Wednesday, December 3, 2014
Spine stabilization in the squat
I've seen guys that apparently are in a position of teaching and authority talk about squatting and pulling and giving some really bad cues in regards to stabilization with them.
"Chest up! Arch!"
This is wrong.
The most protective thing you can do when you squat or deadlift is to stabilize the spine. You cannot do this without core stabilization. So if you think "chest up, arch your back!" is correct, then get in that position/posture, and push on your abdominal wall.
Is it rock fucking hard, or soft? It's soft.
Is that stabilization?
You create that stabilization through the core and spine by pushing down and out through the obliques and abdominals. I can't remember who I told, but the "cue" (if you can't feel how to do this) is almost like when you're constipated and have to push real hard to take a shit. That's not spot on, but if you can't "feel" what that stabilization is through breathing and muscular contraction, then this will at least get you started in the right direction.
Furthermore, when the load gets heavy enough in a squat, you're probably not going to be able to hold an exaggerated "chest out! arch!" position. What happens after that? Your torso will cave because there isn't sufficient stabilization to support it.
So now you've been teaching yourself and practicing a position that isn't applicable to how you need to move heavier loads. And anytime you're practicing a position of technique that isn't applicable to your heavier/higher intensities, something can and will probably go wrong. This is why a lot of people who have an exaggerated arch when squatting get caved over when the load gets heavy. They haven't learned how to properly support that load in a correct position.
Ignore the "arch your back! get your chest out!" stuff, and learn how to stabilize your core and spine properly. This means you generally end up with a neutral spine in both squatting and deadlifting.