Today’s workout makes me happy. Any day spent with a heavy bar on my back is a good day. We squat a lot at CF818 because it literally improves every movement in CrossFit. Squatting is the cornerstone of any strength and conditioning program. They strengthen what I like to call the “go” muscles, the hips, back, hamstrings, and quads. These muscles are the key to elite athletic performance.
In today’s post I’d like to talk about four major faults that I commonly see regarding the back squat and give you some tips on how to fix them.
Improper Set Up - A lot of problems begin before the bar is ever taken from the rack. Find a hand position that you can remember, that’s as close to your shoulders as possible while still being comfortable. Center the bar at the base of your traps. You never want the weight to be off center. Before un-racking the bar get your feet shoulder width apart, squeeze shoulders blades and drive the bar out of the rack. This gets your mind and body ready to squat. Take a step back with each foot. This leads me to the next fault.
Rushing it - When the weight starts to get heavy, I see people get a little nervous and rush the first rep. After you’ve taken the bar out and stepped back there are a few very important steps. Calm Down! Now, check your feet, they should be shoulder with apart, in line with each other, and have toes are slightly pointed out. Squeeze your shoulder blades together. Every part of your back should be tight. I personally like to pull the bar down into my traps. It makes me feel tighter. Now comes the three cues I tell myself every time I squat… Butt back, knees out, and chest up. Keep your back tight and upright! Most squats are failed because of the back, not the legs.
Slow Decent and Speed - This is another fault that happens when the weights get scary. You should squat at the same speed with and empty bar as you do with your max. If you slow the decent, you are missing out on the stretch reflex in your knees and hamstrings. That slight bounce out of the bottom can be the difference in a PR, or getting stapled to the platform. When you descend slowly, you get out of the bottom position slowly, and make the squat harder on yourself. Come out of the bottom of the squat like a rocket is strapped to your back. An object in motion stays in motion. Boom. Science.
Mental Toughness - Squatting heavy is hard. That is never going to change, trust me. I promise, it will improve everything in the gym, and make your life easier. Get aggressive. Un-rack that bar like it weightless, get set, and hammer out those reps. Hold your breath during the squat phase, breathe at the top, and repeat.
I usually don’t go the gym Tuesday nights, but I’ll be there because I want to see some great back squats! If you need any help, I’m a board certified Level 5 spotter. As usual, I’ll leave you with at link to a funny Ron Swanson video. Pyramid of Greatness.
Coach Armen isn't afraid of Back Squats. (He is a little nervous about a certain Olympic lift)
Part A: Back Squat 3x5
Part B: 12 Min AMRAP
6 Broad Jumps (6"/5")
12 Push Ups
Posted by Tyler.