I made a quick facebook post on what I would do if someone was experiencing some knee discomfort/pain during a squat. It ended up getting some great comments and I had multiple people reach out saying they wanted more of those post so here’s another one.
What do I do if a client keeps going up on their toes while they’re squatting?
I might use a few cues, sometimes the client just needs a reminder that squats are not on the toes. If I can’t correct the problem with 1-2 cues or if it’s a constant problem, instead of annoying the client with “Don’t lose your heels” every other rep, I’ll have them do an activity that will hopefully get them off their toes. Heels coming off the ground can mean many things, it can be a lack of dorsi flexion, a rib cage that’s forward and can’t retract, lats pulling back not allowing their weight to shift back, a pelvis that’s rotated or oriented forward that struggles posterior tilting…the list can go on and on.
I’ll share a few exercises that I might add in between their squat or during the warm-up. The goal with these activities are to set the client up to for success for whatever they’re doing. In this case, it’s squatting. I like to be super detailed when it comes to the warm-up but when it comes to the main lifts and the rest of the training session, I want there to be minimal cuing. If I pick the right exercise and give my client access to movements that are required to squat correctly, they should be able to do without running into a lot of issues.
Let’s start with my favorite one!
- Reaching Squat. A Modified Full Functional Squat by PRI.
I got obsessed with this exercise almost three/four years ago. I was teaching about 18 group classes a week with 100% control of the programming and when I wanted to try something new I would impose my will on all my amazing openminded clients and I could quickly see what worked and what didn’t. The reaching squat, IT FUCKING WORKED!
It got people off their toes
It got people off their back
It got people abs
It got people’s hamstrings
It got people quads, but not pulling on the knee type of quads
It got new people on their way to squatting with load WAY quicker.
It did so much! And I wasn’t even coaching it like I am now 😉
If you just want to try and learn nothing about it, here’s my video on it.
I’ll usually start people with their feet on a ramp to buy them a little dorsi flexion that they might not have. The ramp also allows them to squat keeping their pelvis underneath them instead of having to sit back.
If you want to take a “deep dive” I highly suggest checking out Zac Cupple’s post about it. It’s AMAZING. If you’re a coach or PT you need to start following Zac. The free content he produces is pure gold.
Link to his post –> https://zaccupples.com/2017/05/31/movement-deep-dive-the-squatting-bar-reach/
- Hanging Squat
This one is great for those that might not take cues very well and are not aware of where their body is in space. You ask them to tuck, they arch their back, you ask them to do the opposite and they arch their back even more. This exercise takes very little cueing. It gets lats and pecs to shut off. I’ll do this one if reaching forward seems like it pulls them more into extension instead of getting them OUT of extension.
New person I’ll coach weight on the heels. Once we’ve got heels then I’ll start cueing weight on the whole foot or mid-foot.
- Heels Elevated Squat
Sometimes I’ll put them on a ramp for a while and have them squat that way until they’re ready to squat on the ground. I would obviously wouldn’t go super heavy on this but you can do some awesome goblet and KB front squats on those ramps. This allows someone to squat in their program while they work on the reasons they can’t squat correctly on the ground.
- Modified All Four Belly Lift- A Postural Restoration Institute Technique
A solid looking squat needs a thorax that can retract (shift back). Quadruped is a great position to achieve thorax retraction and expansion on the posterior side of the rib cage. If you want 360 expansion when you take a breath in during a heavy squat, you’ve got to have access to the posterior side of the rib cage!
- Glute Bridge Hold or Bench Hamstring Curl
I’m not a huge fan of glute bridges. If I have people do them, they’re with a hold and a reach. They could be put in someone’s program is you’re dealing with someone who is super super super unstable and weak. These people need a constant reminder what it feels like to tuck, exhale, and have their feet glued to the ground.
This was supposed to be a small facebook post. Check out Zac’s post and check out Cody article on squatting mistakes coaches are making –> https://dsstrength.com/the-two-biggest-mistakes-coaches-and-athletes-make-with-squatting/