Lifters' Corner: Enter the TUBOW
(reposted from our June 2018 newsletter)
What on earth is a TUBOW?
So glad you asked! A TUBOW is a Terribly Useful Block Of Wood. Most of you have seen us use 2-foot lengths of 4 x 4 lumber when people squat from time to time - these are TUBOWs.
Why would one use a TUBOW?
Another use of the TUBOW is to fix the knee's lateral position in the squat, i.e., is the lifter shoving the knees out (to the side) far enough, or perhaps even too far? The TUBOW gives the lifter something concrete (well, lumber, actually) to aim for, and very often, this will help solve the issue.
One of the great side effects of fixing the knee position is that it will often fix the back angle in the squat as well. If the lifter's knees can only travel "so far" forward on the descent, then the hips will have to travel backward (since your hips and knees are connected by your femurs . . . you know . . . the leg bone), and if the hips have to travel backward, the lifter will have to lean over during the descent to avoid falling over backward and stay balanced on the midfoot, and that leaned over position is precisely what we want in the low bar squat. Pretty awesome.
For an excellent and short (only two-and-a-half minutes) tutorial on what a TUBOW does and how to utilize it effectively (and some basic hamstring anatomy), check out this video by Starting Strength Coaches Jayson Ball and Noah Millstein.
Are you one of those people who is deeply, intensely, spiritually, emotionally, and morally opposed to using the TUBOWs? If so, you're probably the type of person whose squat would benefit most from using them. And if your squat benefits, then you benefit, because you'll get stronger - faster.