Scott do you require all of your clients to perform the squat exercise? I know it is an important exercise for improving the speed of fat loss, muscle growth and general function. I have had difficulty doing it right at times and wonder if it is still worthwhile. James
James great question. The squat is a very productive exercise but only if executed with proper form. I help a wide variety of consultation clients of different experience/skill levels so we use the squat or modified versions where appropriate. There are many factors that make executing the squat properly difficult including lack of flexibility, strategic weaknesses, injuries and more.
How Do You Reach YOUR Goals ASAP?
New clients seeking customized training and nutrition plans approach me every day to either lose body fat or gain muscle in a short period of time such as 12-24 weeks. The squat is not essential to either of these goal orientations, but very helpful when executed correctly. A client with no squatting experience who needs to lose 20 lbs of fat in 12 weeks does not need to invest significant time into learning to squat when a variety of other movements can be put in place to burn body fat fast while building functional strength.
I am horrified by the squatting form I see when going into public gyms periodically. The problems range from an uneven bar placement to a lack of depth. Stay way from the smith machine squat equipment as this is not a solution. My goal is to help clients earn the fastest possible results and I never get hung up on “requirements”. Certain exercises fit some situations well while there are other methods to achieve the same goal. Where there is a will, there is always a way to succeed!
Are you Tight as a Drum?
Tight muscles can limit your ability to squat correctly. It is very common for a trainee to initially squat well during a cycle and gradually see a decline execution quality as the weeks go by. This is often related to muscles not recovering adequately between sessions which leads tissues to become very “tight” The Squat is highly demanding on recovery from both a metabolic (muscles) and neurological perspective. Use 100% MR and Muscle Synthesis around all of your training sessions to accelerate rates of recovery, increase the utilization of stored fat as fuel and boost training performance.
Is Your Stretching Program Creating More Problems?
Stretching is not as simple as some would think. Improving the range of motion and or function of a muscle or group of muscles require a proper strategy to be put in place. Having an evaluation to determine what muscles/structures are tight, therefore needing more attention will help to guide in the design of a proper stretching program. Pre workout I favor dynamic stretching and traditional static stretching 4 to 6 hours after the training session.
Coaching From a Distance
I do not have the benefit of seeing my internet consulting clients in person so I have to make strategic decisions based on the detailed information I collect. In many cases we will focus on lunge movements that require full knee flexion to built up the strength of the legs individually. It is very common for a new client to have some imbalances such as one leg being 10-30% weaker than the other. In this case the imbalance makes squatting correctly nearly impossible. Over time the unilateral movements will help to correct these imbalances while improving many other important parameters that can lead to a successful squat.
Lower back injuries are very common making the Squat not necessarily a high risk movement in call cases, but one that shatters the confidence of the trainee. I have many clients that can hold 80 lb dbs while performing a variety of lunge movements which gives them plenty of loading, adequate for improving body composition. A trainee seeking only to improve body comp and general function does not need to squat, but other movements involving knee flexion are very important. The Alpha Omega M3 is not only a great fat burning tool, but also very helpful for lubricating joints. Consistently client feedback points to the Alpha Omega M3 is a great tool for sustaining great workouts!
Modified Squatting Exercises
Shoulder injuries are often times a limiting factor for proper bar position which in turn negatively impacts the torso angle, forcing it forward. My clients with shoulder injuries gain great benefits from a front squat which allows them to sustain a comfortable bar position. A special bar called a safety squat bar enables a trainee to perform a back squat while keeping the hands in front which reduces shoulder stress, however this is not a common bar to find in a commercial gym.
Find The Right Depth-Get a Box!
One of the major challenges a trainee faces when squatting is difficulty seeing what they are actually doing! Without the aid of a video camera or qualified partner it is difficult to judge many form elements. I often suggest using a special squat box or bench when squatting to establish an end point for the bottom range of motion of the squat. This is an easy way to ensure that you are hitting your depth target on every rep and can also give you an indication if the glutes are touching at the same time as well.
Email Scott@infinityfitness.com 7 days per week to discuss your situation and goals today!