Reflections on the Grind

thoughts on training and life of an introvert

Lifts series: Squat

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I will start writing about my main lifts for a little bit in a short series. They won’t be consecutively posted but I will try to wrap them up before too long.

There are probably thousands of articles and hundreds of videos teaching you how to do these exercises. But these are about my personal feelings about them. Nothing too technical here. I’m by no means an expert. I’ve been lifting for less than two years. My lifts are pretty average. Still, I know more than when I started out. If there are somebody out there at my two-years-ago level (skinny late-30s who has never picked up a weight before), the posts can be a tiny bit useful. Anyway, let’s begin.

All these lifts can be done with just a barbell, a flat bench, and a power rack. No fancy machines are needed. They are minimal, like me.

Lift 1: Squat

The best leg workout there is. The basic setup is to rest the barbell somewhere on your body, stand up straight, squat down until you hit parallel (hip crease below knees), then stand up. Pretty straightforward. It’s a natural human movement. Kids squat all the time to pick things up or to rest their legs. The squat should feel natural when you perform the movement.

There are different variations to the squat. Three main bar positions are high bar (on traps) back squat, low bar (below rear delts) back squat, and front squat. Feet width can be close stance, middle stance, wide stance. By varying along these two parameters you have already nine squat variants that work muscles to a different degree. Then you can customize the squat in even more different ways such as pausing at the bottom or even starting there.

I’m not comfortable doing low bar squat as it hurts my shoulders. With front squat, I have trouble securing the bar in place when going heavy. Everybody is built differently. My natural squat stance is high bar squat.

The high bar back squat “body checklist” that works for me is
1. Back flat. Don’t round it or you will get hurt.
2. Head neutral with back. Don’t look too high or low.
3. Toes out, knees out the same direction.
4. Tighten everything. Squeeze bar, pull shoulder blades back, squeeze glutes.
5. Fill stomach with air to tighten core. Don’t exhale until rep is completed.
6. Sit down to parallel.
7. Then imagine pushing feet through the floor as you stand up, extend knees and hips at the same time.
8. Keep bar directly above feet at all time.

Squat builds the base of your body. It gives you strong quads, hamstrings, glutes, and core. It’s awesome. Everyone should do it. It also builds confidence like no others. With the weight pushing you down, you force yourself back up. Just like life.


Written by Rop

February 4, 2016 at 8:32 pm

Posted in training

Tagged with , , ,

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