Squat Challenge Week 4 Day 5 – Wait just a Minute

Okay before we go anywhere today I want you to stop for just a minute and do a little honest reflection.
We are really close to the end of the programme and, hopefully all of you have made great progress with your squat technique. I know that several of you have because I have seen the evidence of it in videos and photos and you have told me in messages. That’s really great and, y’know, the whole point of the exercise.
However, I have also heard from some of you that your knees are still coming way forward as you descend, and I have seen pictures from some of you that look  like you are trying to form the letter Z in a physical alphabet game. That’s not good and not right.
It doesn’t make you a bad person, it just means you are doing bad skwaats. I find myself doing it sometimes and have to go back to the original cues to correct it. What we don’t want to do is carry on with flawed technique just doing more and more repetitions and drilling the wrong move into muscle memory. So before we go any further, I want you to have another look at yesterday’s squat video and have a real cold critical look at what is happening with your form. If you have erased yesterday’s video (or, Heaven forfend, didn’t actually do that bit!) then do a set now and film it. In fact do two sets, one from a front or 3/4 front angle and one sideways on. And then

“you’ve got to ask yourself one question: ‘Do I squat with knees over toes?’ Well do ya, punk?”


If you do, and you hinge at the hip and your spine is neutral and head straight, then great. continue as normal. If you don’t, then let’s do something about it: go back and do a couple of sets of box squats to regrain (reingrain? regranulate?) the ‘sitting back’ thought. Do a couple of sets of doorknob squats, or (Gods no!) wall-facing squats. It’s not a regression. you are not ‘going backwards’. All of these squat variants are worthwhile exercises in their own right and even elite athletes mix them up all the time to finesse or improve whatever their goal is at the time. Do the skwaats that give you the most benefit.

Remedial work aside, same drill as before: 40 squats in sets. Try varying tempo if you feel like it: do a regular set then a slow set, or a regular set then a set with a longer pause at the bottom. Plus another 40 (or more if you feel so inclined) spaced out through the day. I am assuming that you all assumed that I was going to say this and have got a headstart on doing those, despite my later posting. In which case good. Try and keep that as just a daily habit, even without me kicking your collective ass. If you didn’t, and for some misguided reason assumed I was going to go easy on all y’all today, well… uhh, no. You have some catching up to do.



  1. TonyS

    Yes, we guessed it was the same. Done the 40 while the porridge does gets done. Just need to sort out a pull up bar for cooking dinner.

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  2. HC

    Yesterday I went to the gym for the first time in about a gerzillion years – an experience that can best be described as an unholy encounter between Rocky Balboa and Inspector Clouseau.
    My instructor is a small tough wiry bald man with the hooded look and angular features of Ming the Merciless. I think he had me pegged as the typical middle aged woman who, sometime around the beginning of the year, thinks they should probably tinker around at the gym for a week or so before giving up. Anyway, he was VERY severe. But then we reached the part of my programme that included squats, and since I have been following the Rhomboid Channel squat challenge I thought, “At least here I won’t disgrace myself”.
    Ming stopped in his tracks. “Woah, you squat REALLY well!” He loaded me up with a good amount of weights and had me perform plenty of loaded squats and plenty more with feet together. He very nearly cracked a smile and told me I was working very well and with good form. Clearly I managed to win him over with my superior squatting skillz (and how often can a girl say that? On second thoughts, best not to answer…).

  3. Lindsay/Anniemurph

    I was horrified by my vid. Not so much that my knees come forwards (they don’t too much) but I was convinced that I was getting my thighs parallel to the ground. Yeah, sure, if I’m standing on a 1 in 8 hill. Then I realised that one of my problems is that basically I’m just too fat – my belly and thighs are all in the way of each other. Gloom, doom… and MFP.

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      Billy Rhomboid

      It is a curious phenomenon how it feels like you are reaching parallel or getting below parallel and then photographic evidence appears to have been photoshopped and you’re not even reaching quarter squat. I have shocked myself a couple of times while doing the pictures for teh challenge. Last Sunday for example. This really renforces the value of filming yourself doing exercise every now and then. The camera doesn’t lie and we slip into bad habits/imagine our movements to be different to how they actually are very easily. It is not a cause for despair, just for being conscious of it and repetition, repetition, repetition. If your midriff and midthigh are getting into conflict, then turn your knees out further.

      1. Lindsay/Anniemurph

        Thanks, that’s helpful. I hadn’t realised knees out was an option. I will redo from start.

        Photoshop – yes! Someone is sabotaging the evidence. It’s a conspiracy.

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          Billy Rhomboid

          Knees out is good. Feet stay planted, knees go out. You ‘sit between your legs’. Did i never mention this? My bad. Hah. on the penultimate day…

          1. Lindsay/Anniemurph

            Might well be my fault for not reading properly *mumbles* trying to process all the info at once.

  4. xvideo

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