Is there such a thing? Sure, it is easy to call a bad squat something when the knees are collapsing inwards, but now there is a new movement where you can do whatever squat you want. At first glance, the idea that we squat in all sorts of ways in life sounds somewhat reasonable. After all, in life we don’t think of being in the perfect squat position when we are moving in life, but does that mean we should do the same in the gym?
Saying there is no “bad way to squat” is a bit irresponsible of fitness professionals because when we start loading the body things drastically change. We start not just stressing our legs, but the position of our lower body will impact the load on our spine and other very important areas like our SI Joints (if you have never hurt your SI joint, it feels VERY much like throwing out your low back).
The reality is that some of the positions people are suggesting to squat in are not only risky to the body, but make little sense. They often represent positions we wouldn’t choose in life because they are incredibly inefficient and our body always looks for the path of least resistance.
What do people REALLY want though? They want to know how to progress their squat without having to rely on just trying to go heavier and heavier. Hey, I’m the first to be all for adding load to an exercise, but we all know there is a point where we can’t just keep adding load to our body. So, how can we add more to our squat and make progress without pounding our head against the wall by just focusing on load or risking our well being by doing “unique” squats. Here are two of the easiest solutions.
People don’t think that such a squat like a DVRT Front Loaded Squat builds serious strength until they try it with right form and load!
A key concept in our DVRT system is altering load position. When we think in terms of lower body dominant exercises we change holding position before we change body position. This doesn’t mean JUST in terms of Ultimate Sandbags. One of our goals with releasing our L.I.F.T. certification was to help people see how great functional fitness tools can fit together. When it comes to building a better squat, kettlebells and Ultimate Sandbags are ideal.
Yes, a barbell could be used, but it has the lowest ability to manipulate holding position to create different training effects and progressions in the squat. Plus, when it comes to these tools we don’t have to worry about limitations in mobility of the upper body and we can use kettlebells and Ultimate Sandbags to help actually teach HOW to squat in a better way.
The Bear Hug Squat that DVRT Master, Drew McConaha shows is always underrated because how simply it cleans up the squat, but it can be a serious strength exercise. Even goblet squat innovator, Dan John, raves that the Bear Hug Squat could be even BETTER!
These progressions are not just different to be different, instead they layer progression where we establish a good squat and then add layers to challenge the squat. We accomplish all this with yes, still building strength.
DVRT Master, Cory Cripe breaks down how we build a better squat with understanding how to use the load in our movement for more than making the squat more difficult!
One of the biggest issues in helping people build progression is making changes to our body position more incremental. We often make the mistake of going from two legs to single leg, but then wonder why we struggle to have people be successful.
As a coach, I wanted to have clients perform more single leg based movements for the following reasons…..
-Moving to more single leg introduces more planes of motion meaning we train the body the way we move in life.
-We can’t hide lower body imbalances in the use of our low back. That builds greater actual strength in the legs and spares our low backs far more.
-It is a super efficient way to build stability, mobility, and strength all at once.
Sounds good right? Well how do we do it?
Moving to our Sprinter Stance is often the first step. This small change in stability allows us to help reinforce what makes for a good squat while slowly moving people to more challenging positions.
The question isn’t to use kettlebells or Ultimate Sandbags, but rather how they fit together to create synergy. Here I show you our progression series for using both tools so we can introduce both these variables into our training.
Going to different stances like our lateral squats allow us to have a large base of support while we continue our progress to more unilateral training of the squat.
Moving laterally into the squat is a great way to introduce more unilateral components, but we have to make sure to put people into the position to succeed. We go through our progressions again and learn to use load to help us in the movement.
This slowly allows us to go to split squat movements, but in order to do so we have a more narrow base of support. Being more unbalanced forces us to integrate the core with our hips to provide greater stability. The series below helps us build this quality from patterning to strengthening while reinforcing good squat mechanics. A similar process we used to establish our squat in the first place. The whole point of having a system versus random exercises.
The squat isn’t ONE exercise, but it should be thoughtful about what we are trying to achieve and the lessons of movement we are trying to offer. That is what we actually break down in our L.I.F.T. program that you can find in our Squat Module or complete L.I.F.T. certification HERE for 30% off. Don’t forget too that this week only you can get our Ultimate Sandbags for 30% off and get our COMPLETE Body Armor program for FREE with code “laborday” HERE
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