July 1, 2015 New Edge Fitness

Your Strongest Squat

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Squats are one of the most effective whole body strength exercises. Although they are in just about every weight training program, they are rarely done well. With the advent of machine training and generic training programs, few people think of personalizing their technique based on how their body is designed. As a result many learn that squatting causes that nagging knee pain or that tweaked back and may stop squatting altogether.

We are all built differently and will have our own way of completing the squat movement. In this blog post we look at how to find you best squat form based on your body type. Uncovering your personalized squat form has more to do with developing spatial awareness and taking note of how you feel before, during and after your training. Here are the body type classifications that have different form requirements:

1) Equal length legs and torso:
Choose a medium distance stance and a medium to high bar height on your shoulders. The high bar position on the shoulders keeps the torso upright, while medium stance allows proper squat depth to be achieved.
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2) Long legs and short torso:
Lifters of these proportions do well with a high bar position on their back and a wide to medium shoulder-width stance. The short torso allows the bar to be placed higher to keep the torso in a vertical position. A wide to medium stance allows the leg limbed lifter to hinge effectively at the hip without overloading the knees and low back.
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3) Short legs and long torso:
These lifters tend to do better with a lower bar position and a narrow shoulder-width stance. The low bar position shortens the lever arm and reduces excessive loading on the longer spine. A narrower stance requires flawless hip and ankle mobility but puts less strain on the hips and knees overtime than a wider stance.
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For all body types, ensure that feet are either pointing forward or turned out no more than fifteen degrees, regardless of stance width. Even with light weight, make sure to stiffen the midsection to maintain a neutral spine while squatting. Now its time to experiment with these adjustments, note how your squats feel and get closer to you perfect squat! Next week at New Edge Fitness we discuss squat specific mobility work that will allow you to overcome your restriction points to get you squatting better.

References:
Cressey, E. (2008). Maximum strength. Da Capo Press.
Starrett, K., & Cordoza, G. (2015). Becoming a supple leopard: The ultimate guide to resolving pain, preventing injury, and optimizing athletic performance. (2nd Ed.) Las Vegas, NV : Enfield: Victory Belt Pub.

Tsatsouline, P., John, D. (2011) Easy strength -How to get a lot stronger than your competition and dominate your sport. Dragon Door Publications.

Wendler, J. (2011). 5/3/1: The simplest and most effective training system to increase raw strength.

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