A highly functional squat exercise which pretty much uses every muscle !
- Choose a barbell of suitable weight. If this exercise is new to you then use a dowell rod or broom stick to begin with and only progress to heavier bars when you can perform the movement perfectly ! Be aware that this exercise is much more difficult than any other squat and therefore the weight of the bar will be less than your back-squat or front-squat weight.
- Begin by taking a squat stance at about shoulder width. Feel free to rotate your feet up to 30 ̊ so your toes point slightly away from each other. Take the bar with a wide grip and push it above your head and lock out the elbows so the bar is vertically above your shoulders. At this point you should take a deep breath in (use your diaphragm) and then draw in your abdominal wall, then, holding your breath, descend into the squat. Aim to get your thighs parallel to the ground but only squat as low as you can without letting the bar deviate forwards from its position vertically above the shoulders. At the lowest point begin to exhale and push the floor away from you, returning to a standing position, arms still vertical. your spine must remain neutrally aligned throughout i.e. you must maintain a lumbar curve.
- You must look out for the following points, if they occur then its possible the bar is too heavy or you do not have the flexibility to squat that low and you should shorten your range of movement until you can perform it perfectly to the full desired depth:
- Heels lift off the floor as your weight shifts onto your balls of your feet (stretch calves)
- The arms and thus the bar deviate forwards from their vertical position (stretch lats + pec minors)
- The spine rounds or the trunk bends forwards beyond the angle of your shins during the movement (stretch hams, calves and strengthen lower back + core). The trunk and shins should be at a similar angle throughout.
- The knees buckle inwards or the ankles pronate during the movement (strengthen inner core unit)
- Any lateral movement to either side or any rotation to either side (indicates a restriction at a joint on the side moved away from)
- Fit the movement in around the breathing and remember to keep your abs tensed and spine neutral. Try 10 reps. For a more detailed description and demonstration of this complicated exercise come and see one of our Personal Trainers/Exercise Specialists