I am a big fan of all movement. Sit-ups, push-ups, back bends, deep squats, partial squats, deadlift with a rounded back, deadlifts with a little extra extension, pull-ups, stretching and running. I am a fan of Jefferson curls, Zercher Squats, and Romanian who cares who named it and where it came from squats. However, being locked in the sagittal plane? That's that shit I don't like.
Let me explain.
In order to truly grasp the concepts in this blog you need to understand one simple thing about humans. We are meant to rotate. Unlike a snake that swivels side to side to move, or a bird that flaps its wings up and down to get going, or gorillas when they go up on two feet and sway side to side as they walk, humans rotate to walk. HUMANS ROTATE. Rotation is in the transverse plane of motion. Take a look at the picture below and see how the transverse (Horizontal) plane represents the same motion that a hulu hoop does as it goes around our waist.
Humans swing one foot out in front of them, and that same side arm out behind them. The opposite hand goes forward with the opposite leg to keep us balanced. Essentially, we wind up like a wind up toy, and then we start springing along down the street happy go lucky.
Unfortunately, your squat technique ruins your ability to rotate. Your squat technique forces your pelvis to tip forward on both sides, your low back to extend, your ribs to flare up and out, and all opportunity for rotation pretty much ceases. Because you can't rotate, you have trouble descending in the squat (hips don't lie), so what do you do? You force your knees out to the side and eliminate all internal rotation to scrape together a few degrees of external rotation. This may clear some room for descending in the squat but it overlooks a major movement issue. The issue, you are not rotating effectively.
Your body was meant to use that internal rotation you ignore during squatting for walking, running, squatting, lunging. Like I said before, when your right leg swings out in front of you, your hips begin rotate over the left leg into internal rotation. Since you squat heavy, neglect unilateral training and leave the gym absolutely destroyed every workout, you have trained away your ability to rotate through the transverse plane into internal rotation. Now your back feels stiff, your hip flexors are "always tight," your ankles either feel loose and weak or tight and stiff (neither is better), and you're mad that your hips are shifting all over the place when you squat.
The more "symmetrical" your squat becomes, the less you are able to access the transverse plane for normal everyday movement. Now everything hurts. Sure, you can squat 1.5 times your body weight but when you bend down to tie your shoes it's like moving through mud. Now you are losing your ability to train the way you want to. You are losing interest in the same activity that gave you so much joy just a few months ago. Is it time to quit squatting?
I certainly don't think so. I think you need to unlock your transverse plane. I think you need to release yourself from being locked into the sagittal plane (remember, if your hips are tight, your low back is tight, and your ankles don't move, you're locked in the sagittal plane). How are you going to do so?
You are going to identify what limitations you had prior to squatting, or that developed over time from your training regiment, and you are going to reverse them. Then, you are going to build control over the movements (in the frontal and transverse planes) that have been neglected while you were putting the pad locks on your sagittal plane. Finally, you are going to take these concepts and implement them back into squatting and all the other exercise activities you love to do. You'll come back with better movement quality, stronger lifts, a higher strength ceiling and best of all, no pain. Because pain, that's that shit we don't like.
How do you identify all your limitations and get started on a program that is going to resolve them while eliminating your pain, building control over your neglected movement patterns, and get back to squatting? You are going to reach out to a Performance Physical Therapist. Get started with an evaluation and find out exactly what you need to be better by clicking here.