My squat form is bad; am I doomed?
Squatting high? "Terrible" ankle mobility? It hurts all of a sudden? It was good, but now everything's gone wrong? Don't worry (yet); this is all part of the process.
Hi there! I’m finally taking the plunge into weight lifting and I’m stoked! My partner has had a rack in our garage for ages and it’s time I take advantage of it. And I’m stoked to have you as my guide. I do have a question for you though. I’m in the early early days (like… three work outs in on two weeks). I’m doing the 5x5 StrongLifts program so I’ve done squats for all three work outs. I’ve started out just using a 25lbs plate as my weight because I’m terrified of hurting my back, and I was thinking I would quickly move up in weight, but now i find my hips and glutes are SO TIGHT. Like it feels uncomfortable when I go into a squat with no weight at all, and it’s been three days since my last work out. I feel it deep in my butt cheek and along the outside of my thighs. Was 25lbs too much? Are there some stretches you recommend to keep the hips limber? Thanks so much for the help!!!!
--Stiff and struggling
One of the top immediate concerns I’m seeing from people trying LIFTOFF (and people trying strength training in general) is “oh no, I can’t remotely do a squat. This is embarrassing just on its face but also I have no idea how much to freak out about it.”
Let’s back all the way up. Have you ever seen a baby move around? Babies have joints like Play-Doh. They will drop it low and sit in a squat all day long, playing on the floor with their Cocos Melon and Roblox or ZooBots or whatever. That was you once. At one point, you COULD squat. Many people in parts of the world retain this ability, and sit that way instead of sitting in a chair.
But then pants happened, and embarrassment about your butt, and sitting for hours and hours in school and then after school at the computer talking to boys on AIM, and then sitting in college, and then sitting at your job. Before you know it, those squats your body once knew so well? It hasn’t done one in decades. Geological ages have passed. Madonna, or maybe generously Britney Spears, was still putting out albums regularly the last time your body did a proper squat.
My point being, the squatting force is within you, somewhere. You are not learning something new, really. You are relearning something you were born knowing, and forgot.
But that’s okay, because the magic of bodies is that they are a great deal more pliable and adaptable than we are made to believe. If you think about it, we are built to heal. I really do think a visiting alien race’s minds would be blown that they could cut a hole right into us and, with enough time, that hole would seal up. It is, to me, bonkers.