Leave it to the internet to make life WAY more interesting right? Nowadays because of our ability to be so connected it doesn’t take long for an idea to get traction. Unfortunately, not all ideas are good ones! No, I’m not the grumpy old “there is nothing wrong with what we have been doing for years” guy. In fact, if you have been following us at all, you know that isn’t anything close to the case. However, I do feel responsible in having a platform that is respected to shed light on ideas that could actually cause more problems than do good and the example I’m thinking about is what people are calling a “rotary” squat.
What is a rotary squat and why would someone try to add a rotational component to a squat? The good part of this whole discussion is that people are starting to see the disconnect of what we ask people to do in the gym and what they actually do in life and sport. For example, almost no sport performs a typical squat we see in the gym, they get into angles and positions that allow them to move fluidly and quickly.
The rotary squat teaches how to load one hip to create a powerful change of direction. The “rotary” part actually comes through the thoracic spine, NOT the lumbar spine, which taps into the fact we are rotational beings and the pre-loading of the body in this manner creates more power when we then explode to the other direction.
Above you see me give an example of the rotary squat (somewhat;) but also discuss many of the misunderstanding and limitations of the movement.
Having said all that, functional fitness is NOT about replicating what we do in life and sport, but building the qualities of these movements. In the case of the squat, no we never really perform a deep squat in life or sport, but that isn’t why we have people do deep squats. The reason we do so is that we are building mobility of the ankle, knee, and hip while building strength in the lower body and trunk. These are attributes we need to perform at a higher level because we are more mobile and stronger.
Does that mean we can’t progress to more sophisticated squat patterns? Not at all! As you know, we love to progress movement as long as there is purpose and systemization emphasized. We talk about multi-planar squats all the time and learning to RESIST movement is so essential before we move into going into more complex patterns.
You can see by what DVRT Master, Cory Cripe demonstrates that the Shoulder squat is one of the best examples of squats that force us to produce and resist motion at the same time. However, we have to understand the intent and progressions we have available to allow people to be successful.
You can see above how DVRT coach Filip demonstrates how we can teach people HOW to resist unwanted movement by using a Lever Bell Press Out as we perform the Shoulder Squat.
Learning to resist unwanted movement before we move to more complex patterns is essential so that we have both the strength and the coordination to control our bodies in the right manner. I’ve actually been holding back on some of these DVRT squat progressions because so many people nowadays want to do the “cool” stuff before they have ownership over the good foundations of movement. However, I wanted to share these advanced DVRT progressions because I want you to have a better understanding of what these functional fitness concepts mean!
If we are truly going to perform a “rotational” squat we have to consider a few things….
-Rotation occurs at the hip not the trunk. The trunk follows the hips so we MUST see a pivot in the motion to create force from the ground up!
-We actually want our trunk to resist unwanted movement so we look to have a “plank” as we go into the motion. Using the Ultimate Sandbag not only are we adding load to our legs, but it allows us to create tension that develops that stability and plank so we do NOT hurt our low backs.
-The stance has to be wider to allow rotation to occur and we don’t place unnecessary stress upon the knee. So, you will never achieve the same depth as you would in a more typical squat.
That is why I provided this series to see how we can use all of these DVRT concepts to not only expand what squat exercises you can use, but how you can see where we take movement. In the first drill you see me use the sprinter stance that allows me to introduce how to resist movement to my pelvis and adding in thoracic movement I am learning how to be mobile at one area and stable at another. The WHOLE time I am using the Ultimate Sandbag as a means to create the stability to allow movement I want and resist movement I do not! That is the true essence of good stability training but now we also add strength!
Functional fitness is a much bigger can of worms than most realize because you must understand human movement, not just gym exercises to make it truly successful. Try adding these concepts to your next program!
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