How to Squat When You’re a Big Boy

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Big guys usually have lousy shoulder mobility. Consider what they have to overcome during overhead pressing. They have all that upper body mass to get around before they can even put their hands in the proper place on the bar.

Invariably, some sort of compensation occurs, usually in the form of overarching in the lumbar region (to accommodate for immobility at the shoulder).

For barbell squatting, this compensation usually takes the form of an ultra-wide hand position. Heck, I’m even guilty of going a bit wider with the hands when I back squat because I find it comfortable.

I can only imagine what it’s like for guys tipping the scales at over 300 – especially if that’s coupled with a stockier frame with shorter extremities. It’s a big ask to hold a barbell on the back with the hands near the shoulders. Further, they often can’t screw their elbows downwards, resulting in poor squat posture and squat performance.

One rule is to remember that the health of the knees and elbows are prisoner to the health of the ball and socket joints that lie immediately above them (the hips and shoulders, respectively). If the elbows are ailing or their mobility is lacking, it’s imperative to address how the shoulders perform.

Yeah, I’m talking about shoulder mobility or the lack of it. That’s where shoulder dislocates are called for. If ignored, elbow tendonitis is on the horizon.

Big guys afflicted with this problem and the tight hips described earlier need to come up with squat alternatives until those two problems are addressed, like the ones below.





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