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Earning the right

Yesterday, I was working with a client (not an athlete), who had trained with another trainer for nine months prior to coming to me. We completed a movement screen and flexbility testing the previous week, and this was his first training session. He has some pretty bad problems with his neck – some arthritic changes – and a partially-torn rotator cuff. He has absolutely no hip strength. When I asked him to squat during the movement screen, it was freaky! His knees were buckling, his back was rounded, and he had no core strength. Nothing!
Me: "What did you do for the past nine months to train your hips?"

Client: "I squatted!"

Me (amazed and terrified at the same time): "Not with a bar on your back, right?"

Client: "Yes, with a bar on my back."

Me: "That must have been ugly."

Client: "Yeah. It was terrible. I think that is part of the reason my neck hurts really bad now, too."

What trainer would let this guy get under the bar and squat? In his first workout, he did squats with a stability ball between his back and the wall. He was able to do 3 repetitions with good form before his hip strength would not allow him to perform another. Despite that, for the past 9 months, he was squatting with a bar on his back! Amazing!

It is my rule that you have to "earn the right to back squat."

If you are a trainer, working with athletes or the general population, make sure you know who your clients are and what they are capable of doing. Have a method of teaching that builds them up to more advanced exercises. You can't run before you walk; and you can't walk before you crawl. Give the individual time to develop and learn. Don't rush things.

Be patient – let them earn the right to progress.

Happy 4th,

Patrick

Yikes...its a miracle a bad neck is all that went wrong :-S

What would be some things that would help a trainee build up to doing Squats? I have a lot of friends who cant even bodyweight squat past 1/4 ROM without problems occuring. I know a lot of it will be specific to the person and what exactly is going wrong, but are there any general things that you think everybody could benefit from? Or some incredibly frequent problems you encouter with new trainees and squatting?

Thanks P :)

-Gazhole

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