| The squat is a hallmark exercise that has been around since the inception of weight training. It is one of the most primal human movements, and can play a large part in athletic development. However, it requires a tremendous amount of technique and mobility to do under load. In fact, there are lots of athletes who do not include squatting in their training. Sometimes loading up a squat can be counter-effective to creating both short and long-term health. No two athletes are the same, and for this reason, there are MANY variations of the squat that can be used for an individual’s needs. We believe in utilizing the squat in a way that suits each athlete to his or her anatomy, training age, and mobility. Here are a few squat variations we use on a daily basis at Rapid! (All passwords are Rapidvideo)
The Goblet Squat is without a doubt the most common variation prescribed by myself and other staff members. The placement of the load in the front of the body forces the athlete to recruit the anterior core to stabilize the trunk as the center of gravity descends. Having adequate core strength is a critical factor in the squat as it keeps the spine in a safe, neutral position. While it may look simple, the goblet squat can be loaded up quite substantially for one heck of a workout! Be sure to keep the knees soft, finish with the glutes, and press with the whole foot!
The 2 kettle bell front squat is my personal favorite squat to prescribe, simply because you get a tremendous multi faceted training effect with this drill. In a similar fashion to the goblet squat, the front load requires the core to exhibit even more strength and stability. However, with this set up the athlete attains a neutral spinal position AND protraction of the scapula (shoulder blades). This is extremely important for athletes who live in excessively extended (think military “at attention”) postures. In simpler terms, it forces the athlete to build strength in a neutral posture! It can take some time to find a comfortable kettle bell position, but this drill can go a long way for safe and efficient strength building!
The safety bar is what we prefer for our baseball players (especially pitchers), because of the neutrality it allows the athlete to maintain under a heavier load. The traditional back squat requires a tremendous amount of spinal extension, scapular adduction (shoulder blades slammed together), and humeral extension. This is NOT to say the back squat is bad. It simply isn’t the best option for throwers, especially those who need improvements in posture. Be sure to keep the abdominals engaged to help maintain a safe spinal position!
We hope this is helpful! Have a great week, and as always feel free to comment with questions or topic requests!
All the best,
The Rapid Team
Andrew Gordon, MS, CSCS