Yesterday was “Star Wars Day” and you might be thinking, Harold this post is late, what the hell are you doing? To that I reply “A wizard is never late, nor is he early, he arrives precisely when he means to.”* Why can’t we all be friends that live long and prosper?!*
You may recognize my egregious confusion of story lines and including Lord of the Rings and Star Trek in a Star Wars reference. It’s en-vogue to reference nerd/pop-culture, and
there are the pretentious true fans that may be aghast at these horrid combinations. While I love the stories, I don’t find the world imploding if somebody confuses them. They’re all great in their own regard.
That’s exactly how I feel about squats.
The squat is important. It’s something that we do every day, every time we sit down, be it at a desk, on the couch after work, or when you check your texts when you go to the bathroom. That movement is a big part of your daily routine, and executing it properly is a prerequisite to loading it. Remember kids, don’t put strength on top of dysfunction.
Once you can demonstrate a sound squat pattern, you can load it if you so choose. The squat is one of the most neurally and metabolically demanding exercises you can use in a program: It requires many muscles to coordinate movement, and it makes them work hard. For many, squatting is an important aspect of their training program.
Thing is, I don’t really care how you squat. I just care that you squat.
The back squat is the young ruler of the squat kingdom; it’s given god-like status, but is immature and fickle. Not many can achieve a good looking squat. Many ‘in the know’ will use an anterior loaded squat to achieve better depth and quality of movement. A barbell loaded front squat has great potential for loading, while a goblet squat is one of the most user-friendly squats out there. Remember, “Differences of habit and language are nothing at all if our aims are identical and our hearts are open.”*
If you’re brand new to squatting, the Goblet squat is going to be your best friend. You may want to elevate your heels to better achieve depth:
Eventually you’ll run out of dumbbells, and that may happen rather quickly. Using a barbell helps eliminate issues with load limit. I doubt that you’ll run out of space on a barbell. Front squats will be your next best option, but don’t let them hurt your wrists.
This is the end of the road for most people. Many want to back squat, but it may not be friendly to their leverages or they can’t do it without pain. That’s fine. There are plenty of other bad ass lifts that you can include in your training. Here’s an example of me doing a form check with 90% of my old 1RM.
I should note that I’m not trying to squat ass to grass; I’m trying to hit parallel. This was in preparation for my second powerlifting meet. If you’re training for powerlifting, then you have to back squat.
Seasoned liters will argue about one squat being better than others. “Back squats are bad-ass.” or “Goblet squats don’t look as cool.” You know what doesn’t look as cool? Not being able to squat properly. If you’re struggling to squat comfortably or hit depth, then you need to take a step back to take a step forward. Take a video of yourself doing a squat; video can’t lie. If you’re not pleased with what you see, try on the Goblet squat for size. You’re almost gaurenteed a prettier pattern.
May is going to move past us quickly, and I want to make sure you feel comfortable with the pattern before the month is over. If you’re having trouble with any squat variation, feel free to send your videos my way and I’ll help you trouble shoot them. May squats be with you.
*If you can tell me who said all of those things, you just won yourself a free month of programming. Drop your answer in the comments below. Bonus points for full names.