When I was leading the camp through the squat session today I made a statement that a couple people believed to be slightly offensive but I meant every word. What I said was that if you don’t know how to squat properly, your mobility sucks and is preventing you from squatting properly, or you’re unaware that you are squatting wrong then fix it and start squatting right. If you don’t you will suck at lifting and at Crossfit forever regardless of your 60 unbroken pullups. I also said that if you know how to squat properly and you just don’t care to do it right because you can get more weight doing it wrong then quit the sport and go play kickball because you will always suck at Crossfit and likely somebody who squats well will beat you at kickball! If Tiger Woods said he knew how to swing the driver right but he wanted to do it another way because it looked cooler he would have never made it on the PGA Tour so why do any of you think that squatting poorly because you can get a bigger number will EVER get you to the Games or to the podium?
I am currently on the plane headed back to Dallas from the Atlanta camp at Crossfit Bound. Brandon and Jessica were great hosts who went out of their way to cater to and care for us this weekend. Crossfit Bound is a brand new gym in the Kennesaw area and if you are around the area then there’s no good reason for you to be training anywhere else but with Brandon and Jessica.
At the end of the day today, I led the group through a squat session giving particular attention to the mechanics of a good squat. In Crossfit and in Olympic Weightlifting the squat is the most basic and foundational movement we teach. Think of all the movements and exercises that use or involve the squat for Crossfit: wall ball, thruster, clean, snatch, the overhead squat, etc. To state that a strong, proper squat is useful for the sport of exercising is the understatement of the century. It’s paramount to success in Crossfit and literally hundreds of other sports.
A proper squat that directly correlates to weightlifting and Crossfit involves 6 distinctives.
1) A vertical torso throughout the entirety of the squat to allow for direct application of the squat to other movements.
2) Engaged glute muscles in order to prevent a horizontal torso and to allow for the greatest application of power in the standup.
3) A bottom position that is as low as possible where the hips are sitting centered between your heels.
4) Ankle dorsiflexion and mobile hips. The ability to keep your hips underneath you and keep your torso vertical is largely dependent on your knees being able to track in front of your toes and your hips mobility allowing for extreme depth.
5) A strong engaged upper back with the scapulas pulled together to allow for no bend or give in the midline during the squat.
6) Speed to the bottom of the squat. Speed into the bottom allows for greater speed out of the bottom. While maintaining a strong midline with a strong upper back and engaged glutes, allow your body to move quickly into the bottom of the squat. This speed to the bottom engages a stretch reflex in your quads, hamstrings, and hip flexors to allow for a “springboard” affect out of the bottom of the squat. If this is done properly and with a significant amount of weight the flex of the barbell will also allow for momentum out of the bottom. Speed into the bottom is MOST IMPORTANT at heavy load as the heavier the bar the more energy you’re capable of producing which allows for the greatest amount of stretch out of the bottom. If you don’t believe me or need a great example the search for Caleb Williams clean on YouTube.
Squat so that every squat you do translates to every other squat you do. If your front squat mimics your back squat and your back squat mimics your overhead squat and your overhead squat mimics your thruster then literally every time you squat you are also getting better at a myriad of other movements. The front squat and back squat are accessory movements to make you better at the movements we actually test in competition! So make sure your squats have carryover. A low bar backsquat or squatting with my hips behind my heels has ZERO carryover to the sport of weightlifting and only benefits the deadlift for Crossfit. A highbar, vertical squat is much more useful, efficient, and athletic. Squat that way or go pick a sport where functionality doesn’t matter.
(steps off soap box)
I Love Georgia… and I miss it already!