Bro, SHOULD You Even Squat?
Squatting is a basic and fundamental human movement, yet out here in the Western world many of us have totally lost touch with it and have thrown it in the “exercise” category box rather than kept it as part of our daily activities. A Squat has benefits that can help us get out of our sedentary lifestyle – it may even save your life!
When I mean a squat, I mean below parallel, “ass-to-grass” squat, which few of us in the western world can perform.
Our ancestors squatted all the time. We used to squat so much as children and now many of us sit for most of the day and do not squat anymore, except perhaps at the gym…sometimes.
People have lost the ability to squat because they have stopped doing it.
Many young people cannot squat properly and this is a shame. Perhaps this is due to our modern day sedentary lifestyle in our Western culture. Look at how squatting is part of the daily activity in Eastern countries. People squat to eat, squat to hang out, squat to …go to the toilet…lol. Its just what they do on a regular basis, as opposed to sitting.
If you want to be able to move well when you become older, you need to squat everyday! You should definitely maintain and practice it on a regular basis. It will keep you young, mobile and strong! It will enable you to maintain full range of motion in your hips, knees, and ankles, and may even stave off arthritis.
It’s time for you to regain this natural ability to “sit on one’s haunches”.
Squatting is the New Sitting
I challenge you to make squatting the “new” sitting position. Squat EVERYDAY because its important!
Here is my program for you to regain your squatting ability and to give you the ultimate squat for a lifetime. Make sure to practice it on a regular basis!
Checking out an SFG candidate’s Front Squat during SFG1 testing in Seoul. No problem here!
Untie the Chair
First, you must “UNTIE the CHAIR”. If you are someone that does not squat regularly, follow this sequence of corrective exercises for a few weeks before adding load. You can practice it everyday or every other day.
Mobility and Flexibility “Untie the Chair” Program
- Hamstring Strap Stretch x 10 (both sides)
- Hip Flexor Stretch x 10 breaths (both sides)
- Tactical Frog x 20
- Rib-Pull / Bretzel x 10 breaths (both sides)
- Toe Touch progression x 10 breaths
- Rocking with Core Activation 2-3 x 5-10
- Bodyweight Squat with TRX or Rings 2-3 x 5-10
- Cossack Squat 2-3 x 5-10
- Face-the-Wall Squat 2-3 x 5-10
STABILIZE: The midsection muscles must contract first in order for the rest of the body to do its job properly. This will stabilize the torso to keep the back in a neutral and safe position, and also let the legs and do their job properly
Start easy with bodyweight squats and cossack squats.
Find the Perfect Stance
Have you ever squatted in front of the campfire roasting marshmallows? The perfect squat stance should allow you to hold the bottom position comfortably for an extended period of time. Hold on the something stationary like a TRX.
Squat down, rock bottom,and shuffle your feet around to find “catcher’s stance”. It should be more or less shoulder with apart, with your toes out to about 30 degrees.
Face the Wall
Stand a few inches in front of wall and try to squat. You will notice it is impossible to go down without pushing the butt back and starting the movement at the hips. If you start the descent with your knees, they will hit the wall.
Go down with the hips first, followed by the knees. Open you hips on the way down. Keep a “proud” chest and go as low as possible without rounding your back. This is a “self-correcting” exercise. Practice alternating with Cossack Squat: 2-3 x 5-10
Teaching the Face-the-Wall Squat to my student Jeremy.
Now it’s time to add load. Use the three P’s and three S’s for a sick Goblet Squat.
Squatting is a full-body movement, its not just working out your “legs”. Although yes, the legs are the prime movers, the upper- body is very involved and active.
The torso is statically contracted to prevent it from collapsing. Here you will learn how to integrate the entire body as one unit in the squat.
On the Descent, Pry Your Hips Open
You will hear the cue: “Push your knees out!” or “Open your hips!” I believe both to be correct within a different context. A better one is to externally rotate the hips out to initiate the descent.
Create space inside your hips. This will keep the knees safe while tracking the feet, provided the stance is adequate.
Spread the load (tension) throughout your entire body, not just a single joint or muscle group.
Try the Prying Goblet Squat
Remember to keep your abs contracted even at the bottom of the squat. DO NOT round your back! Practice 3-5 x 3-5.
Pry Your Spine
As you descend into the squat, visualize traction being created in your spine. Create SPACE between each vertebrae and get “as tall as possible.”
Use your strength and “pull yourself down.” Do not be passive on the way down. Instead strongly contract your hips flexors to do an active negative in the squat. Imagine that someone is trying to hold you up while you want to go down.
Pry Your Chest Open
Keep a big “proud” chest, force your shoulders down away from your ears and strongly brace your abs (plank). Compact the abs throughout the squat to stabilize the spine.
Keep a proud chest and force the shoulders down. Imagine your torso to be one solid piece. The squat is a moving plank.
Distribute the weight evenly throughout your entire foot.
Pivot off your elbows for greater squat depth. Make the tip of your elbow touch the “tear-drop” muscle of the inner knee, without going too deep, to create a pivot point.
From there, keeping the back straight, sink deeper into to squat by “pivoting” off your elbows.
Attack the Floor
Push your feet through China as you stand and grip the deck with your toes. Grunt at the sticking point and plank at the top.
Grunt to come up! Research has shown that grunting through the sticking point in squat amplifies intra-abdominal pressure, increasing stability in the spine, making it safer to squat. strength.
Take a sharp inhalation through your nose, as you descend and as you initiate the ascent grunt to come up. As you exhale, compress the air into your lower abdomen and visualize sending the air into your legs like balloons.
Stand up “ram-rod” straight as in a Plank. Your glutes, abs, quads, lats, pecs, feet and hands (grip) must contract. You are as solid as granite.
There is controversy in this, but the research is clear: a posterior pelvic tilt at the bottom puts pressure on the low back discs.
Because of your genetics, you may have deep hip sockets, which won’t allow a super deep squat. That is ok. Stay in the safe zone by sticking the tailbone out and keeping the back flat. Stop before that position breaks.
If you are unsure, have someone qualified watch you or you can even do it yourself: put the back of one hand on your low back next to the tailbone. Squat and “feel” at which point you start to lose that position. Be aware on how that feels and re-create the sensation during the squat.
Go Bottom’s Up
This is an extremely effective drill to fix a squat! Yes its that powerful! Clean one or two Kettlebells bottom’s up, crush the handles and squat! Watch it be nearly perfect.
What’s Next? Wave It! Load It!
If you have followed the instructions carefully and practiced each point you should have improved your squat substantially. The best way to own a perfect movement is to load it and its new range of motion.
Do the following 8-week Squat program based on load “waviness” and variability. Use two main weights for the program: 8-10RM and 4-5RM kettlebell Front Squat or a 70-75% 1RM and 80-85% 1RM loaded barbell Front Squat.
Feel free to have a “kettlebell” day and a “barbell” day OR you may mix and match both barbell and kettlebells on the same day. The choice is yours. Keep it simple.
Warm-up with 3 x 3-5 Prying Goblet Squats.
|1/33||5,3,2||(4,3,2,3) x 2|
|2/42||5,3,4,3||(4,3,2) x 3|
|3/53||4 x 5||5,3,4,2,3,4,5,3,4|
|4/22||5,3 x (2,3), 2|
|6/70||5,4,5,4||5,3,2,5,3,5||2 x (5,3,2), 5,4|
|7/56||5,4,5||3 x (2,3), 3||4 x (2,3),2,2|
|8/30||6 x (2,3)||5,4,3,2, TEST 1RM|
Trackback from your site.