Squats Part 1
Squats Part 3
Any feedback or questions would be greatly appreciated.
A proper squat can be done weighted or unweighted. Often starting out body weight is plenty(See Air Squat below). It can be done for cardio/metabiloc load with a weight, pipe or loaded bar. Several different types of bars are available from "training bars' typically 25-35 lbs to the full Olympic Bar at 45 lbs. The key is not to add too much load until the mechanics are clearly understood and the correct movement patterns are firmly ingrained. Always try to maintain strict form before adding weight. When a weight is used and form starts to fall apart, it is too heavy - take some off.
80% of the squats I see on the gym floor are not proper squats at all, they can best be described as 1/4 squats 1/3 squats. People seem to like partial squats because they allow for more weight, seemingly very impressive. If the weights are too heavy to do a full squat or the mobility is too restricted to get to a full squat position the weights should be deloaded until the full squat position can be achieved.
There is controversy with respect to foot position. Kelly Starrett in Becoming a Supple Leopard advocates a toes straight forward with torque generated by external rotation to keep the knees outward.
The common coaching cue "Screw your feet to the ground" is the analogy for obtaining external rotation. (we will talk much more about external rotation in a future post). I have been experimenting with this foot positioning and less foot angle while focusing on external rotation and it does seem to be working well, however I still maintain a roughly 15 degree angle in the feet.
The majority of lifters I see turn the feet out when they squat, this is how I learned. Gray Cook, Movement: Functional Movement Systems: Screening, Assessment, Corrective Strategies also thinks that when you do loaded squats, feet should be turned out. I am continuing to think through this positioning and apply it in the gym, I will continue to post on my results.
For more on this see:
Proper Foot Position in the Squat, Greg Everett
Squats: Toes Forward or Toes Out?, Tabata Times
“Hip torque”, toe angle, and squatting, 70's Big
If you have an opinion on this issue please comment, argue or otherwise let me know what you think!The take away from this is that typically, to get into the proper bottom position beginners need some angle on the foot. As mobility improves in approaching the bottom position the angle may be decreased. The important thing in all of this is KNEES OUT, they need to track your shoe laces.
- maintaining a rigid spine
- knees out
- knees follow the line of you shoe laces
- shoulders and hip should move and the spine should stay put
- legs should be in external rotation (Much more on this in a future post)
At this point in this post I am simply going to introduce each of the more common squat forms. I will discuss the mechanics of each in a separate post for each.
Often this is the next progression from the air squat. Typically done with a kettlebell, however kettlebells are by no means required to say missile can be achieved with a standard dumbbell
Both the air squat and the goblet squat will covered in the next post of this series as they form a logical progression before the ability requirements of the bar are introduced.
This is typically the least most common squat variation but may be the best for certain classes of trainees. It is involves potentially the most muscle mass, and includes the hamstrings to a greater degree than the other forms.
Upcoming Part 3 Air Squats, Progressions and Goblet Squats
Starting Strength 3rd ed.: Chapter 1 & 2, Mark Rippetoe
Becoming a Supple Leopard: The Ultimate Guide to Resolving Pain, Preventing Injury, and Optimizing Athletic Performanc
Additional Related Reading
8 Reasons to Do This Misunderstood Exercise