Chicken or the egg, which came first?

The knees and hips argument has raged on since the dawn of time, well, a minimum of since we started barbell squatting. On social media along with other online outlets, it may be incredibly tedious watching the argument shuttle between your knees and the hips breaking first within the squat. And let’s save the low-bar vs. high-bar argument.

If you’re an experienced in the strength industry, then my guess is that you simply curently have a concept of how this article likely to engage in. The answer to pretty much every, if not completely, questions in this industry always fall back to: It depends.

Whether you squat high-bar or low-bar for a most of your training, the answer of which joint breaks first isn’t clean cut. It’s going to get down to what let’s you perform optimally, comfortably, and supports your training longevity. I reached to a few? coaches and athletes to possess them share their ideas on this topic, take a look below.

Hips Vs. Knees: Is There an Optimal Technique?

Editor’s Note: One thing you’ll notice in any pieces advice below is the fact that every coach varies slightly, yet they became similar at their true core. The similarities align considering how every athlete isn’t good quality, there will be slight variation in squats due to multiple lifting characteristics.

Greg Nuckols: Perceptions of Low-Bar and High-Bar Squats Vary

Greg Nuckols’ advice entails how athletes typically perceive each squat style to be completely different, but that’s not necessarily the situation. Additionally, he points out what kinds of athletes gravitate towards each squat style. He states,

First, I believe it’s important to take into account that when many people think about high bar and low bar squats, they don’t simply have different bar positions in your mind. They have a tendency to possess two very different looking lifts in mind. That doesn’t necessarily need to be the situation, though. You can do a far more quad-dominant, upright low bar squat, or perhaps a more hip-dominant low bar squat that you relax into. Generally, I believe those who are naturally at ease with an upright squat gravitate to high bar, and vice versa for low bar, but many of the biomechanical differences are separate from bar position.

All other activities being equal, a minimal bar squat will involve a bit more hip flexion at any given reason for the lift, however the difference is comparatively small (<5 degrees). Any differences past that are because of technique choices independent of bar position.

With that being said, generally, it’s much more comfortable to interrupt at the hips first when squatting low bar, due to the fact just a little forward lean will help the bar dig to your rear delts a little better, and become more stable. Past that, with both squat styles, It all comes down to individual strength and comfort. Generally, individuals with shorter femurs relative to their torsos (and ankle mobility) will favor breaking at the knees first, or breaking at the hips and knees simultaneously, while individuals with longer femurs in accordance with their torsos (and/or worst ankle mobility) will favor breaking at the hips first, or breaking at the hips and knees simultaneously.

I think the biggest mistake people make is getting too dogmatic about it, though. I am talking about, ultimately, the entire point of the eccentric is to set you up well for the concentric. If you think safe, stable, in check, and able to explode out of the hole whenever you hit depth, your eccentric was good. Should you don’t feel safe, stable, in check, and ready to explode out of the whole whenever you hit depth, then something needs work (which could be joint sequencing, might be speed, or might be another factor like stance or footwear).

Ben Pollack: Base Your Squat Off Training Principles

Ben Pollack takes the approach of constructing your optimal squat based off movement principles, instead of limiting you to ultimately one mantra because everyone may have individual needs. Pollack goes on saying,

In my Unf*ck Your Technique videos, I explain that because “optimal” strategy is so dependent on individual variance, I believe it’s more useful to think in terms of general principles.”

For example, in the squat, regardless of your structure, you’ll want to maintain a neutral spine position through the lift; you’ll want to brace your core; and you’ll wish to keep your weight balanced over the midfoot. How you find that position with change depending on his or her limb lengths, muscular weaknesses and strengths, etc.

So, there is no one right joint sequencing pattern that’s right for everyone. Some athletes might break in the hips first; others at the knees. Some may have different technique for the reduced bar when compared to high bar; others might use the same technique for both styles. Rather than getting stuck on proper joint sequencing, I encourage my athletes to look for balanced distribution of force C quite simply, the positions where all their muscles can contribute to a good start compared to their relative strength.

Mike Farr (Silent Mike:): Differences In many cases are Small

Farr mentions that it’s often perceived that every squat will appear completely different, but that’s rarely the case. Everyone may have similar movement mechanics, but will vary slightly due to their individual differences and strength.?

BarBend: In the low-bar squat, perform the knees or hips break first?

Farr: In my opinion, we want both the knees & hips to break simultaneously, in an ideal squat.

BarBend: For that high-bar, does lower body joint sequencing differ from low-bar

Farr: Typically no, it should be much the same, for me. The largest differences may be the cues used in the squats not the sequencing itself. For instance, a lifter that has the bar positioned a little higher, I may cue ‘push to your knees’ or ‘knees out and forward’. Ideally, the hips will appear slightly different – moving lower between your legs – but the actual joint sequencing is going to be similar to low-bar squats.

BarBend: What are some useful ways athletes can check to see if their sequencing is in order to ensure that they’re safe and healthy, while progressing in a great rate? (Side view cams, etc)

Farr: If you have it, it’s always best to possess a good coach’s eyes on you. If this doesn’t help, or it’s doable, then something similar to a mobile phone video might help a lot. When there is a major issue, then tempo work is a great place to clean up technique.

BarBend:?What are the misconceptions you see regarding the mentality of knee or hips breaking first?

Farr: I believe the biggest misconception is that every low-bar and each high-bar will look exactly the same. Conversely, another big misconception is the fact that every squatter is a unique snowflake. The squats themselves all will be very very similar, they simply wind up looking often completely different based on the individual’s leverages, experience, muscle mass, mobility, and athleticism.

Hayden Bowe: Find What Is most effective Within Reason

Hayden Bowe discusses why he breaks at the hips first, but adds that other athletes might be different. He believes there are “truths” to the squat, although, the hips vs. knees argument isn’t necessarily one of these.?

BarBend: In the low-bar squat, do the knees or hips break first?

Bowe: I always break in the hips first. It enables me to create my back angle before beginning the descent of the squat instead of attempting to set it under load with speed. It enables for additional control in my opinion.

BarBend: Is the fact that forever the situation?

Bowe:?No, I think athletes must do the things that work best for them within reason. Many athletes set world records with unorthodox styles, most people are built differently and everybody will have different tweaks that actually work ideally on their behalf.

BarBend: For that high-bar, does lower body joint sequencing differ from low-bar?

Bowe: I think it’s less important for high-bar because the back angle generally remains a lot more vertical than it does in the low-bar squat. It’s simpler to control bar path and bar whip while high-bar squatting.

BarBend: What exactly are some useful ways athletes can determine if their sequencing is in order to ensure that they’re healthy and safe, while progressing in a great rate?

Bowe: Filming yourself lifting is important if you take the sport seriously. Instagram is great but videos you are taking convey more important uses. Athletes in each and every sport in the highest level watch “game footage”, you should be doing exactly the same. I don’t think you necessarily need to obsess over the sequencing of the squat form, but you should really be utilising the footage to help identify any noticeable form breakdown.

Are there any misconceptions the thing is in regards to the mentality of knee or hips breaking first?

Bowe: I believe the biggest concern is coaches forcing movement patterns on their athletes based on what’s worked for them in their lifting career. Like most things in lifting there are a few universal “truths” towards the squat, I don’t believe that the sequence of burglary the descent is necessarily one of these. Neutral spine, knees tracking in line with the toes (with no excessive knee twitch), and the hips and shoulders rising together are what I deem most significant when watching or teaching an athlete the squat.

Rori Alter: Simultaneous Break Fairs Best

BarBend: In the low-bar squat, perform the knees or hips break first?

Alter: Within the LBBS the hips AND knees should break SIMULTANEOUSLY.

BarBend: Is the fact that forever the situation?

Alter: Nope! In ALL squats we’re searching for the joints to unlock st the same time frame. If hips or knees break before the other we end up with unnecessary momentary stress on that specific joint or body segment and a reciprocal balancing action to counteract the premature motion. For instance, a typical technical mistake I see within the SQUAT (more so low bar than high bar however i see it both in) would be that the hips break first and individuals initiate the motion using their hips. This occurs because the LBBS I s a “hip dominant” or “hip driven” motion but that is to not be confused with leading or initiating with the hips first.Our bodies wish to keep up with the bar over the middle in our foot to reduce energy expenditure and possibility of injury. If we break at the hips or knees first this will slowly move the bar away from the mid foot and typically see an over correction of motion in the opposite direction to recenter the bar. In our example with breaking in the hips first we turn the lift a “good morning” placing stress on the low back and hips a lot more than is necessary in the low bar squat. This may lead to less load being lifted (let’s not pretend, who are able to good morning as much as they squat? Not me) and potential problems for the low back, SI joints, and hips with time. Well end up finding a counter movement from the knees sliding forward too far and for too long into the hole (a conversation for an additional day) however this “hips first” mistiming can’t only hurt the low back, SI joint and hips but can also have a residual impact on the knees and quads.

BarBend: For that high-bar, does lower body joint sequencing vary from low-bar?

Alter:?Yep a side view video is a superb tool. Even without the using a quality coach there personally, using video can offer great feedback towards the lifter. What you want may be the bar path to be maintained inside a straight vertical line within the mid foot (there are bar path tracking apps) and for the hips and knees to break simultaneously (and also lock simultaneously!).

In fact, in every competition Barbell lift performed, joint timing should be at the same rate for those joints.

Wrapping Up

From the recommendation above, it’s best not limit to yourself to one for reds from the argument because everyone will have slight individual differences in their squat styles. What’s most important is the fact that you’re practicing a technique that equates to healthy long-term movement and continued progress.

Whether that entails a slight break of the hip or knees first, or even a simultaneous break, it’s all going to come down to what helps you perform best.