What's the definition of a good squat these days? Is it how much you put on your back? How deep your get? How many reps? What is it?
All of the latter are great measurement tools to asses a trainees squat ability, however what if the form flat out sucks? Is it still a good squat if you've got 400lbs on your back and descending about 8 inches? Or is it still a good squat if you've got your ass on your calves but the back of the turtle shell?
I think we all know the answer to this, but all to often our ego's get in the way of our capabilities. So what's a good squat? Squatting the best you can within your physical capabilities without compromising technique, joint and muscular health, while appropriately pushing the threshold of those three things.
So that's it? Yup. But that doesn't mean you can't make it better! The lower the overall function of the bodies ability to properly squat within adequate ranges of motion, the lower the overall ceiling of growth within your squat numbers.
Here are three quick tips to improve the overall function of your body within your squat to soon begin working into greater ranges of motion.
1) Rollover V-Sits
Chronically tight hamstrings can dramatically ruin your squat. This dynamic mobility drill can help release the hamstrings and allow more ROM through your squat over time.
Perform this drill for 3 sets of 12. Be sure to keep your chest up and your move quickly into the stretch.
2) Squat to Stand - misery for big tight guys
Start with using a box. Be sure to get settled in as far as possible. Once settle in, pull the scapula back as tight as possible, lift the hands into a "Y" overhead, then press up to a stance out of the heels.
Perform 3 miserable sets of 10 reps.
3) Knee-stop Overhead Box Squat
Set up an apparatus in front of the knees to prevent them from moving forward more than 3 inches or so. Place a box behind you for your rear-end. Hold a dowel over your head (not a barbell), lock the elbows out and try to pull the stick apart.
Once you're set, push the hips back and attempt to keep the down pulled apart and directly above the head. Settle in, maintain core and hip tension and press out through the heels back into a stance. Perform 3 sets of 10 reps.
4) Static Hip Flexor Stretch
In a half kneeling position, maintain a straight line from knee to foot, while slightly angling the rear foot externally away from the body (1 - 2 inches). Keep the fwd foot flat and press the hips fwd into the stretch. Raise the arm of the stretched side straight up and stay square into the stretch. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds, two times per side.
Try this warm-up progression 3-4 times per week and you should begin seeing some improvement right away!
This exclusive article (and others) can be found in the latest Wannabebig Serious About Muscle Newsletter - October 1st, 2010
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Nice article but I can't see any of the videos. Youtube says they are private videos.
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Just what the DR ordered. Thanks! I suffer from chronic tightness all over my body.
Is there any benefit to holding a (time dependant) stretch for 1 or 2 minutes as opposed to 30s?
'Wir wollen frei sein, wie die Väter waren, eher den Tod, als in der Knechtschaft leben."
"We shall be free, just as our fathers were, and rather die, than live in slavery."
Good read, thanks for posting.
Awesome info, thanks for the post. Squatting is such a crucial exercise and being able to get the most out of it will enhance strength gains for sure. Nice work.
I'll personally endorse that static hip flexor stretch. That's one that my phys therapist gave me, and it really helps my knees not hurt.
"A man can no more diminish God's glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, 'darkness' on the walls of his cell." ~ C.S. Lewis