AFTER TALKING ABOUT THE BENEFITS OF SQUATTING AND ISSUES PEOPLE EXPERIENCE IN OUR PREVIOUS POST, LET’S LOOK AT SOME WAYS TO REALLY NAIL THE MOVEMENT.
We’ll go through some different drills for squats, if you’ve been to one of my classes then you will probably have done a few of them. I was taught these movements from my coach Chet Morjaria at Strength Education and these positions will help you squat and move better.
They may not be comfortable but you will feel the difference. These can be used a a full session or as part of your warm up before squats.
These drills are basic and comprise of 4 exercises that will help you to achieve and maintain optimal squatting position. Not only that but they will allow you to feel how the squat is supposed to feel and provide feedback to you throughout the movements. There is no particular order but feel free to follow it as laid out here:
The four drills are:
The Wall Squat
The Goblet Squat
The Bar Squat
The Pole Squat
THE WALL SQUAT
A nice simple drill, this exercise involves you facing a wall and squatting with only your hands touching the wall.
Stand a foot’s WIDTH away from the wall in a shoulder width stance, stretch your arms out above your head and place them against the wall. Sit your hips back into a full squat with hands in constant contact with the wall but no other body parts touching the wall. Drive your knees out while squatting and keep your chest up to avoid touching the wall.
ADVANCED: Keep moving closer to the wall until you can perform the movement with toes touching the wall.
THE GOBLET SQUAT
As spoken about previously this should now be a vital part of your squat warm up, if not make it so. All you need is a kettlebell and yourself. You get direct feedback from your elbows signalling when you’ve hit the correct depth which is awesome for development of your squat.
Pick up a kettlebell and hold as close to your body, chest loaded with elbows pointing down. (I cradle the kettlebell to get the best grip for me, find out what works best for you). Standing tall with feet shoulder width apart, lower yourself into a squat. Your elbows should be inside your knees, now use your elbows to push the knees out to help open up your hips.
ADVANCED: Try and sink lower each rep and open hips as fully as possible.
THE BAR SQUAT
Not to be confused with the back squat, the bar squat is still body weight but using the bar as a support. Stand a foot away from the bar, stretch your arms out and place them on the bar.
Keeping your arms straight and in contact with the bar, lower yourself down into a perfect squat, using the bar as a guide to keep your torso upright. On the way down, send your hips back and your knees out. This will help load up your glutes and hamstrings. Use the bar to help you keep upright whilst you remain in this position for as long as you can manage. On the way up, squeeze your glutes, and drive through the heels to rise.
ADVANCED: Move closer once this becomes comfortable.
THE POLE SQUAT
Nice and simple movement, this is a squat while holding onto a pole/rack etc)
Stand almost an arms length away from the pole with a shoulder width stance. Take hold of the pole/rack with both and hands and sit back into the squat, using the pole to keep you upright and keep you from falling backwards. Keep an upright, deep squat with perfect form. Create a little movement at the bottom, using the pole to stabilize you. Whilst keeping your feet planted, move your body a little in each direction before bringing your weight back to the center. If you find a particular tight spot, create further smaller movement around that area. Continue for 2-3 minutes. This will help to loosen up and create a better bottom position for the squat.
Loosen your grip on the pole with each few squats until it’s just your finger tips touching the pole.