Why People Squat Wrong

Why People Squat Wrong with Tyler Bramlett and Sylvia Favela

Today, I have another interview for you and this is a three-way interview so we will see how this goes and try it out, and who I have on the call is Sylvia and Tyler, and I will get Sylvia to introduce herself to the listeners, viewers and readers.

Sylvia Favela: Hey guys I am Sylvia Favela, the pilates chic, at 360PilatesWorkout.com. I have been a Pilates expert for over a decade now helping people to move better and to live better.

Rick Kaselj: Awesome. Okay Tyler I will get you to introduce yourself.

Tyler Bramlett: Hey guys, I am Tyler. I am just a normal guy who likes to train in his garage, that is what I do. I run GarageWarrior.com and I just love to teach people performance-based training so that they can look good and perform even better.

Rick’s Kaselj: You two have kind of teamed up to do something unique and what you guys have combined to kind of create these flows, these body weight flows.

Maybe you can kind of talk about what a body weight flow is and why it is beneficial for people that add it to their programs.

Tyler Bramlett: Can I hit that one Sylvia, would you mind if I get that one?

Sylvia Favela: Go ahead!

Tyler Bramlett: I want to backtrack a little bit Rick just to kind of give people a perspective on why we thought about this product because that is really important to understand that back story.

A lot of people these days might not be getting what they possibly could out of their workouts and what I mean by that is simple. They are focusing on reps, sets, exercises but they are not focusing on what the real big picture is, which is better movement, right?

I am sure you will agree with this because you have Exercises For Injuries and in order to prevent injuries you absolutely have to have good movement, and people out there are focusing more on the intensity and volume then they are on better movement, right? And we see this all the time and so I was onto this movement thing.

I was focusing on how to get people moving better doing warm ups, performance training, and then literally about six months ago or four months ago, Sylvia and I were sitting down talking about this and we started talking about how we each individually teach people how to perform and move better. And through our talking we were like, holy cow, we have the same philosophy, we have the same ideas so why don’t we bash our heads together and come up with a concept so we can teach other people than just our clients on how to do this kind of stuff.

So that is how our flow system kind of originated and if you guys are thinking of a flow right now and you are like what the heck is that?

Really simply put you can think of it like a few exercises strung together very fluidly that teach people how to have a perfect form through those movements.

Our goal is to increase range of motion, control of the muscles as well as coordination at the same time. When people do that their workouts instantly become better.

That is kind of the goal of the system. Anything you would like to add to that Sylvia?

Sylvia Favela: To be quite honest, you pretty much wrapped it all up in that one whole piece but you pretty much nailed it with all that. The only thing that I could add is, yes it is moving better and just being more aware of what you are doing and how you are doing it and form and everything. That is really kind of like the missing key, the missing little aspect of fitness. What most people don’t even think about but that is where you are going to get better by doing this.

Rick Kaselj: Awesome! Let us take a step back.

What is this big deal about movement? Like people move around, or people do exercise, like why should people shift over and start thinking about the movement side of things, they are already moving, they are doing stuff?

Sylvia Flavela: Yes, they are moving but they are very limited in their movement. Most people just kind of go about doing their workouts and just throwing things around. They will just lift a weight and throw it around like, “okay, yeah maybe if I start feeling it burning after a hundred reps then I have done something.”

Well initially really the more that you are actually targeting and hitting muscles and activating those muscles you don’t have to be doing hundreds of reps to already feel something. As you are moving, as you are being aware of what you are doing, you can actually get better results and be able to go further in your workouts and get deeper into your workouts if that makes any sense at all.

Tyler Bramlett: Yeah. Form is like an elusive thing Rick. Form is a thing that we all talk about like “Oh, my trainer told me to do this” or “I read this magazine and it told me to do that.” But let me ask you this question Rick, because you have actually trained a lot of people who have had injuries, how many people do you see who come in and just squat correctly the first time?

Rick Kaselj: Oh, I mean a vast majority of people squat horribly.

Tyler Continues: Horribly, it’s terrible, right. I watch kids not being able to squat because they are watching their parents not being able to squat. And 9 times out of 10 they have one of three issues and that is what we are trying to address.

Three issues why people squat wrong are:

  1. They don’t have the ability to contract their muscles. That generally has to do with the stability component, right. They don’t understand what muscles they should be contracting.
  2. They lack range of motion or they lack control in extreme ranges of motion. And so that means somebody might be able to do a parallel squat but if they try to do a butt to ground squat it’s never going to happen or they are going to sacrifice their form because they lack the flexibility to do it.
  3. Coordination which is shocking. Some people have the flexibility, they have the muscle strength but they don’t know how to fire in a proper sequence. And how do you learn how to do that? You learn how to do that through movement training.

So we try to provide people with specific details that most trainers just don’t understand and it’s not their fault that they don’t understand, it’s just that Sylvia and I have been doing this for a long time and both of us are really obsessed with the fine points.

Sylvia, coming from a therapeutic Pilates background, and myself coming, honestly from my own stack of injuries and then training other people getting past their own injuries and then accelerate their performance as well.

I think that when people say “form” it is just thrown around so loosely. We are talking about better movement which embodies just really learning how to move your entire body better. And like you know we talked about the squat that is an easy example where somebody has a lousy squat during their workout and then somebody right next to them has a great squat in their workout, they do the exact same workout and the exact same reps, whose going to get a better result?

The person with the lousy form who is not firing his muscles properly, not going through a whole range of motion, or the person who is firing their muscles properly, more explosively, more coordinated and through a full range of motion. They are going to burn more calories, they are going to burn more fat, they are going to gain more strength, whatever, they are going to get better results with their workouts because they have access to them.

Rick Kaselj: Okay, we kind of talked about the squat, now what are some other movements that people kind of mess up, that they have kind of lost or haven’t learned properly.

Sylvia Flavela: Can I take that one?

Tyler Bramlett: Yeah, I will take that after you.

Sylvia Flavela: The one that is always messed up is the plank, a four arm plank, a simple plank, that one. It is amazing, I have worked with so many people and they will say “Oh, yeah I can do this” and they go down like “I can do this, I have been taught how to do this,” their lower back is arching, their head is in the wrong place. It’s frustrating because they will just dive into their back. They are like I can hold this but all they are doing is injuring or putting more pressure where it is not needed.

Plank is the number one movement that I see that is done totally wrong.

Their form is totally off. With the flows, it shows you how to position your body in the correct spot so that you are actually feeling the core working quicker and you don’t sacrifice having to use your back to get into that position holding it longer. So, which other exercises would you add Tyler?

Tyler Bramlett: Well, I couldn’t’ t agree more on the plank, Sylvia, and one of the things that we try to do when we put together these bodyweight flows is not only create positions of stability, like the plank. Not only do we teach people how to do a basic plank, I don’t want anybody who is listening to this think of it like we are just holding planks, right? It is to be able to go into and out of the plank fluidly through other positions.

Maybe that would mean going from a plank where your stomach is facing the ground and then rotating around to the part where your body is facing the ceiling and then rotating around back into the plank without ever sacrificing your core integrity.

We do a lot of rotational movements in this program. A lot of movements that involve not just that frontal plane stability or that lateral plane stability, we like to throw in a lot of transverse plane stability as well.

We do a lot of lower body movements. We do a lot of planking movements. We do a lot of downward dog movements to increase mobility but also teach stability in those positions and we string them together in these flows because that is what we know gets people firing their muscles properly, building more range of motion as well as coordinating everything. So it is not just about holding a position properly, it is about the transition from one position to another.

One of the things that I’ve been teaching my bootcamp clients for several years now is what I call neuro-reconditioning. Whenever you pick up or simply put down in class you do it right, you do it 100% right. So when you go home and you drop your Kleenex on the ground and go to pick it up you don’t throw your back out because I guarantee that when everybody throws their back out it is never picking up something heavy.

It is always a little box or something like that. It is never picking up something heavy because when you pick something up heavy, you brace. Whether you know it or not you just lock everything down and you brace. But when we want people to move better without having to think about it and start training your body through movement patterns, through positioning, through transitioning from position to position what I feel was the best way to learn how to do it.

Rick’s Kaselj: Not everyone has access to a trainer or is able to have someone assess them.

What would you recommend to someone who is in that situation? How do would they end up determining their poor movement and what they need to work on?

Tyler Bramlett: Oh that is a great question. Would you mind if I jump in at the start there Sylvia?

Sylvia Favela: Go ahead.

Tyler Bramlett: I am sorry, that topic, I am passionate about it. First of all Rick, you are counting on to find one out of thousand people who would be able to follow along just some of our flows and do them perfectly. It’s going to be a rarity that somebody presses play and is like “Oh, I got this,” you know what I mean? And that is why when we designed our system that we put together, we did beginner, intermediate, and advanced variations and everything.

The beginner flows requires less control, less coordination, lesser range of motion than the advanced ones which require pretty extreme amount of flexibility, stability, coordination and everything like that.

First of all, what I am trying to say is that everybody needs to work on this stuff regardless of who you are. If you are a professional athlete, you probably should be working on stuff to keep you injury free, make sure your performance lasts longer so on and so forth. If you are brand new to training then you have got to work on this stuff because it is going to unlock your potential, it is going to unlock your physical potential.

Without thinking about who should be doing this because they have bad form I would just pretty much say that everybody has got bad form on something, right? And so how do they learn how to do a better form? Well, they have to learn how to move into and out of positions.

Like you said when talking about planks, the downward dog and things like that, yes it would be great for you to hire a trainer if you could afford it. The harder part is if you can even find one, like qualified which really, that one drives me crazy, we can talk all day about that.

Most of these people are not certified, they don’t know the first thing about muscular activation and proper positioning. Even if you could hire a trainer it probably wouldn’t do you as much good as if you educated yourself, that’s the promise. We all empower other people to teach us what we should and shouldn’t be doing when really we should be educating ourselves on how we move.

And movement is the key, it drives me crazy. I get so passionate about this Rick because the brain, the neocortex, was designed for better movement that’s why it grew. It is supposed to help us expand and help our digits be able to move so that we can play pianos and we can build tools.

When people move better, when they actually take some time to focus on movement rather than on how many push ups and pull ups and what not I can do, you are actually improving the functioning of your neocortex.

I firmly believe that people who move better have a better connection to their brain, that connects to other things as well so there is so much benefit from it. I know that didn’t really answer your question specifically about trainers but I just try to tell people that everybody has some dysfunctions in moving and so everybody should be working on their movement no matter what.

Rick Kaselj: Okay. One trend that has happened in fitness and then it might be on the tail-end of the trend is this thing called functional training, trying to take traditional body building exercises and tweaking them so that they are functional or relate to movements that one does in regular life.

Now how does the bodyweight flows differ from functional training?

Tyler Bramlett: Oh that is a good question. You want to tackle that Sylvia?

Sylvia Favela: You are on a roll. Go on with it, I will jump in right after you. Go right ahead

Tyler Bramlett: Okay, I will make this one a little briefer. I love the concept of functional training. It’s brilliant to think that you could train movement patterns that you perform in daily life so that your life improves, your body improves, and everything improves, right. I am a huge advocate of doing these things.

Where people go wrong with functional training is that they take it to an extreme that is useless, right. And so what I do within garage workouts, I do what is called real functional training.

R-E-A-L, real. It is an acronym for Realistic Exercises which means things that you might actually encounter in real life, not pink Barbie rotator cuff exercises with a band strapped around your knee on a BOSU ball. That is not ever going to happen.

Realistic exercises are executed with perfect form at a high intensity leaving you with a body that looks good and performs even better.

So that is my acronym for REAL functional training and if you take it and actually apply it to an exercise, you will think to yourself like is this realistic? Can it be executed with perfect form? Can I do it at a high intensity? There are a lot of woo-woo things you can’t do at a high intensity, right? You can’t do them at any level of intensity. They are really like cross-eye therapeutic exercises.

To me real functional training is learning how to squat on two legs, learning how to squat on one leg, learning how to rotate on the ground, learning how to stand up through rotational positions, learning how to stabilize yourself on the plank as you move in and out, some sort of bridging, all these different things, that to me is real functional training.

I see Rick just smiling under on the other end right there. That is what I think real functional training is and people miss the boat on it and they just do so much stuff that is worthless that they never really end up getting any real results from it.

You have got to work on strength, you have got to work on intensity, and you have got to work on real movements. If you want to make them functional, do them in a way that you might actually do them in real life but that specific adaptation to impose demands that we hear about all the time, the said principle that just says that if I stand on a BOSU ball and I do the rotator cuff drills with the band strapped around my knees on a BOSU ball or whatever, all I am going to get better at is the Barbie dumb bell BOSU ball rotator cuff exercise. I am not actually getting better at anything else, right?

I just like to make that point clear that you get better at what you practice and if you practice flowing through movements you actually might get into in real life then you will get better at that. If you practice the pink Barbie BOSU thing you are going to get better at that but I don’t know how that is going to help you in the real world.

Sylvia Favela: This is why we planned it up to do this because, well I couldn’t even add anything else more to that because that is exactly what I was about to say. In a realistic movement, and I mean that is not realistic, standing on a BOSU ball doing that. No one does that really. It’s just doing real movements that you need from day to day.

Simple things like you are sitting down. If you are sitting on a bench watching your kids play, and you try to get up and turn around and grab something, you should be able to easily move other than like Oh and you throw your back out. So there are simple movements like that and that is what the flows do, they help you learn to move altogether in transition going from one move to the other. It’s just about the same thing as what Tyler was saying. It’s just realistic moves that you are going to do, not the Barbie rotation.That was pretty funny.

Rick Kaselj: We have to look for a YouTube video.

Tyler Bramlett: I should make you one. I will get the sweat band on and everything.


Okay, that is the end of part 1 of the interview. I will be back with part 2, later this week.

If you would like to check out Advanced Gluteus Maximus Exercises, you can here.

Advanced Gluteus Maximus Exercises

Rick Kaselj, MS.