If there is anything we hope to convey during this tough time is that building great fitness programs doesn’t HAVE to be in a gym. I say that after running my own gym for over a decade. Nowadays, most gyms are a lot like home gyms, just bigger with more versions of the same equipment. So, my point isn’t that gyms are bad, but it isn’t about the equipment anymore, it is about the coaching and use behind it (which is why good gyms still have great value due to the coaching, not the tools). With that in mind, we wanted to continue great ideas of how to get the most out of your home workouts and something people may not think possible, strong squat!
How are we going to build great squats if we can’t have tons of weight available to us? We are going to focus on two key DVRT concepts, load and body position. While these ideas are extremely helpful in progressing at the gym, they are even greater for home workouts where moving up in weight may not be possible.
These two ideas came to me from different sources. Load position was inspired by my study of old time strongmen that would try to make “the same weight feel heavy”. As they say, necessity is the mother of invention. What I mean is that old strongmen didn’t have access to nearly the amount of different strength training tools that we have today. Iron was VERY expensive and these weren’t rich athletes.
In order to get really strong with what they had, they looked for ways to manipulate how that weight felt when they moved. One of the easiest ways was to change where the load was placed on their body. This kinda got lost because if you focus on barbells, they don’t have a lot of options in this regards. That is one of the things that got me so excited about DVRT Ultimate Sandbag Training, it allowed me to really utilize this concept and make some great progressions and more sophisticated forms of strength.
In DVRT we focus on moving from stable to unstable, so the first key is just knowing how to perform squats well! The deeper we can squat the greater our core stability and hip mobility. That means we develop better real world strength, can load the legs (not the low back!), and be more resilient from injury. How do we do it? DVRT Master, Cory Cripe gives some great instruction with our Press Out Squats.
Press Out Squats are actually incredibly effective if you put the right intent behind them. Heck, they played a pivotal role in my recovery from spinal surgery as I regained more strength and mobility in six weeks than the neurosurgeon had ever seen!
Yes, Dwight was a great coach!
Cory continues to show three of our DVRT squat loading progressions and while it may not LOOK different, going from front loaded to fist loaded is actually VERY different when you do it! Shoulder squats are always the most challenging because we have to resist the pull of the USB on the shoulder. Think of a moving side plank, so understanding what NOT to do is also key as I break down below.
What about the Bear Hug Squat? That is typically between our Press Out and Front Load in progression. However, it does require more load and a bigger USB to get the feedback that this squat is trying to provide.
Steve Holiner breaks down the differences in Bear Hug Squats and some of the important cues that we use that give it such power. However, load is VERY important here! So, if you don’t have a heavier USB you are better off jumping to one of those other progressions.
You would be surprised how when these concepts are taught well how many people they can positively impact!
Robin Paget does a great job of showing one of our in-between drills from being the weight in front to the shoulder in our off-set squat. This is a more one sided squat (the other arm doesn’t really bear much load) and allows us to introduce concepts like resisting rotation in the movement raising the intensity the squat.
While load position came from strongmen, the idea of body position came from gymnasts, wrestlers, and martial artists who use bodyweight training as a foundation to their training. They manipulate their bodyweight by using different leverage and position. It dawned on me, “why don’t we do that we weight training exercises?” Hence that is when we began the Sprinter Stance squat (formerly known as the staggered squat) back in 2004. So, how do you do it right? There are a few considerations to make first.
This allows us to cycle back through our squat progressions again, but for many this also makes the shoulder squat much more attainable as it is a friendlier position for most people’s pelvis as Cory explains…
Once we go through these great squat progressions, then the playbook opens up more. One way we can manipulate body position to higher level are through drills like split squats and step down/ups.
These drills really allow us to maximize the weight we are using and get better mobility and stability while we build great strength.
DVRT Master, Sean Lettero shows not only again how we progress, but if you are going to use a roller type of elevation to the leg you still want to press DOWN into the roller. Over time as you get stronger you can use less pressure.
As you can see from the awesome work that Douglas Sheppard shows we can do some things to create way more intensity that we really couldn’t do from the bilateral squat position.
University Strength Coach, Joel Gunterman also helps us bridge corrective exercise with strength in these ideas about building a better squat.
For many right now, the above may be using a couch, chair, etc. The concepts are still the same, just make sure you don’t make the back step too high!
Step-ups and step downs are both phenomenal ways to build great leg strength while sparing your low back too! Are they truly squats? I believe out of all the movement patterns they are the closest to squats and if you follow the cues that Megan Berner of Fitness Lying Down gives you can see the connection!
As physical therapist, Jessica Bento reminds us, how we use our feet is key! This leads to healthier knees and low backs while build very strong legs!
The last squats that I will leave you with are often overlooked and are amazing for building strength, stability, and mobility, that is lateral squats. In the video below you see how I use our loading concepts to challenge the movement. The point being, squats are definitely something you can use without having to do hundreds of them while you workout at home. Many people think of us as an equipment company because of our Ultimate Sandbag. We are NOT that! We are an educational company that has a tool we believe can solve so many of your fitness needs and that is why we love sharing these posts.
We hope you can stay strong and motivated during this tough time. That is why we created new DVRT programs to give to you for FREE HERE and we will keep offering 30% off all of DVRT with code “save30” HERE. We want to be right there with you and support you during this tough time!
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