Monday Nov 7th, 2011

Coach Rip defines good form in the squat as follows: the ability to keep a barbell exactly over the middle of the foot throughout the entire range of motion. Doing so eliminates the “lever arm”—or “moment arm”—between the bar and the middle of your foot. If the bar deviates from this position, you create a lever you have to work against in order to balance the load.


The hips should be loaded and creating the drive out of the bottom. In every squat, the first bit of movement comes from the hips. If you are passive about it, the hips will lag and the movement will be initiated by quads. This causes instability in the lower back and does not lend itself to proper mechanics, strength and athleticism.

The lower back should be locked into extension and torso rigid. When we say “lower back extended” that means the lumbar spine is in that arched position. The torso should be leaned forward and locked into a position which places the shoulders or the barbell directly over the center of balance mid-foot. The thoracic spine is locked into place with the erector spinae muscles and the shoulders stay rigid to support the load. The shoulders should be pulled back slightly and locked into place. When weights get really heavy, it is not uncommon to see people get folded in half. This is dangerous and exhibits a lack of strength in the torso and muscles of the back. The torso needs to stay in it’s “Set” position during the drive up.

A good cue to help this process and avoid being tacoed, is to think about driving the shoulders up towards the ceiling. A lot of folks will tell you to drive the hips up, but often time the unsuspecting new squatter will find that is the thing that gets them folded in half. So, by driving the shoudlers up, the hips will naturally follow and the torso will stay upright, and lower back locked in nice angd tight. Exercises to strengthen the back to prevent the “squat taco” can deadlifts, rows, halting deadlifts, good mornings and variations thereof.

Head positioning is the last thing we look at. It has been common practice by many people to look up at the ceiling when coming up out of the hole. The thought being that it helps pull the athlete up and provides rigidity to the back. WRONG!

Whenever we are in a position to bear a heavy load, it is best done in a anatomically correct position with proper muscular tension distributed across the entire body to provide support. Test it – put a broomstick across your shoulders, squat down, do the “look at the ceiling” thing, stand up with your head this way. Then dump the broomstick and ask yourself, “is this really an anatomically correct position with my head cocked back like a Roman Fountain?” No, it’s not.

The head should be neutral. That means look straight ahead or even better, slightly down for the duration of the squat. Your head and neck should be in a natural extension of the spine. Think of holding a softball under your chin the whole way or having neck brace on. Once you set yourself into position under a heavy barbell, you lock the head in and correspondingly, the muscles of the back and around the spine lock in. This provides stability. By kinking the neck and staring at the ceiling, the musculature cannot maintain it’s maximal tension and you ask for the slightest bit of laxity and possible injury to happen. Don’t be that person…








400m Run

20 Box Jumps

20 K2E

500m Row

20 Resistance Band Hip Openers

20 Jefferson Lunges

400m Run


Air Squat

WOD: Tabata: 8Rds. 20 On-10 Off

Air Squat


Abmat Situps

DB Thrusters (25/15)


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