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Author Topic: overhead squats  (Read 1753 times)
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iamcam
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« on: April 20, 2010, 08:23:11 PM »

Runner's World suggested doing overhead squats to strengthen yourself for barefoot running. I used some weights yesterday to do these and wow! my quards are killing me today.
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« on: April 20, 2010, 08:23:11 PM »

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Mule Ears
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« Reply #1 on: April 20, 2010, 10:07:48 PM »

Huh. I like O-squats as much as the next guy, but I don't get the applicability to barefooting. Your feet are fixed to the floor throughout the movement, and there's little challenge to the ankles/calves unless you're very unstable.

 If you like the motion and want something more relevant to barefoot running, may I suggest "Turkish Get Ups" performed with a light weight as swiftly and gracefully as possible. These movements challenge your feet and ankles in ways that directly benefit barefoot hiking/running. There are tons of examples online (see example below),  but you want to do these at a rapid clip for maximum benefit. Her pace is about half the speed you want to shoot for, though I'm not complaining  Grin

Fitness - Boot Camp Circuit 5: Turkish Get Up Exercise

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« Reply #2 on: April 21, 2010, 01:52:31 AM »

She must use double-sided tape, is all I'll say about that.  Wink

The exercise itself looks pretty cool.
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« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2010, 01:56:47 AM »

the premise behind saying an overhead squat will strengthen you for barefoot running has nothing to do with the feet.  the movement puts a lot of stress on the quads as well as the lower back.  both of these muscle groups get a lot of attention in a barefoot running form.  The quads get a lot of use and need to be strong because a barefoot runner will typically not have an extended leg when they make contact with the ground.  that bend in the knee will make the quads contract and an over head squat will do more strengthening in the quads than other leg exercises. 
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« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2010, 01:56:47 AM »

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« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2010, 11:15:16 AM »

the premise behind saying an overhead squat will strengthen you for barefoot running has nothing to do with the feet.  the movement puts a lot of stress on the quads as well as the lower back.  both of these muscle groups get a lot of attention in a barefoot running form.  The quads get a lot of use and need to be strong because a barefoot runner will typically not have an extended leg when they make contact with the ground.  that bend in the knee will make the quads contract and an over head squat will do more strengthening in the quads than other leg exercises. 

Gotcha. I'm not a coach or trainer, so I don't have their broad perspective. My own experience, based on my original transition from structured shoes to sandals/VFFs/bare feet a few years ago (and on my seasonal shifts in exercise and activity) has been different. The weakest links for me have never been quads or lower back, but feet, ankles and calves.

I've been doing a lot of mountain biking lately, so my feet and legs are not as trail-toughened as they have been at other times. But recently I busted out and did an 8+ mile trail run in VFFs (blame Born to Run) and experienced only a little calf tightness thanks (I believe) to having TGUs in my regular exercise rotation. Quads were loafing throughout the run, and I didn't register any lower-back issues.

Anyhow, I didn't mean to criticize the choice of overhead squats for barefoot runners looking to correct a deficiency or improve performance by getting their quads and back in shape. Just seems to me that the priority for the majority of runners transitioning to barefoot ought to be areas with the most serious deficiencies. By my experience and many of the 'ouch' threads on the board, those are feet/ankles/calves.

Besides, enthusiasm for overhead barbell squats is usually dampened first by that minor shoulder tweak that starts as just an annoyance and then... Wink
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« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2010, 11:48:00 AM »

I agree. I need an exercise that will work to strengthen my soleus muscles in particular. But I'm glad to know these strengthen the lower back as I've been having pain there as well.

I definitely feel that shoulder tweak you are talking about. it hurts.
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« Reply #6 on: April 21, 2010, 12:18:39 PM »

you were not offensive at all.  i was just trying to point out why they were using at as an exercise for the purposes of barefoot running.  TGU's (i like the abbreviation) are great for strengthening the lower leg complex if done barefoot of course.  You put a normal show on and the majority of those benefits disappear. 

Cam- in reference to your soleus needs i would first say that the soleus is mainly used to create platar flexion (toe pointing) when the knee is bent then you may be needing to look at your form.  the soleus in running is generally used to push off when the knee is bent which as a barefoot runner the knee is usually always bent.  so if your soleus is sore or giving you problems then you might be pushing off too much instead of lifting with the glutes and hams.  with that said one of the best exercises for the soleus muscle is the seated calf raise.  the bend in the knee limits the gastrocnemius from working and forces the soleus into action. 
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« Reply #7 on: April 21, 2010, 01:34:33 PM »

I will say that there may be a progression in muscle groups involved, as one continues barefooting.

I know that, unlike many people, I had no foot pain at all when I started out (I have strong feet, and spend a lot of time barefoot or in sandals).  It was all about the calf.  Now, though, the calves are strong and it's the thighs that are feeling it.  (Makes me wonder when the back and abs are going to start.)
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« Reply #8 on: April 21, 2010, 01:50:35 PM »

you were not offensive at all.  i was just trying to point out why they were using at as an exercise for the purposes of barefoot running.  TGU's (i like the abbreviation) are great for strengthening the lower leg complex if done barefoot of course.  You put a normal show on and the majority of those benefits disappear. 

Cam- in reference to your soleus needs i would first say that the soleus is mainly used to create platar flexion (toe pointing) when the knee is bent then you may be needing to look at your form.  the soleus in running is generally used to push off when the knee is bent which as a barefoot runner the knee is usually always bent.  so if your soleus is sore or giving you problems then you might be pushing off too much instead of lifting with the glutes and hams.  with that said one of the best exercises for the soleus muscle is the seated calf raise.  the bend in the knee limits the gastrocnemius from working and forces the soleus into action. 

can you give me a picture of what the seated calf raise looks like? I want to take a class on proper form, but there aren't any in my area. What happens is I may get a mile or so into it and my soleus muscles just tighten up so bad that I can't keep running.
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« Reply #9 on: April 21, 2010, 02:39:49 PM »

I'm a big fan of the TGU.  Been doing it with dumbells for awhile now.

For me, personally, when I added jump rope to my regular weekly routine is when I found my barefoot/minimalist running progression begin to really increase at faster rates.
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« Reply #10 on: April 21, 2010, 02:57:18 PM »

i just googled it and this was the first site and it has a pretty good pic. 
http://www.shapefit.com/calf-exercises-seated-calf-raises.html

I would also say if you do not have this machine then you can do a modified version on the leg press by just keeping the knees bent and doing a calf press.  This will also strengthen the quads and is a nice double duty exercise.  If you dont work out at a gym then you can sit in a chair and have your feet off the ground on a thick weight, block of wood, or exercise step.  place a weight over the knees and you are good to go. 

as hippierunner said, jump rope can be a really good foot exercise.  it can also help activate the soleus muscles if you do it modified to have the knees bent a little.  it takes some getting used to but just a 45 deg. bend in the knees while doing jump rope will give your lower legs a burn like nothing they have ever felt. 
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« Reply #11 on: May 07, 2010, 05:34:16 PM »

TGU's are awesome.  I wouldn't put them in the 'best exercise' for strengthening feet though.  I use them primarily for shoulder stability and core, but the rest of the body gets a workout also.  Overhead squats will expose any issues with the ankle, hip, knee, core and shoulder, so if you can't do them, figure out what the restriction is and work on it.

Personally, I believe single leg exercises are the best for foot development.  Single leg squats, bulgarian split squats, sinleg leg deadlifts, single leg hops, etc.

Oh and single leg, barefoot donkey calf raises.
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