Hello! I have had participants say that this isn't their favorite squat track, but they haven't reported any pain or knee issues. When we're moving fast, like we do in 79 squats, sometimes it's easy for the participant to forget to keep their weight in their heels. Perhaps their knees are going past their toes, and they are placing undue stress in their joints. You could also check to make sure that their knees are tracking in line with their toes, and that their toes are not too parallel/turned out too much.
When you say plié, are you referring to a shorter range of motion, like a top-half/demi plié version of the squat? Or do you literally mean a super wide "2nd position" ballet plié?
cerlinger:I have had several members tell me that their knees hurt a lot on the squat track of Body Pump 79, ... Has anyone else received this feedback? How did you respond? Is there any real danger to allowing them to alternate between mid stance and plie squats if it allows them to finish the track?
The track is too fast to push the same weights as you were in more controlled tracks IMHO. Mix it out as soon as you can and go to a more controlled track, does this solve their problem?
I found that for comfort I was reducing the weights by about 30% compared to other tracks. E.g. Pink's recent squat track - 40kg was OK (actually fine), track from 79, then 30 was all I really wanted, and to be honest 27 was more comfortable.
Going wider tends to make it more comfortable for most people, as they are now working the inner thighs, rather than the outer thighs and external rotation muscles. However, this area (outer) is key for good knee tracking ,when running for example, so you need to keep them doing this. especially those with high Q angles and over-pronation problems...
For anybody who doesn't know, a plie (plee-EH) squat is a Pilates squat where your knees are further pushed out to the side, almost as if your legs are directly to your sides. This is mostly a core stability and inner thigh exercise. The good thing about a squat like this is that it takes pressure off the lower back. However, you definitely need to make sure you could control this exercise, and I think, like DR-DB said, the 79 squat track is too fast to safely do a plie squat. When your legs are out too wide, like in a plie squat, you start losing control of your stance.
If someone's knees are hurting, definitely look at how they are squatting. I know, it's difficult to try to give people one-on-one attention in a group fitness class. Maybe meet them afterward and check them out. Some people may place too much pressure on the balls of their feet when pushing up, which would place too much pressure on the knees. If their body is leaning forward too much, then the weight shifts from their heels to the toes. Or, they could be going lower than they should (a plie squat could help prevent that).
Doing a plie squat is not dangerous. It's a legitimate variation of a regular squat. The problem is that different techniques are involved, so you can't properly coach them using traditional squat cuing. I had one girl, due to injury, do a narrow squat with both of her legs together side by side. Once again, it's simply a variation. But, coaching becomes a problem. That's one of the advantages of being a personal trainer in addition to a pump instructor, because I won't freak out when I see people do something slightly different :)
As much as possible, tell your people to stick with a regular squat. Overall, it is their work-out, but safety becomes an issue when they don't know how to correctly do a squat variation and your cuing wouldn't apply to them.
And by the way, I LOVE the 79 squat track!
We don't do plie squats in Bodypump... nor do I see how it would take pressure off the lower back as a weighted exercise!
Okay, KEVIN, perhaps taking TENSION off the lower back would have been a better choice of words.
I wouldn't advise substituting the plie squat for the regular BP stance(s). Doubt it's a 'danger' as such but your participants obviously have an underlying technique issue that isn't going to go away on it's own. If they aren't performing the 'normal' squat correctly with your coaching then I sure wouldn't be happy for them to take on their own variation that I can't coach along with the rest of the class. By avoiding the exercise they're never going to learn how to perform the squat properly. Interesting that it's only happened with release 79?? I for one have managed to increase my weights with this track.
Definitely focus on nailing technique rather than going for an 'easier' (if not more complicated) alternative. I know it's difficult in a class environment especially with the set up required for BP but is there any way you could catch them for 5 minutes either before or after the class to go over their technique? Either that or have a look at your coaching during the actual track.
Could either be a case of knees coming too far forward or alternatively are their knees staying in the same place relative to their ankle and are they simply sitting back? As mentioned before their knees should come forward tracking in line with second and third toe but must not pass beyond the toes. I find a good cue is "start the squat at your knees...then sit the hips down and back." Also participants should be encouraged to drive up using the whole foot rather than just the heels. Pushing through the heels for squats comes from old freestyle classes and is for giving more emphasis on the glutes. Using the whole foot results in more quads activation which is exactly what you want from a squat - the quads will help take pressure off the knees.
Hope this helps :-)