The Back Squat has often been referred to as "the King of Exercises" because it uses a great deal of the body's musculature and is therefore very efficient in making you bigger and stronger.
Really, squats are a full body exercise, though most people will view them as a leg exercise due to the demands placed on the quads, hamstrings & glutes.
While squatting is a very natural manoeuvre, there are a few points that need to be covered to ensure that you're doing them safely and effectively.
Exercise for maximum strength development:
· Overall strength increases
· Increased ligament and tendon strength
· Increased bone density
· Increasing of strength in the movements involving the trunk, lower back, hip and knee.
· Improved neuromuscular efficiency that aids performance in biomechanically similar movements
PREPARING THE LIFT:
· Place the bar on the rack, slightly below the shoulder (bar under armpit)
· Always rack forwards
· Position yourself mid bar (across the ledge created by the scapulae) rear of the bar
· Hands evenly space (grip should be outside the shoulders)
· Feet directly under the bar
· Retraction of the shoulders and elevation of the chest
· Brace the trunk and take a short step back wards
START AND FINISH POSITION:
· Keep up throughout lift
· Maintain normal curve of the lower spine
· Correct shoulder and chest position throughout
· Foot position, flat on the floor shoulder-with apart with toes pointing slightly forward
· Those with long legs and poor flexibility will benefit from a wider stance
· At the start of the lift take a deep breath in and hold until final stages of the lift. (brace the trunk muscular)
· Begin by flexing the hips and knees simultaneously.
· Keep trunk upright throughout lift
· Knees should move in line with toes
· As you descend the weight is moved backwards towards the heel
THE BOTTOM POSITION:
· Normal lumbar curve with chest pointing upwards
· Downward movement finishes when the centre point of the hip joint passes below the knee
· This means the femur will pass below parallel with the floor
· Important for athletes
· Hamstrings and glute do not become fully activated until the hips pass below the knee
· Pressure on the knee is reduced as the thigh passes parallel
· Feet stay flat on the floor throughout the lift, weight is towards the heels from the bottom position, drive upwards and backwards explosively to the start position, leading the movement with the chest.
These are just a few pointers on the back squat. If any of the members are looking to improve the Olympic Lifting or Strength & Conditioning I’m available for 1 to 1 sessions, also if your you are suffering from any aches and pains a Sports Massage can help to reduce stress and promote well-being.
James - CrossFit Chiltern Coach and Sports Massage Therapist