The back squat, the mother of all lifts and more technical than you think

May 9, 2010


I’m learning a lot from the Crossfit Barbell Club, which meets three days a week and has a focus on strength conditioning instead of the general fitness conditioning that a regular Crossfit workout trains you for.  Although my cardio will probably suffer a bit, it is a necessary evil in order to maximize my lifts.  Our main focus are on four types of lifts: the back squat, military press, bench press, and deadlift.  What is surprising is how technical some of these lifts actually are and that you can cut out 80% of the crap that you do in the gym.  Tricep pulldowns?  Please.  Lets take, for example, the back squat.  Most people simply approach the bar, squat, come back up, and call that a rep.  In reality, proper squatting for requires so much more than that.  Here are a few things that you need to keep in mind at all times.

1) Bar rests on the posterior deltoid

2) Head is in a neutral position looking down

3) Hand rests over the bar in a neutral position

4) Elbows are up

5) Entire body is engaged throughout the movement

6) Ass back, lumbar curve engaged as you come down

6) Crease of the hips go below the knees

7) Push your knees out as you come up

That’s quite a lot of information to process and remember during the lift.  The reason why the back squat (as well other compound lifts) is so effective is that your entire body is getting a workout if done properly.  For size and strength, heavy compound movements are the name of the game.  Here is an example of a typical day:

1st exercise – Back squat

Bar, 5 reps

30% of working weight, 5 reps

60% of working weight, 5 reps

90% of working weight, 3 reps

Working weight, 3 X 5 reps

2nd exercise – Bench press or Military Press

bar, 5 reps

30% of working weight, 5 reps

60% of working weight, 5 reps

90% of working weight, 3 reps

Working weight, 3 X 5 reps

3rd exercise – Chin ups (3 max sets) or Deadlift (1 x 5 reps)

Yes, that’s it.  Forget most of that other shit that you do at the gym.  Concentrate on the big boys.  Happy squatting.

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