View Full Version : Learning to squat the HARD way

The Mississippi Monster
12-19-12, 1:20 pm
My football coach in high school showed me how to squat by backing up and squating down and standing up. He then said," I have you down to squat 430lbs, can you do it?" I walked up on stage with no warm-ups and did the most ungawdful looking goodmoring(all back bent over) squat you'd ever seen. A few weeks later I started training with a real powerlifting team. I mean with real powerlifters that know what they're doing....I picked up on it fairly easy and went on to squat 585lbs in the 165lb class at 15 years old, 628lbs in the 181lb class at 16 years old, 688lbs in the 198lb class at 17 years old, 749lbs in the 220lb class at 18 years old, 837lbs in the 220lb class at 19 years old(still hold this record) and 960lbs weighing just 230lbs at 22 years of age. I did this all using a very wide stance........
I thought this was pretty good......but I wanted more! SO I took the advice of a guy who's nick name was Dr. Squat, who suggested that I move my stance in and squat close. RIght away my numbers went thru the roof! I did 881lbs for 5 reps, now this was in 1986, walking out(no monolift) using only a thin supersuit with the straps down(no briefs or squat shorts) and short knee wraps. I did 900 x 3 easy and was sure I was going to hit 1,000lbs. During my 3rd training session using the close stance, I was making my usual 100lb jumps when I got to 900lbs. I walked 900lbs out and started down, suddenly 3/4 of the way down my right knee snapped(it sounded like a bed sheet shreading)WHAM, the weight had shot me out and I hit the racks head first and was out! When I came to, I was laying on the ground sideways with my right leg folded up under me with a tight knee wrap on. My training partners were rushing trying to get all my gear off. As they took my knee wrap off,(it was the only thing holding my knee together) my knee cap flipped and went sideways. Never have I ever felt such pain. I had ruptured my patella tendon severing it from the knee cap. It took 3 trips to the doctor in 3 days before they knew what to do. After having reconstructive knee surgey to re-attach my knee cap, it took me 6 months before I started squating with a broomstick again. During this time, I reviewed the tape, (yes the accident was on video) over and over trying to figure what went wrong. I had never had any knee pain before this happened, so I was very confused. What I found out was, although I had squated 960lbs before this, I had done this using a wide stance, never stressing my knee's with a close stance. Not that a close stance is bad, it's just a different animal than the wide stance. If done correctly, the wide stance places all the stress on your hips and lower back. Where as the close stance put's more stress on the quad's and knee's, but there is a right way and a wrong way to squat using both stances and I perfected this during rehab...a little late huh? Regardless of what stance you use, the first movement should be your hips going backwards, taking the stress off of your knee's, then flaring your knee's out and you descend. If your knee's move first, it is wrong. As in my case, you should train all stances wide and close before atempting heavy weights. SO what I learned was I didn't give my tendons and ligiments enough time to strengthen using the close stance before attempting maximum weights.......I still went on to squat 900lbs again, but this time correctly and stressing my knee's!

12-19-12, 1:35 pm
Damn. Helluva story, my man. Amazing how you hit 900 post-recovery.

The Mississippi Monster
12-19-12, 1:51 pm
Damn. Helluva story, my man. Amazing how you hit 900 post-recovery.

Yeah, my injury was more mental than physical.....it took me 17 years to do it again!

12-19-12, 1:52 pm
You were squatting 585 at 165lbs and 15 years old? damn bro well done

12-23-12, 1:25 am
That's a long time man to recover. A lot of people get hurt but don't learn from the error in their ways. Sounds like you did!

12-23-12, 2:04 pm
What an opening post & thread.


12-30-12, 10:52 am
Can't imagine... I couldn't imagine watching it happen over and over (but I see why).... I'm sure the guys that were around you STILL see it in their heads!! ((and thanks for the bed sheet reference, uuuugggghhhh...lol))

I just started putting a REAL effort into my compounds after my latest trip to Jersey. I was always afraid to squat or DL because of my previous back issues. Of course, like any other person that has had an injury does, I always have that pain in my head as a reminder to be smart.

I am a visual learner, I need to SEE something to "get" it... Talking with Skibs and having him show me made all the difference in the world with my confidence... The reason I say this is because the one statement that you made about the HIPS going backwards first sticks with me. I know, to a seasoned fella like yourself, it seems minute in comparison to what you CAN teach all of us, but THAT statement hit home for me and will be in my head when I'm under the bar...