 Second Row at 75%
>
SKILL
Rope Climbs and Rope Squats
.
CONDITIONING A
5 Rounds
10 Ball Slams
Run Small Lap
Walk Small Lap
,
CONDITIONING B
300 Meter Run + 50 Med Ball Sit Ups
300 Meter Run + 50 Hand Release Push Ups
300 Meter Run + 50 Lunges Each Leg
LIFE: 300 Meter Walk/Run or Row + 10 Reps Each Movement
.
STRETCH
.

Unlock Your Inner Ninja w/ the SICFIT Gymnastics Squad

 

Strength in Conditioning for Friday, April 17, 2015

You have the power to defy gravity. Deep within you, there is a ninja waiting to bust out one arm handstands, handstand walks, bar muscle ups, and more! The power is yours. All you must do is learn how to access it.

That’s where we come in!

Come learn the techniques, drills, and strengthening exercises to unlock your gravity defying ninja powers in tonight’s Gymnastics Clinic as SICFIT Scottsdale!

Join our Gymnastics squad and receive 2 hours of in depth coaching and instruction on movements like the hand stand, muscle up, and kipping pull up. The cost of this seminar is $25 and will be from 6:30pm-8:30 pm. All levels, ages, and both members and nonmembers are welcome!

Gymnastics Clinic

HOW STRONG ARE YOU?
15 Minutes to Find 3 Rep Map Back Squat
15 Minutes to Find 3 Rep Map Strict Press
15 Minutes to Find 3 Rep Map Deadlift
.
CONDITIONING
10 Minute EMOM
1: 1 Burpee
2: 2 Burpees
3: 3 Burpees
….. To 10

 

Fixing Low-Back Pain by Restoring Hip Function: Part 3

 

Strength in Conditioning for Thursday, April 16, 2015

When hip movement is dysfunctional the low back moves when it should be stable (going into excessive flexion or extension).  Part one of this series looked at improving hip mobility by assessing hip motion and applying traction to decompress the joint-capsule.  Part two examined ways of improving hip extension and avoiding lumbar hyperextension.  This third blog examines improving hip flexion and minimizing lumbar flexion.

 3 Steps to Restoring Hip Function

#1: Improve Hip Mobility

#2: Restore Hip Extension

#3: Restore Hip Flexion

#3: Poor Hip Flexion (Substituting Lumbar Flexion for Hip Flexion)

When hip flexion range of motion is limited the low back compensates by going into flexion.  The butt-wink (where the low back rounds at the bottom of the squat) is often caused by poor hip flexion.  While this can be a mobility issue – the focus here is learning how to separate hip movement from low-back movement.  In other words, can you stabilize the low back as the hips move into flexion?

A well-rounded fitness program includes weighted carries, upper body pushing and pulling exercises (pushups, rows), and lower body pushing and pulling exercises (squats, deadlifts).

hip-hinge-dowel

The movement pattern of the deadlift is a loaded hip hinge.  Being able to flex the hips and maintain a neutral low back position is essential for athletic performance and avoiding low back pain.

A: Training Hip Flexion

It is important to avoid full range spinal flexion and spinal flexion under load. The good morning and single leg hip hinge (shown in image above) train hip flexion with the low back in a neutral or slightly arched position.  This is essential for learning to differentiate hip from low back movement.

B: Hip Flexor Strength

Weak hip flexor strength can cause patterns of lumbar flexion as a substitute for hip flexion.  This blog by Mike Reinold discusses the importance of hip flexor strength.  Strong hip flexors are needed for pulling yourself into the bottom of the squat.  It is also important to include hip flexion exercises past ninety degrees to strengthen the deep hip flexor (psoas).  While the hip flexors are often thought of as being tight – they can be both tight and weak – destabilizing the hips and low back.

- Kevin Kula, “The Flexibility Coach” – Creator of FlexibilityRx™ – www.FlexibilityRx.com

Related Resources

Mike Reinold: Exercises to Enhance Hip Flexion 
Mike Boyle: Understanding & Training Hip Flexion

hip-flexors-psoas-quads

WARMUP
1000 Meter Parter Row | Alternating 100 Meter Sprints
.
SKILL
Clean and Jerk/Ground to Overhead
.
CONDITIONING A
25 Minutes | AFAP
1 Heavy Clean and Jerk
5 Pull Ups
10  Push Ups
15 Air Squats
30 Second Rest
.
FINISHER
5 Minute Plank
*Penalty: 3 Burpees for Every Break
.

 

Building Strong Bodies and Minds in our Kids

 

Strength in Conditioning for Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Why is it that we teach our children how to use their minds to function in society, but not their bodies? Is learning how to safely pick up a pile of books from the floor just as important as what is in those books?

At SICFIT Scottsdale, we believe the answer is a resounding, “Yes!” In fact, we believe that a strong mind depends on a strong body.

“If the body is feeble, the mind will not be strong.” ­– Thomas Jefferson

“To keep the body in good health is a duty. Otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.” – Buddha

Let SICFIT Scottsdale pick up where the schools left off and let us enlighten your kids and teens to just how strong they can be! Enroll today in the Lil’ Beasts Kids Camp or our Bigger, Faster, Stronger Athletic Teen Camp.

Lil’ Beasts Summer Camp Session 1 | June 22-26

Teens Sports Performance Camp |July 6-10

WARM UP
Dynamic Movement
Movement Prep
.
STRENGTH IN CONDITIONING 
20 Power Cleans | SPORT: Bodyweight/ 75% Bodyweight
20 Deadlift | LIFE: Kettlebell Deadlifts |  FITNESS: 135/95 | SPORT: Bodyweight/ 75% Bodyweight
20 Pull Ups | LIFE: Ring Row | FITNESS/SPORT: Jumping or Kipping
300 Meter Run or Row
30 Burpees
300 Meter Run or Row
20 Burpees
300 Meter Run or Row
10 Burpees
300 Meter Run or Row
.
STRETCH
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