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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
<i><span style="font-size:xx-small;">Will be crossposted to my blog as soon as I figure out how to add pics in my blog posts! <img alt="smile.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/smile.gif"></span></i><br><br>
Squats are probably my favorite lower body exercise. There are so many things you can do with them to challenge your quadriceps, hamstrings, gluts, hips, core, lower back... Good stuff.<br><br>
BASIC SQUAT<br>
Stand with your feet hip distance apart, spine nice and aligned, head neutral, shoulders relaxed and down. On an inhale, bend your knees and keep your hips back as though there were a chair behind you. You should be able to see your toes throughout the movement if you glance down. If your knees are farther forward than your toes, obscuring your view of your toes, you are doing more harm than good! Keep those hips back. This girl has great form:<br><br><img alt="" src="http://i29.tinypic.com/smru53.jpg" style="border:0px solid;"><br><br>
As you can see, her hips are back, her knees are bent to 90 degrees, and her thighs are parallel to the floor. She is holding one dumbbell. If you can handle more weight, you can place a weighted bar across the upper part of your back (NOT on your spine), like this:<br><br><img alt="" src="http://i28.tinypic.com/24vi1qa.jpg" style="border:0px solid;"><br><br>
Here is an example of really bad form. And bad clothes. And bad hair, frankly. <img alt="smile.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/smile.gif"><br><br><img alt="" src="http://i25.tinypic.com/23wa7oh.jpg" style="border:0px solid;"><br><br>
See how his knees are in front of his toes? His knees should be back over his ankles or shoelaces, like the woman pictured above. She rocks. He does not.<br><br>
More later.
 

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I've been working on squats consistently since early January. I realized it was a good idea for me because while my core muscles had been getting stronger, it would help improve and stabilize the connection with the lower legs by adding squats. I figure this will be beneficial to my running economy.<br><br>
Plus if there's one thing I've definitely learned since taking my first steps to become a runner, it's that my legs were very very weak.<br><br>
I found one decent resource about the idea of strength training for the legs and how it may help improve running economy -- <a href="http://www.pponline.co.uk/encyc/0253.htm" target="_blank">http://www.pponline.co.uk/encyc/0253.htm</a>
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
SPLIT SQUATS<br>
Get into a lunge position with your right leg forward and your left leg behind you. Your left heel should be off the floor, and there should be plenty of space between your feet.<br><br>
Lower your body weight straight down, and then straighten back up. That's all there is to it. Just straight down and straight up. Your back knee should <i>almost</i> touch the floor. Do not lean forward into the squat. Keep your chest lifted, shoulders squared, and posture tall. Make sure you can see the toes of your front foot throughout the movement; if you can't, you need to shift your weight back. Add weight as you can. Do 10-12 with your right leg in front, then switch your legs and do 10-12 more.<br><br>
SPLIT SQUATS WITH A TWIST<br>
Do the split squat as described above, but add an upper body twist. Holding a weight or medicine ball in front of you in both hands (shoulders relaxed, weight no higher than shoulder level, arms straight with a slight bend in the elbows), squat down with your right leg in front. Hold yourself in that split squat position and twist your entire upper body to the right. The twist should originate from the bottom of the ribcage; your whole upper body should twist toward the side wall. Then come back to center, then up to the starting position. Repeat for a set of 10-12, then switch your legs. When your left leg is in front, your twist should go to the left.<br><br>
STAGGERED SPLIT SQUATS<br>
1. Same as the regular split squat, but place your forward leg on a raised platform -- a step, box, or BOSU.<br>
2. Even harder, place your BACK leg on a raised platform.<br>
With both of these alternatives, form becomes even more important. Do NOT lean forward. Remember, your knee should remain above your ankle when you are all the way down in the split squat position.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Yes, but they are very, very hard to do with good form!! The split squat with the back foot elevated is a great way to ease into one-legged squats. The higher you elevate that back leg, the harder it is.
 

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man she has nice form. see how her toes are raised. As in I can stick my fingers under there. That is important you want to make sure you are pushing up thru your heels.<br><br><br><br>
Are you rocking lunges and step up's here as well?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Go for it! <img alt="smile.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/smile.gif">
 

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Beginners?<br>
Try using a swiss ball between you and a wall. the ball will help you lower and raise. Have a friend hold your hands in front of you if you are scared of falling.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
PLIE<br>
Stand with your feet much wider than shoulder width apart, toes pointing out toward the side walls. Lower yourself down into a plie squat, thighs parallel to the floor. As always, your knees should be above your ankles. Make sure those feet are wide enough apart to make that happen! Inhale down, exhale up.<br><br>
PLIE WITH A SIDE BEND<br>
Hold a stability ball or light dumbbell over your head with your shoulders relaxed. The ball or weight should be slightly in front of your forehead so that you can see it clearly if you just glance up with your eyes without moving your head up. Plie down and do a side bend to the right. Think about bringing your right shoulder down toward your right thigh. Then bend back up to center, then straighten your legs. You can do either 10 on the right and then 10 on the left, or you can alternate. Or both. <img alt="smile.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/smile.gif"><br><br>
STAGGERED PLIE<br>
Get into that wide plie stance, but this time put your right leg up on a step or box -- about 6-10 inches high (depending on your level of ability and your height/leg length). Now do your plies. You'll find that you probably cannot go down as far here. That's OK. You'll feel it; trust me! Do 10 and then switch sides, putting the left leg up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
No! I'll go look! <img alt="smile.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/smile.gif">
 

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the thread surely needs some pictures.<br><br>
this is my first post in this forum too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Melis, that's too funny!<br><br>
Do you teach Balletone? Go get certified. You'll love it if you're already doing this stuff on your own. It's a deceptively good workout. Ballet-based, but not a full ballet class. I tell the students we're basically tricking them into doing hundreds of squats in a class b/c of all the plies we do. <img alt="smile.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/smile.gif">
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I did include pics! You didn't like them? <img alt="sad.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/sad.gif">
 

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if you are doing a lot of squats and running you probably will have more quad strength than hammy so I recommend doing the hammy exercises that I do.<br><br>
Lay on the floor with your heels on a chair or a bench. It should look like you are sitting in a chair except with your back flat on the floor.<br><br>
raise your butt off the floor about three-four inches by maintaining pressure on your heels and hold it for a two count then lower to the floor and quickly repeat. You should feel tension on the hammy's the whole time and not feel any tension in your abs or quads. Do as many as you can until close to exhaustion (25-35). You can eventually do them one leg at a time after you get strong enough.
 

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oops.....my filters are being buzz kills again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Similar to Oache's hamstring exercise...<br><br>
HAMSTRING ROLL WITH A STABILITY BALL<br>
Lay on your back with your heels on the top of a stability ball. On an exhale, use your hamstring, glut, lower back, and core muscles to lift yourself up into a bridge position. There should be no tension or weight in your neck. Hold yourself up in that bridge position and roll the ball in toward your butt, then out again.<br><br><img alt="" src="http://i27.tinypic.com/xopcvb.jpg" style="border:0px solid;"><br><br>
Try to maintain that nice strong bridge; don't let your hips lift and lower or sway side to side.<br><br>
If it's too easy, take your arms off the floor and cross them over your chest. Or lift one foot up off the ball and just use one leg to roll the ball in, then switch after you do 8-10. Killer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
<b>TJ</b>, I love split squats. Much more than lunges, even. With a lunge, you can use too much momentum. In a split squat, it's just you and gravity. <img alt="smile.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/smile.gif">
 
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