Tuesday – 102610 – Squat, Burpee, Sit-up, Row

The man, the legend... smiles - mid workout

Warm-up:

Burgener warm-up (PVC)
Burgener warm-up (BB)

Squat:

WU-WU-10-5-3-1

3 rounds for time:

15 Burpees
30 Sit-ups
400 M row

Post thoughts and times to “comments”.

Full Depth Squats

The squat is the core movement any good strength and conditioning program, as it is the best exercise in existence for developing functional strength, and the back squat is the best version of the squat to build strength because it allows the lifter to move the highest loads of all 3 primary variations (back, front, overhead).  The deadlift is a close second in building functional strength, but the range of motion exhibited in a full depth back squat utilizes more musculature, causing the most effective and efficient way to get stronger.  Other benefits of the squat are developing back strength by loading the spine in proper alignment, increasing flexibility by forcing the stretching of the posterior chain under a load, and building character in the face of adversity because max effort back squats are extremely difficult and require a steely mindset to execute effectively.

Increasing weight on the bar is a key factor in increasing functional strength and receiving the most benefit from the back squat, but more important than load lifted, and the key to a successful squatting session, is full depth on the squat.  Full depth on the squat is known as being “below parallel”, and in practice is when the crease of the hip is below the knee at the bottom of the squat.  This is relatively easy to see by anyone with 2 eyes, and is absolutely essential if one is to achieve the desired effects from the back squat, or any squat for that matter.  The primary reason for going below parallel on the squat is so the lifter can properly stretch the hamstrings and adductors (groin) and utilize the stretch-shortening cycle of the posterior chain, which allows for a slight bounce at the bottom, and subsequently higher loads lifted.  Utilizing all the muscles of the posterior chain also allows all of the musculature that supports the knee to be strengthened, which will cause the knees to become more durable, reduce injury, and in some cases eliminate knee pain.  Pushing the knees out so that they are aligned with the feet (which are pointed slightly out in a proper squat), allows the hips to open, and thus the lifter can drop to below parallel.  The most common cause for damaging the knees during squatting, and the reason the squat has been demonized in some fitness circles, is knees drifting together on the squat, and not going to full depth.  Properly performed squats strengthen the knees and will reduce the chance of injury during other high impact endeavors like sprinting, basketball, softball, etc.

Next time you find yourself in the box doing squats, which is most days because we do a variation of the squat at least 4 days out of the week, ensure you’re getting proper depth by having your lifting partner or a coach observe your lift and provide feedback.  Performing full depth squats over time will ingrain the movement in your brain and allow you to repeat the depth in any circumstance.  If you find you are unable to achieve full depth on a squat, REDUCE THE WEIGHT ON THE BAR and try again until you are able to achive full depth.  Perform the movement and don’t add weight until you are able to consistently execute the movement properly.  This will allow safe development of the knees, and the most efficient way to steadily add weight so that you know you’re actually completing the lift.  For a great article on the reasons for going to full depth on the squats read this article.

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