How can we possibly teach proper form at EPLifeFit? That question has come up enough times that I thought it was finally time to show you. With the help of an anonymous member, I am going to walk you through the process of learning proper squats.
To begin, our members film themselves doing a few reps of the movement for critique. We provide detailed instructions of the angles from which we need to see each specific movement. They may ask a friend to film them, or simply set their phone to record, walk into the shot, and perform their reps. We aren’t looking for amazing cinematography. We just need a clear view. Once they have their video, they upload it to Youtube and set the privacy setting to “Unlisted”. This means nobody can see it without the link. We offer detailed instructions for the entire upload process, as well. Then they post the link in our private “Critique My Movements” forum. Each thread in this forum is visible only by the moderators and the person who posted it, so we aren’t asking anyone to share their videos with the world.
The following is an example of how the process unfolds from there. This member had some frustration because she had worked with a trainer in the past and was convinced that she had good squat form. I took the screen capture below at the bottom of her squat in her first video.
The red line indicates her thigh angle at the bottom of each rep, and the yellow line is the approximate angle we need to see for full depth. The two red arrows point to her hip crease and the top of her knee. For full depth, we need the hip crease to end up below the top of the knee. I gave her a link to another EPLifeFit instructional video that contained box squat drills designed to help her achieve full depth and I asked her to send another video after a little practice.
Once we got her closer to full depth using a box, another deviation showed itself. Her thigh angle and foot angle did not line up and this was creating torque at her knee. This is definitely not a safe situation for the knee, especially under heavy loads, so I went back over the subtle details of the box drill video with her again, emphasizing the importance of knee and foot angle. After some practice, she submitted another video and I grabbed the two screen captures below.
She is now reaching full depth without a box, but her thigh and foot angles are still off and the knee is still under torque. This is a tough concept for most people to get their heads around, and we see this deviation to some degree in nearly every beginner (and a lot of seasoned pros, too, if their coaches weren’t meticulous), but it absolutely cannot be ignored if you want healthy knees. At this point I knew she needed some better visuals of proper form, so I grabbed a couple of screen shots from our instructional videos.
I used this screen capture as an example of proper foot position in the bottom of a box drill so she could see that her foot angle was far too wide in the screen capture above.
Then, to really drive the knee/foot angle point home, I used the screen capture below from our “Squat Deviations” video to show her a different angle of the problem we were seeing in her squats. (This picture is an example of improper form.)
Once she completely understood what she needed to do, she only needed some practice. Before long, she sent a video containing the squats below and we got excited together. With nothing left but removing the training wheels (box), perfect squats were dead ahead.
There is sometimes some frustration along the way because most people try to convince themselves that their bodies don’t move like this, but we know they can do it and we don’t take no for an answer. Many people also tend to get a little upset if they realize that they performed thousands of bad reps under the tutelage of inexperienced coaches. Eventually, everyone settles into great movements with our service, you just have to let us help you. We hope to see you over at EPLifeFit!
Go forth and be awesome.