Tips on a Great Squat by Coach Gemma
Why should I want a great Squat?
Squats are a beautiful thing, they will make you strong, athletic and support many other movements. The squat being the most functional movement in CrossFit will develop tremendous strength and physique gains.
But rarely do we see great squats, even from the most advanced and well trained athletes. Mainly because we forget to keep training the movement as it is designed and become sloppy with training once we think we can squat. By doing this we are missing our potential growth.
Overhead Squat – ah yes, a movement that will highlight many mobility & technical flaws. The Overhead Squat is also the finish position for the Snatch. In Olympic Lifting we use the Overhead Squat to develop and train the Snatch. However, with CrossFit we train the Overhead Squat like any movement; we use it functionally, as an accessory and in strength and therefore it needs good execution.
Where am I going wrong?
The main issues we commonly see are;
Torso leaning too far forward
Chest isn’t proud and tall
Not squatting low enough
Heels coming up
Low back rounding (butt wink)
Knees driving inwards
My heels are elevating in the Overhead Squat
Is it my ankles?
If we take some 2.5kg plates and place them under the heels, this will create some ‘space’ around the ankles. It allows more dorsiflexion and allows the foot to get closer to the lower leg.
If you notice this makes a different, then you know that your ankles are the issue and you should invest in mobilising and supporting ankle mobility.
What the hell is a butt wink and am I doing it?
If you butt wink in your squat, where your lower back loses tension and curves under the hips. Essentially the hips and ankles turn off and the lower back takes over.
Developing a tighter core and strengthening the back will help support you better into the decent of a squat and out train the butt wink.
My chest falls forward
Commonly in squat, especially overhead we will see the chest falling forward and the squat representing more of a ‘scissor’ look that a nice tall proud chest.
By holding a weight out in front of you (like a driving wheel) it acts as a counterweight and pushes us back into our heels.
With the arms out in front, rather than overhead, the upper torso is in a better position. Most people are incredibly tight in their thoracic spine (section of the spine from the base of the neck to the bottom of the rib cage) from sitting at a desk all day. Making mobility improvements through thoracic spine and developing core muscle to engage, will all support and more upright torso.
What do you need to fix and what do you need from your coach? Personal Training is a great way to develop, understand and work on these imperfections. Your ‘go to Coaches’ are here to help develop better athletes, so tell us where you are going wrong.
Ankles: mobilize, stretch and soft tissue work
Core and Low Back: stablization and activation
Shoulders and Upper Body: Improve T-Spine Mobility
Hips and Knees: Strengthen Glutes, Mobilize Hips and Abductors
You must appreciate your body and what it can and cannot do – look after it, support it, mobilise it and get strong. You can’t put a price on being able to move well.