Training Win: Moving an Athlete From High-Bar Back Squat to Low-Bar Back Squat for Hip Pain

Training Win:

During back squats the other day, I had Jacob, (an experienced athlete with hip flexor pain and an anatomically shallow ROM in the squat)  move to a low-bar setup and perform the bracing we learned with Chris Ransom at the staff development session last week. He got WELL below parallel and said he felt no pain in his hip when doing it this way.

Seeing the movement:
  • I noticed that he has a very bent over torso in the squat (like low-bar) but had the bar placed high.
  • He also had very vertical shins (not common for a high-bar squatter).
  • Finally, I used NEPA* to get context on the vertical shins I noticed by asking him about where he feels tightness. Jacob explained calves are usually tight for him.
    • All of this culminated into a cluster of a very extended back to fight for an upright position that his posterior chain stiffness was preventing him from doing. So, why not go with the flow and just low-bar it?
Correcting the movement:
  • I showed him the low-bar set up for back squat, then took him through the bracing demo (to get that super-extended back into a neutral position)
  • I asked him to lighten the load (not by much) and only focus on a solid brace and go as deep as comfortable.
Best squats I’ve ever seen him do. Below parallel, and with less pain for Jacob. 
Jacob saw a lot of value from us that day with a short fix to a very routine thing for him.



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