This week we have a guest post brought to you from my boi Benjamin Fergus, a Chiropractor friend of mine, who sent me an incredibly comprehensive video on squat mechanics.
I first met Ben at a DNS course way back in the day, and he was a pretty sharp kid then. Having watched this video, I can see that his knowledge base has only grown.
In this spot, Ben goes over the mechanics of the bodyweight squat, and I think you folks will tremendously appreciate his explanation of what is occurring at the knee.
Once you’ve finished watching the video, check his stuff out at GRIP Approach. You won’t be mistaken.
The Knee’s Position in the Squat
This overview of the ‘Complex Movements of the Knee Complex’ is not intended to tell you the right way to squat, but rather to show what is happening with the anatomy during movement and why. It also will show you how to read/name the movements with observation from the side and front.
Here on earth gravity is king in a squat. We like to keep the line of gravity and center of mass (COM/COG) situated over the midfoot. All variations of the squat can be seen as unique attempts to move our mass closer to the ground while keeping the COM over the midfoot.
There are no rights or wrongs named in this video, just a look at the possibilities of joint motion. What does ‘ knee internal rotation’ mean? We’ll look at that terminology and study what that translates to at the hip, femur, and shin in this biomechanics breakdown.
I had the honor and pleasure to write the foreword for this excellent book, which Bill has so graciously let me reprint.
You can read it below, and if it doesn’t inspire you to grab Bill’s new book, what will?
He had that shit-eating grin on his face. The type of smile you see when your parents found out something you didn’t want them to know. That smile you saw right before your untimely demise.
I knew damn well what that smile meant.
Back then I was Bill’s student. A quiet, shy, and uncertain kid. After doing a deal with the Mafia to find his email, offering up my future first born to learn from him, and signing a blood oath, I somehow convinced Bill to accept me as his physical therapy intern.
This was like meeting a rock star! Bill was all over Men’s Health magazine, T-Nation—the type of stuff young bucks like me were reading to get ahead of the curve. The last thing I wanted to do was let the guy down.
Then I overslept.
Stressed, frantic, and brushing only my front teeth, I made it to the clinic 30 minutes late. Only to be absolutely destroyed by that smile—a look that will forever be burned into my brain.
I apologized, he mildly scolded me, and we moved on.
Working with Bill was an amazing opportunity for me. Day-in and day-out I’d see him help individuals who were in pain—we are talking years of pain—become pain-free in a matter of moments. He was changing lives and helping people both return to both work and high level performance.
Whenever we had a lull, Bill would either grab his Lacrosse ball or do some type of mobility exercise. The guy was in pain, and was doing whatever he could to provide some relief.
After barely passing his clinical, I would periodically come back to visit Bill and see what he was up to. Each time I returned he had re-invented himself. Fine-tuned his process. Mastered his craft. Found better ways to reduce his client’s pain so they could get their lives back on track.
Yet he still hurt.
I’ll never forget that day I met Bill up at a continuing education course. It had been a little while since I last saw Bill, and I barely recognized the guy. He was lean. Like, really lean. I’m talking 6-pack abs, veins on veins, absolutely shredded lean. At 50-years old no doubt.
The coolest thing? He was in a lot less pain.
He rebuilt his body, reclaimed his health, and most importantly, restored control. Control for a time I’m sure he felt lost.
As incredible as Bill’s transformation was, I’ve continued to see him do this over and over and over again with clients who have been in pain.
Bill is simply one of the smartest and hardest-working individuals I know, and to see this continual evolution and drive to help people is inspiring. It is this drive that instilled greater confidence in my life, pushed me to write, fueled my discipline at continual self-improvement, and landed me an opportunity to work with the high performers in the NBA.
The fact that the man who I look up to more than anyone, the man who adopted me as his son, is asking me of all people to write a foreword for his book, is surreal. It feels like that moment in Star Wars where Obi Wan gave Luke his first lightsaber. Ready to carry the torch of the Jedi for the future.
Though let’s be real, I’d totally be turning to the Dark Side. Black is a much more slimming color.
Unlike Obi Wan, this Jedi master still has a lot of life left in him, and I am beyond excited for you to be learning how he helps people in pain stop surviving, and start thriving.
And there is no better time.
Chronic pain is a widespread epidemic. In the United States alone, 25.3 million adults suffer from daily pain, with 23.4 million reporting that pain as severe¹. This is a problem that costs the United States economy $635 billion dollars per year².
The things people do to become pain-free are numerous. Many times, these treatments are passive—massage, injections, icy hot, ultrasound, magnets—intending to provide some semblance of relief.
Too bad this stuff doesn’t work.
When comparing passive treatments to active approaches, such as exercise, there is no contest. Exercise wins, time after time³. Both aerobic exercise and weight training have been shown to help increase pain tolerance and brain function4,5. In fact, a lack of exercise may be the primary cause of most chronic diseases, as well as the cure6.
But how can I start exercising when I’m in agony just sitting here? How can I reap the benefits when my back hurts just looking at weights? You want me to walk for how long?!?
There exists no one better to answer these questions other than Bill Hartman.
If movement is the solution, then All Gain, No Pain is the guide.
In this book, you will find strategies to restructure your life in such a manner that reduces pain, improves fitness and health, and builds you to better withstand life’s stressors. Simply stated, you’ll be able to live the life you thought was once gone.
Bill has spent countless hours researching and experimenting with various methods; figuring out what methods work, and which one’s do not. He’s eliminated the unnecessary and ineffective strategies that many people try and fail with, while providing you strictly the essentials. The stuff that works.
His No Pain Principles will aid your quest in pain freedom, and his All Gain Principles will build the fitness necessary to keep persistent pain at bay. As for those movements that bother you in the gym? Bill has designed wonderful workarounds that can still drastically improve your fitness.
What makes this book different than the rest is that it comes from an author who has dealt with chronic pain himself. Bill understands the trials and tribulations you have and will go through. There simply is no better guide out there for your journey to rediscovering you.
And I must say, the strategies outlined in All Gain, No Pain flat-out work. As I was reading and editing this book, I adapted many of the principles myself. Over the course of three months, I dropped 25 pounds and was below 10% body fat for the first time in my life. Moreover, I’ve established rituals and habits that have increased my work output, energy levels, and overall satisfaction with life. You may have come to this book because you are in pain, but I promise you will leave with so much more.
If you stick with the principles, you’ll get results. You’ll look better, feel better, and move better. Most importantly, you’ll be you again. Not the old you. Not the you in pain.
But the best version of you.
Again, this book is an excellent read, regardless if you are in pain, wanting to perform at the highest level, or wish to understand stress.
Just in case you missed last night’s Movement Debrief Episode 18, here is a copy of the video and audio for your listening pleasure.
in this debrief, I was stumped!
Andrew from Facebook asked a phenomenal question on the biomechanics of the squat, which led to great discussion on what it means and takes to squat. Great contributions from Dani and Jonathan to the discussion.
Here were all the topics:
How I use research
Influences on full knee extension and flexion post-operatively
Changing perception of rehab post-total knee arthroplasty
The problems with chasing pain
Pain vs. suffering
What is squatting, what it means, and the biomechanicsIf you want to watch these live, add me on Facebook, Instagram, or Youtube. They air every Wednesday at 8:30pm CST.
Every week, my newsletter subscribers get links to some of the goodies that I’ve come across on the internets.
Here were the goodies that my peeps got their learn on from this past August.
If you want to get a copy of my weekend learning goodies every Friday, fill out the form below. That way you can brag to all your friends about the cool things you’ve learned over the weekend.
Biggest Lesson of the Month
You must first take care of yourself in all aspects of life before you can adequately take care of others. That includes personally, professionally, health, finances, everything. While I have done well in certain areas, I have lagged in others. This imbalance is one reason why I opted to take a job in a rural location. It has helped me strike a balance in many areas, and has eliminated potential distractions that could deter me from achieving that balance.
Cryptic? Somewhat. But I think about those times that I’ve been sleep deprived and lost patience with my clients. My lack of taking care of myself in that instance limited my capability to take care of others.
Are you taking care of yourself?
Quote of the Month
The only thing that separates successful people from the ones who aren’t is willingness to work very, very hard. ~Unknown
I saw the above quote when I was staying at a hotel before hiking Capitol Reef. The funny thing was separates was spelled wrong…Make sure you also work smart 🙂
Hike of the Month
This was a tough one, as I did both the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and Capitol Reef. While the North Rim was spectacular, an incredibly challenging hike, and was spent with a dear friend of mine, I have to give Capitol Reef the slight edge.
Capitol Reef reminded me a lot of Zion, in the sense that it had varied terrain, very cool rock formations, and free apples!!! All of the big cliffs were on this crazy slant, and it was just cool to see. Plus I didn’t die like I did in the Grand Canyon. Uphill finish = hate life
There is just so much right with this post. Douglas going after a huge problem within the movement realm. Instead of uplifting one another, many of us tear each other down. Doug Kechijian explains why this is problematic.
Many times, neck pain involves neck muscles increasing their accessory breathing function. A quick trick to reduce this function is by altering arm position. Check out if one of these positions alters your symptoms the next time you have neck pain.
David Butler has been one of my biggest influences, and this post is no different. Here David discusses the Concept of Clinical Mileage, the importance of reflection, reshaping our treatments. I admire, despite all the years he has practice, he continues to evolve his thought process; something we should all aspire to do.
Your patients with bone-on-bone can officially no longer use the “old age” excuse anymore. Knee osteoarthritis is commonly blamed for our longer lifespan and BMI, but this cadaveric study seems to think otherwise. When comparing the knees of modern people to those of the 18th-19th century (and even some prehistoric knees!), they found that even when lifespan and BMI were controlled for, modern subjects had a 2.1 greater incidence of knee OA. What do they think is the cause? Read it to find out.
Want to recover more effectively between intense bouts of exercise? You should probably watch this video. I’ve found with many of my clients that dropping further into a squat enhances heart rate recovery incredibly fast. I used it on my most recent hike, and made many of the hard parts more bearable.
Mike Irr is just a phenomenal human being. And to hear him speak with such poise, such humility, despite being an NBA champion, is refreshing. You’ll also learn a great deal about the successes, failure, and challenges of working in the big leagues. Give the guy a listen.
Allen Tucker is a dear friend of mine, and he wrote a phenomenal post on all things sleep; drawing from his own experiences with sleep deprivation and sleep apnea. Though he is no medical professional, Allen is a guy with an incredibly broad knowledge base, and my internet endeavors would be nonexistent if it weren’t for him.
No one can make you want to be more disciplined than Jocko Willink. He has probably been one of the most influential people that I’ve come across this year. His material is a life changer. His advice is simple, direct, and effective. If you are following his stuff. Quit making excuses and do it!
Ramit Sethi is a finance guy whose material I have really been digging. He gives a lot of practical financial advice tips that really resonate with me.
In this post, he discusses how to effectively connect with experts, and definitely have used some of these methods at continuing education courses. I think he outlines effective strategies quite well, and especially love the email template he provides.
As you know, I am a huge hip hop head, but need something to chill out at night and be focused to. This playlist = absolutely incredible for that. Minimal words, very low key beats, and productivity has been spectacular while listening.
I’ve been trying a bunch of different things before bed to enhance my sleep capabilities, as for awhile I was struggling, fam. At night, listening to this bad boy before bed did wonders for calming me down. Also think it’s a solid playlist for productivity. Check it out for sure.
Raekwon the Chef coming on strong with a new album. The beats = fire. The wordplay = fire. The storytelling = fire. You can tell the Chef has grown up quite a bit since his Wutang days, but still represents and reminds us of his sordid past. The joint he did with Lil Wayne; daummmmmn.
I have a soft spot for fast rappers aka choppers, and Twista is the gold standard. For a hot minute he was trying to do the mumble rap, and it wasn’t good. Here Twista gets back to his roots, yet varies his flow enough to show exactly how versatile (and underrated he is). The sound is similar to a lot of new stuff you’ll hear on the radio, but with actually good rappin’. Listen to “Hollywood,” it’ll change your life.
Which goodies did you find useful? Comment below and let me know what you think.
Jason is an Athletic Trainer at Brandeis University and with the Boston Cannons. He is an avid learner, tinkerer, and phenomenal human being. I truly admire his ability to connect with others, his humility, and comfort with learning from failures. Check him out on Twitter or email him at email@example.com
We went off the top of the dome on this one, as there was no agenda. I was just hoping to help better all of our learning processes.
We got that…and then some!
Here were some of the topics we covered:
Designing a learning process
Being comfortable being uncomfortable
Connecting with others
How to learn
If video isn’t your thing, I have a transcript of our conversation below.
You can also download the audio version of this talk if you’d like by subscribing to my newsletter.
Just when I thought I was out, the clinic pulls me back in.
Though I’m glad to be back. There’s just a different vibe, different pace, and ever-constant variety of challenges that being in the clinic simply provides. This has been especially true working in a rural area. You see a much wider variety, which challenges you to broaden your skillset.
Previously, I was all about getting people in and out of the door as quickly as possible; and with very few visits. I would cut them down to once a week or every other week damn-near immediately, and try to hit that three to five visit sweet spot.
This strategy no doubt worked, and people got better, but I had noticed I’d get repeat customers. Maybe it wasn’t the area that was initially hurting them, but they still were having trouble creep up. Or maybe it was the same pain, just taking much more activity to elicit the sensation.
It became clear that I was skipping steps to try and get my visit number low, when in reality I was doing a disservice to my patients. This was the equivalent of fast food PT—give them the protein, carbohydrates, and fats, forget about the vitamins and minerals.
Was getting someone out the door in 3 visits for me or for them? The younger, big ass ego me, wanted to known as the guy who got people better faster than everyone else. Yet the pursuit became detrimental to the patient’s best interest. There were so many other ways I could impact a patient’s overall health that I simply sacrificed in place of speed.
I only got them to survive without pushing them to thrive.
I see a lot of individuals proudly proclaim how many visits it takes for them to get someone out of pain, but pain relief is only part of the equation. There are so many more qualities we can address before we consider a rehab program a success.
This stark realization has reconceptualized how I structure a weekly rehab program. I now emphasize all qualities necessary to return to whatever task the patient desires, and attempt to inspire them beyond those initial goals.
You want to know what my visit average is right now?
I stopped counting, and started treating.
Let’s look designing the rehab week to take your clients to the next level.