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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

TUESDAY'S TIP OF THE WEEK: Control All Parts Of The Squat

We all know the basic performance points of the squat.  Maintain the lumbar curve (flat back).  Squat to full depth (crease of the hips below the knees).  Track the knees over the toes.  Sit back on your heals.  But one thing that is rarely mentioned is maintaining control throughout the entire range of motion.

Many times people drop quickly into their squat.  They bounce out of the bottom of the squat and stand.  This can be an unsafe practice.  Dropping quickly into a movement could put you in a bad position.  You may lose your lumbar curve, especially if you are loaded.  I have seen many failed attempts of an overhead squat or front squat simply because the person dropped too quickly, they lost their lumbar curve, and the weight fell to the floor.  I have seen people's knees cave in while dropping too quickly into a squat.  The most common fault is people shifting their weight to the balls of their feet.

You want to develop control in all portions of the squat.  You want to feel as if you are pulling yourself into the bottom of your squat, rather than just dropping into the bottom of your squat.  Here are a couple drills you can work on to develop this control.

  1. Wall Facing Squats:  Stand close to the wall, a foot or two away, and hold your hands together over your head.  Try to squat to full depth, with perfect squat form, and hold the bottom of the squat for 3 to 5 seconds before you stand.  Inch your way closer and closer to the wall and see how close you can get and still perform a perfect squat.  If you can perform a perfect squat with your toes touching the wall, then you are a master!
  2. Slow Goblet Squats:  Hold a heavy kettlebell high on your chest with both hands.  Perform a set of 5 squats with perfect form.  Perform these squats as slowly as possible.  A slow descent and a slow ascent.  Keep moving, slowly, through the 5 repetitions without pausing.
These drills will help you develop the physical capacity to control yourself through the range of motion.  Once you are physically able to control your squat you must now mentally control yourself.  When performing a squat in a workout, do not let speed take control.  You must be aware of how you control your movement during a workout.

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