Gym Envy, and Squats on Instagram

Two weeks post op and I find myself prowling social media in a constant state of jealousy; I can't wait to get back into the gym and lift some heavy things. As one of my clients sometimes complains when she hasn't seen me in a minute: I feel like a tub of goo.

I'm sure most individuals with a workout routine might have similar feelings, but I swear I can feel the cold weight of a barbell in my hand when I watch these people.

Before long the frustration kicks in. No doubt, I am conscientiously trying to grow my social media following and influence. I follow a lot of folks who have experienced the social media explosion with followers in the thousands. I totally understand this when it comes to a genuinely skilled trainer and someone as lovely as Massy Arias. But then there are social media personalities who post their workouts and their form is so bad I hurt for them. And they too have thousands of followers. Followers who probably look to these social media paragons for advice, guidance and well: monkey see, monkey do. I don't know what frustrates me more. That bad form is being spread like wildfire to people who need real help or that I can't help these people by the sheer smallness of my presence.

I am not here to say I am perfect. By all means, I am, and hopefully will continue to be, someone who is always learning, questioning, and improving. There is more than one way to skin a cat. Different goals justify different methods. But there are some rules about biomechanics that cannot be ignored.

The biggest, most common offense I see on the Internet is improper alignment through the knees during a squat. Squats get a bad reputation for being hard on your knees. There are arguments for and against front squats, high and low back squats to target this or that muscle or avoid injury. But the truth about every squat is that your heel must be underneath your femur(thigh bone) when you're in the drop. In other words, your femur and your foot must track the same line. To do this, the angle of your feet must match the angle of the femur from the hips. I have actually heard other coaches say that feet should remain straight ahead no matter how wide the stance. Makes me cringe. Why?

The knee is a hinge. It only bends in one plane. If the angle foot does not match the angle of the femur, the joint becomes twisted as it bends, disrupting functional alignment.

Don't believe me? Go kneel on the ground, lining your heels up with your bum. Feels ok right? Now, take your feet and push them out to the side, allowing your bum to fall closer to the floor. Feel that strain inside your knee? You're now messing with your knee’s alignment. Now imagine several reps of that, and under tension. And no, just because you don’t feel anything does NOT mean you’re not causing damage.

Squats can be one of the best exercises for overall health. Do them correctly and you'll find everything else gets easier. Do them incorrectly and you'll be inviting chronic pain and degeneration of the joints. If you're having pain and you've stopped squatting because of it, let's get together. A squat workshop, on me. I've taught many how to squat pain free. You should be the next.

In the meantime, here's a list of my favorite instagram and YouTube accounts for your stalking pleasure:

Instructional - Youtube: these channel focus mostly on form and usually, I dig what they say.

Workout Inspiration: These ladies always share their workouts and get very creative, no gym required, usually. All are certified trainers.

Eye Candy Inspiration(Bodybuilding and Physique) - It's fun to watch these guy workout (maybe just for me) because they get really creative in the gym with using the equipment from sheer experience.


Shameless Plug:

Ellie Romsloe on Instagram