Max Shank with the Barbell Shrugged

Here’s Max Shank with Mike Bledsoe and Doug Larson from Barbell Shrugged, talking prevention of shoulder injuries, a few key points:


Legs or Back fail in squat


Muscles used in different phase of squat:

  1. In the hole/bottom: quads and glutes
  2. Slightly above parallel: quads
  3. Lockout: hamstring and glutes

Strong Legs vs Weak Back

  • Fast out of hole – sudden sticking point
  • More apparent when knees shift back (eg: comes out of hole, knees shift back, back takes over, but not strong enough, hits a hard sticking point). Cue to fix this: actively push back into the bar with chest (reinforces position of hips under bar)
  • Direct back work – RDL, Good mornings, Back Raises
  • Obvious leverage disadvantages aside, this athlete will have stronger squat compared to conventional deadlift. Athletes who have trained deadlift less may tend to show this symptom.

Strong Back vs Weak Legs

  • Knees shifts back out of the hole, turns the lift into a goodmorning and finish the lift
  • Miss the squat at the bottom (because quads are not strong enough)
  • Direct leg work (address quad without involving back) – belt squat, leg press, hack squat, front squat, high bar. Take caution when doing front squat & high bar squat: avoid letting back take over when coming out of bottom position.
  • 6-8 sets of 8-15 reps of belt squats (2-3x/week depending on athlete)

How should I go about fixing the knee valgus?

Form wise the best way is to utilize a hip circle or band just above the knees. Put steady pressure outward into it both when you squat down and up. Also turn your hips and knees out (like screwing into the floor outward with your feet) as you squat. Try the band.
If it’s an advanced functional valgus you may also need a little support from a sport physiotherapist – even just for a joint assessment etc – just throwing that out there in case it ends up being a continued issue.