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The Most Important Squats

sandbag training


The other week I discussed how not all squats are created equal (you can read HERE). Understanding that squats are more than just a lower body exercise allows us to achieve more from the squat. One of the big lessons to looking deeper into what a squat can be, is that we can develop more functional fitness if we choose to be more thoughtful about what makes for a really important squat. 

Back in the day, I was right with most. I thought I had to hammer my back squats if I wanted to be strong. My back squat was pretty decent, but I also had to continually battle pain in my low back and right hip as I chased the numbers on my squat. Then I heard legendary strength coach, Mike Boyle, speak about how he doesn’t back squat because the limiting factor is often not the legs or glutes, but the low back. 

If you didn’t freak out, like so many did, and actually thought about what Coach Boyle was saying there was a lot of sense there. Yes, there is the rare lifter who is able to back squat without having the low back be an issue. Yet, if you look in the gym or training centers you will find 99% have a struggle with the fact their low backs can lift more than their pelvis can stabilize. 

Coach Boyle’s biggest point was that in life, our legs can only produce as much strength as our pelvis/core can control. That’s true, I’m working with a Marine right now who can’t even run for his fitness test because back squats really messed with his back. Upon some testing of how his body is working, this guy’s legs are strong. Yet, his pelvis is a mess!!! When he runs his pelvis is so off that anything he built with his back squat is pretty much useless. 

I know, you want to scream about technique. However, if you stop to look at the demands of his job, his odd schedule, and so on, you have to ask, is the back squat even helpful for such a person, a person who is a lot like you and me in issues we find in the body. That is why spinal expert, Dr. Stuart McGill recommends the side plank as a main test for core stability, because how we control our pelvis is more than what we do moving up and down. 


It was looking at this old time book that made me re-think how we squat and move when we are not in the gym!

That is why over a decade ago I realized something that athletes knew forever. We rarely perform a squat motion with both feet firmly planted on the ground. Athletes know that having both feet firmly planted makes it hard to change direction and you are slow. Who cares though if you are just chasing strong and muscular legs? 

Because if we take the lessons from Coach Boyle, the science from Dr. McGill, and the years of experience of athletes, we realize the best squat isn’t what most of us would think. That is where our Sprinter Stance squat comes into play. A bit of an off-set position that helps us progress to more single leg exercises, build power, load the body, and get incredible range of motion that makes exercises like hip thrusts look like a poor man’s exercise for the glutes. 


It is funny how people love to say they do things because “they have always been done this way”, but the truth is that most people don’t know how things have always been done!

It isn’t difficult and the options with kettlebell and Ultimate Sandbags allow us to build a better integration in the whole body where we develop stability, mobility, strength, and balance. The HIGHEST level of this movement comes in the form of the Shoulder Sprinter squat which is why it is part of our Big 6 exercises. DVRT Master and kettlebell expert, Steve “Coach Fury” Holiner breaks down how and why this will become the most important squat you begin to use in your programs. 

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