Monday, October 30, 2006

Squat - Squat - Squat

Great exercise - funny looking word...

Just realized as I wrote squat 3 times that it is a funny looking little word - and a great exercise.

Now in my mind the Deadlift is the "king" of barbell lifts but the squat is a damn close second and an exercise that I really like. When you hit the form right and you have the bar wedged in your upper back and you are ready to descend into the hole it is a great moment. Feeling the weight across your back is a very different feeling from wedging the weight off the ground in the deadlift. Hitting the hole (and I mean Powerlifting below parallel) and knowing that you have to stand back up with the weight on your back is another great moment.

Couple of recent epiphanies regarding the squat:
I lift raw (belt only) for my squats and the raw squat groove is a bit different from the geared squat form. With the way gear has evolved you see a more upright body position and a wide stance. In the raw form you see a more hips back almost good morning style. These are generalities but seem to hold pretty true. I had let the geared form influence my raw squat form by trying to be more upright with a higher bar position and a wider stance.
While driving cross country I had the opportunity to lift with my friend Jeff O'Connor - and he immediately busted me on my form mistakes. Since moving the bar lower on my back and wedging my upper body between the bar and sitting my hips back my squat has felt great.
Today I hit 5 sets of 2 reps at 405 and felt like I could have been quite a bit heavier for my sets.

So a lower bar position, sitting the hips back and moderate stance have allowed me to find my groove on the squat and will assist me greatly in getting to a 500+ squat for my raw elite goals.

For clients and non-powerlifters the choice to back squat is a personal one. Good back squats are very form intensive and require you to dedicate yourself to squatting. Most people will get the squat benefits without the risk by front squatting. Kettlebell front squats being my favorite variation since it is very easy on the wrists and also works your breathing muscles in the process.

So, back squat, front squat, single leg squat or whatever variation you choose - get to Squatting.
But learn how and learn well.


Anonymous said...

Great to see some writing on the squat! Not often mentioned on least by the non power lifting crowd. I haven't done weighted squats for quiet a while now and do miss the movement. I'm following the ETK protcol now, with deadlifts once a week on a variety day.
Any suggestions for adding squats into the mix?

Brett, really enjoying your blog and soaking up the great information.
Thanks for all of your hard shows here.


Brett Jones said...

You could throw in some low volume (3x3) squats on an "off" day or on a second ETK variety day. If the volume is low and the weights are reasonable (as they should be since you haven't squatted in a while) You could add them to one of the ETK days. Lots of ways to go with this one.

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