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Aloha ALL, Coach Ryan here to put out some tips on the "Absolutes of the Barbell Back Squat ''. My goal is to provide you, the mountain athlete with the knowledge and support to set yourself up success in gaining strength while back squatting and prevent injury. I wanted to clear the myth that the Barbell Back Squat is for "LEG DAY", well it actually focuses and depends on the stability and strength of your core area. Now here are some tips to set up under the bar, position your body and move efficiently while squatting.
1. Barbell height should be at armpit level. Many times individuals will set bar height too high then it becomes a calf raises or tippy toe off the rack. This wastes strength needed in the movement itself, instability throughout the body and an unsafe position.
2. Create a solid-stable core position when unracking the barbell. Brace core by taking a short breath into the stomach and pushing the abdominal wall out.
3. Body Position: Hands are generally placed outside the shoulders, bar is right at base of neck along the upper trapezius and along the shoulder. This is known as the high bar position. Common mistakes are bar too high on the neck and creates discomfort to lifters. Elbow along the side of the ribcage and point down to the floor. Feet are generally slightly outside the shoulder toes pointed forward. Toes may be angled out slightly for different body types to support a great depth in squat.
4. Getting off the rack. With a braced core, the lifter will place feet under the bar and maintain position as outlined in step 3. Because the bar will be lower than the chest it will create a "lifter wedge". This is where you will be in neutral spine position and braced core to drive the bar up and off rack. Lifter will maintain a braced core and take 2 steps back off of the rack. Just 2, Just enough to clear rack j-hooks. Many times we take too many steps off the rack again waiting for strength needed in the actual movement.
5. The Movement. Lifters is now off the rack, while performing the Valsalva maneuver, breathing in, pressing the abdominal wall out, holding breath. This will brace the core area. Lifters will lower hips and chest at the same rate of speed. Smooth and controlled. Hips will open, the backside will go back, lifters will maintain that postural integrity with a neutral spine. Weight on the feet should be equally distributed onto the "tripod foot". This is very important. Common mistakes or improper coaching cues are to place weight in the heels. Maintain the equal weight through the "tripod foot". Lifters should be having the mindset of pushing feet through the floor throughout the lift. Barbell is lowered until knees and hips are parallel with a hip hinge and bending of knees. All body types are different. Parallel positions will look slightly different for everyone. On the ascent while driving the "tripod foot" through the floor and maintaining a braced core by using the Valsalva technique, the lifter will ascend from the bottom parallel position and on the way up the lifter cna release breath. During the push the drive should come through the feet to the posterior chain, focusing on being upright with glutes really powering the lift. Many mistakes are that glutes are not "fired" or contracted and this lift becomes a heavy load on the low back and quadriceps.
TAKEAWAYS...focus on setup, body position, toe angle, tripod foot, hip hinge, creating torque, and postural integrity
Stay tuned for the next session with Coach and his movement reviews and disciplines of strength coach!
As ski fit is coming to a close it does not mean that your training has to be over. I am a firm believer in training year round and consistency lowers your chance of injury and increases your performance in sport. The sport maintenance classes we offer focus on what sports are in session and the program flows nicely if you are skiing, biking or hiking. It is important to keep your core strong and all your other muscle groups! This workout is an example of a sport maintenance class!
It starts with some good movements and right into Curtis P which is a great total body exercise. Gets your butt, core and upper body firing. Then we move into some single leg work which is really good to alleviate compensations through the winter. We then end with a quick work capacity hit which is really good because we don’t get the anaerobic hits we need during the winter sports. We end with a good core crusher!
Curtis P movement in Video below
Crystal Demonstrates a Curtis P
4x curtis p
instep with twist
6x tuck jumps
30 sec sled drag
30 sec box up
30 sec bosu plank
30 sec waiter walks
30 sec calf raises
30 sec sprint
30 sec rest
3 rounds tabata
up with twist, boat, plank hops, flutter
The Sled Push/ Pull is an incredible exercise overlooked for its benefits sometimes. There have been studies utilizing this exercise with interval training that improved squat strength, and explosive speed times. A low impact movement that increases leg strength, and power in the complete lower body. Not all strength moves utilize the quad, glute, hamstring, and calf muscles all together.
Four ways you can do the Sled Push
To utilize all lower body muscles make sure you get up on your toes driving for speed and you also tap into that number one muscle the HEART. Doing a quick sled push interval at the end of a workout can be a great way to quickly tap more strength and power into your legs. If you want to train the heart and lungs more for work capacity go with a lighter weight.
75% of your squat max weight on sled
6 rounds – that's only 6 minutes!
30 second sprint with sled push
20 second recovery
Plank Walkup/Up and down plank/”machines”
This week I want to shout out core strength- it is a huge component of every movement we do, in sport and in daily life, and there are many variations that can be easily done with little to no equipment.
This exercise is a variation on the traditional plank, and incorporates dynamic movement to emphasize core stability.
(#1) To begin, start in a high plank, with your hands directly beneath your shoulders and your upper and lower body in a straight line, with your pelvis tucked underneath you.
(#2,3) Lower one elbow to the floor, then the other, so you are lowering yourself from hands to elbows one arm at a time, arriving in low plank position. (#4)
(#5) From here, place one palm onto the floor, then the other, pressing back up into high plank. (#6) Make sure you are alternating right and left arm lowering and pushing back up each rep (lower your right arm, then left, then push up with right, then left).
The key here is to maintain core engagement throughout the entire exercise, and not allowing your pelvis to tilt side to side as you move from high to low and back to high plank. In order to prevent your hips from tilting or swaying, your core needs to be engaged and stabilizing throughout the entire movement sequence. Controlled and steady movement is the goal, and you will get more out of it by moving at a slower pace with greater control than quickly with sloppy form.
This exercise is a favorite because it requires this core stabilization while you are working through a dynamic movement, which is great practice for the movements we do in daily life and sport, including posture, lifting and carrying, running, cross country and downhill skiing.
This movement is a great addition to your core set at the end of a workout, or as an arm strengthening exercise that incorporates core emphasis. Measure by reps (ex: 5 each arm) or for time. Aim to move with consistent pace and maintain good form, trying not to have extended pauses in high or low plank but with continuous movement while maintaining core stability.
To modify this exercise, you can:
-move through the same range of motion but with your knees on the floor, this will still allow you to have dynamic movement with greater control
-hold static high plank, this position is great for maintaining core stability while pushing through your arms
“When I met Crystal she immediately pegged my knee cap issue and gave me hope. She taught me how to strengthen the correct muscles to prevent more pain, enhance my movement, and preserve my love of yoga and tennis. Thanks to Crystal (and her patience- I’m not easy), my legs are stronger and my knees are less painful than they have ever been. And this is all over Zoom because I don’t live in Jackson! “