22
Oct
08

You Don’t Know Squat

I love squats.

On days that I train lower body I usually try to do about five to six different versions of squats.  Yesterday was a great squat day for me.  I usually stick around 220 pounds on squats but I was feeling so good I bumped it up to 280.  It felt awesome.  After I did the squat of course.

Next time you are in the gym look around.  See if there is anyone over at the squat rack.  very few people like to do squats.  Most men would much rather work out their upper bodies.  Neglecting lower body will throw you off balance, make it harder to lose body fat, and make muscle gains in the upper body more difficult.

There are 2 AWESOME articles about squatting technique in the new NSCA journal.

Here are the highlights:

  • The squat does not place excessive strain on the ACL
  • PCL forces will increase with a full depth squat
  • A forward or upward gaze can help to prevent lower back strain
  • Full squats activate ALL the lower body muscles!
  • Speed of movement does not dramatically alter forces on the knee joint during deep squats
  • Deeper squats will cause greater forces on the knee joint (not necessarily a bad thing)
  • Foot placement (toes in, out, straight) doesn’t seem to influence muscle activation. Only a very wide stance incorporated more of the adductors
  • Strong hamstrings will increase knee stability during the squat


Conclusion?

  • Take a wider stance (at least shoulder width – if not wider)
  • Natural foot positioning (similar to other athletic movements)
  • Heels in contact with the floor
  • Gaze forward or upward
  • Go full depth if possible
  • Maintain lordotic curve in lower back


Trouble with keeping the weight on your heels?

Stretch hip flexors, back extensors, calves

Can’t squat deep?

Widen and externally rotate feet
Stretch ankle, knee, hip and low back muscles

Knees cave in?

table squat

  • Place light band around knees as a guide
  • Strengthen hip abductors


There are many varieties of squats – so find one that works for you.

Go squat!

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