Fixing Your Squat
With Coach Andrew
Fixing Your Squat
The squat is probably one of the top ten programmed movements in all of CrossFit. Whether it be overhead, front, loaded or bodyweight we see a squat come up in many of our training sessions. Because of this, it’s something that I try to put a lot of focus on correcting. A good squat goes a long way to helping you progress in CrossFit.
A lot of the problems I see with a person’s squat (no matter the variation) have some pretty simple fixes. No special exercises or “homework” needed for the most part. Just some tweaks here and there and we can unlock some easy extra pounds. I’ll share a few of the most common ones I use for you, so you can try them out yourself!
Widen (or Narrow) Your Stance. One of the first things I do when watching a squat is I look at a person’s feet. What’s going on there? Are the heels lifting? Are they rolling one way or another? Which way are they pointed? Generally, I can make someone feel much more comfortable (and strong) by just have them move their feet in or out an inch or so at a time. I get them to do this with a light weight for as many reps as we need to find something that looks good to me and feels good to them. It doesn’t usually take more than 5 reps to get to the right position.
Sit Back First, Then Sit Down. Often times when someone talks to me about their lack of ankle mobility affecting their squat, this broken pattern is the real culprit. Generally, what I see from people is that they bend their knees first when they squat which forces you to bend at the ankle a lot more than you should. This leads to your heels coming off the floor and your squat being very unstable. Luckily, there’s an easy fix here and there’s no mobility work involved. Every time you go to squat, start by pushing your hips back slightly and then sitting down. This will keep your shins at a better angle and let you get to or below parallel without maxing out your ankle mobility. If you have a hard time with this there’s a way to help force the issue. Simply perform bodyweight squats in front of a box that is between knee and waist height. Touch your toes to the front of the box and have your hands out in front of you. Now, squat and see if you can reach parallel or below without your knees hitting the box. With a little practice, you’ll be able to nail this and see some improvement in your squats.
Look Straight Ahead (Or Slightly Up), Not Down. There’s some debate about this one, but for me it’s an easy fix that always has good results. Often times when people are looking down this makes their chest point downwards as well. While this is okay when things are light, it can be really problematic when things get heavy. If you trying to come up with a heavy squat and you’re looking down you’re more than likely going to fail because your hips will rise up too fast and your back won’t be able to bring you to an upright position to finish the lift. Instead, always have your gaze straight ahead or slightly up and keep it there when things get hard. This will help keep your chest up and keep your shoulders rising with your hips. That can be the difference between failing a lift or hitting a new PR. We all like PRs, right?
If you’re struggling with feeling comfortable when you squat go ahead and give one of these a try. Happy squatting!
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