The SQUAT – its mechanics and individual variation, part 2
In part 1 we analysed the ‘Barbell Squat’ and discussed a number of key modifiers, highlighting the important differences relevant to performance. Before we continue it is important to note that there is not one best way to squat. There are literally dozens of variables which can alter your technique whether they be physical characteristics or specific motor patterns and individual habits. Our coaches at Pinnacle Performance have the necessary experience and qualifications to hit the key adjustments in assisting you to achieve your peak squat. Here you can see a video of a conventional Back Squat, and below we have outlined some of the common points we see in the gym.
If you have trained at Pinnacle for a full cycle you will know that accessory movements and new challenging exercises are a big part of the ‘Strength & Power’ programmes (particularly ‘Adapt’). It is essential to build a well rounded base of efficient movement patterns around your major lifts. Of course to improve your squat you will need to squat but there is significant scientific backing to show that coordination, body awareness and balance (including proprioception) will improve your major lifts.
This is one of the reasons why you will see a variety of exercises to improve dynamic and isometric core work, hamstring strengthening and isolated posterior chain work. Prowler sessions, ‘Nordics’, ‘Glute Hamstring Raises’, ‘Arabeses’ and overhead/single leg work make up a good proportion of accessory exercises that will appear in your periodised programs.
Bar Placement Height and Grip:
We often get asked if the bar is ‘too low’ or ‘too high’ when you are setting up for your squat. There are certainly are differences between a high and low bar set but essentially this one comes back to what you are comfortable with. This is the most important factor when learning to squat, just make sure you are comfortable and the bar is securely locked in. This is achieved with a narrow grip, elbows forward and an ‘engaged’ core. Specific individual adjustments will be added when coaching staff feel they are warranted.
As a final note: people with longer torsos will benefit from a lower bar height to decrease the moment arm between the hip and the bar. Ask a coach next time you are squatting to help you out or if you have any questions.
Pinnacle Performance is the leading Strength and Conditioning gym in Hong Kong because of the excellence in prescription and coaching of such exercises, as well as the individualisation of programmes that tailor a rounded approach to exercises like the squat, through graded and integrated progression. Having a coach on hand and analysing your technique during a Group Development Session (GDS) is crucial to monitor these individual differences and help improve your technique, not only with the squat, but will all exercises.
Contact us now for further advice or start your free one week’s trial with us!