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Mike G. Learns to Squat by Michael Giardina - CrossFit Journal

Mike G. Learns to Squat

By Michael Giardina

In Basics, Coaching, Exercises, Videos

January 17, 2011

Video Article

“Who knows that they’re not the prettiest mover on the face of the Earth?” Pat Sherwood asks. Amongst the trainers ready to refine their movement is Michael Giardina of CrossFit Atlanta, who’s ready to attack a weakness: the air squat.

The coaches improve Giardina’s movement using two different but complementary approaches.

Nicole Christensen of CrossFit Roots is the first up to bat. She identifies a loss of lumber curve and a bounce or “booty pop” out of the bottom. She improves his lumbar control with a cue to “stay tight” at the bottom of the squat and “squeeze up” instead of bounce.

Justin Bergh of CrossFit Southside provides another approach to fix the loss of lumbar curve. His method is to attack Giardina’s inflexibility by having him actively squeeze his hip flexors while squatting.

“The goal’s not to get down; the goal is to get up effectively,” Bergh says.

8min 03sec

Additional reading: Virtuosity by Greg Glassman, published Aug. 1, 2005.

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23 Comments on “Mike G. Learns to Squat”


John Weiss wrote …

gator claws, good stuff


wrote …

Good Stuff. Love the stache. You should of had it this past weekend.


wrote …

Some of you guys should be magicians! That's some good information about the loss of the lumbar curve and how to fix it! Nice! Thank you guys for this video. Mike G, I am in your same boat when it comes to flexibility, hopefully we will get better. :)



wrote …

This video really has me rethinking everything I thought I already knew about sunglasses.


wrote …

Great video, taught me alot. Always learning.


wrote …

thats was awesome!
thanks to all that was in the vid.
learning is one of the exciting parts of crossfit!


wrote …

You are correct Benjamin...that article is very informative, and it gives a few more tools to correct the movement.


wrote …

That is an excellent way teach the tightness you want from the lumbar area when doing the squat. It does seem weird to tell clients to stay tight and they can't figure out what you mean. This will help a lot. Thanks for the video. Gator Claw rocks


wrote …

Great stuff. This video, by itself, was worth the yearly subscription fee. Of course, mine came free with the Level 1 Cert, but, anyway...


wrote …

Benjamin, thank you, that was the same article I was going to link to...

I think an important point that is often missed is at the end of the Catalyst article: you have to make sure to release the hip flexors when rising from a squat, and only using the erectors to stabilize the spine, otherwise you risk pulling/straining a hip flexor as you come up out of the bottom with load. This injury has actually happened to over 5 athletes I know, including myself due to improper hip flexor engagement when squatting heavy.


wrote …

The gator bait guy is my coach!!! He's a real life JETI MASTER:)


wrote …

That's a Jedi. Don't mess with the force. Just havin fun. Excellent video. Anything that helps keep weight centered and focused over the heels, especially when trying to set new PR's with max weight. Really sinks into thick skulls like mine when there are multiple ways of explaining the same thing; particularly when you can show how it is supposed to feel compared to how it is supposed to look since you can't look at yourself without your own video.


Rob McBee wrote …

Inspiring! Coach Sherwood must have taught this a million times over the past few years and you can still see his enthusiasm for teaching it. The same can be said for Greg A. He's 'been there and done that' for over a decade but seems to still possess 'the beginner mind'. What a great example. Thanks folks...


wrote …

Can't wait to try the gator claws out myself. I definitely loose tightness in the bottom of my squat and rebound up. Great job guys!


wrote …

Tried this today. I've been squatting for a few years now (I'm 63) in the hopes of being able to get up out of a chair easily. After the hip flexor cue, I did it for the first time today. So easy. I am a happy camper, thanks.


Dustin Kreidler wrote …

Absolute brilliance. I'm loving these in-depth discussions of how to teach/cue the basics. Between this and the 'teaching the kip to a large group' videos, it's been really great to see the multiple techniques and approaches you can take. I primarily work with distance runners who wouldn't know their hip flexor from a hole in the ground, and I just realized I've fallen prone to the "fight for it!" mistake of not giving them something tangible to feel and cue off of. Absolutely brilliant!


wrote …

This could not have been scripted better. The interaction was everything. Each comment was a gem. Keep it coming. Thank you.


wrote …


Awesome tips I'll put to use.


wrote …

I am in awe that this video was not scripted..."Immensely helpful cue, immensely helpful cue from another angle, oh, and a concise anatomical explanation of why those cues work." It's amazing the spontaneous genius that's created when intelligent, passionate people get together. Great video!


wrote …

Sweet Rx! Thanks


wrote …

Great vid, the first one I watched since joining today and it's really easy to understand information. Seems like a real cool group of people too.


wrote …

It's so great to see the community working so well and getting different prespectives on a common fault that comes up time and time again. I'll definately be using some of those cues in the future. Cheers!


wrote …

Contracting the hip flexors indeed causes anterior tilting of the hip and arching of the lower back, but it also inhibits the hamstrings, something you don't want when squatting. This happens because of "reciprocal inhibition": contraction of a muscle leads to relaxation of its antagonist.
So I still prefer strengthening the erectors of the lower back with training to voluntary contract them along with improving hip joint flexibility.

I will be happy to hear what do you think about it.

Dr. Rami Greifat

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