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Squat Question regarding my last entry

What would be some things that would help a trainee build up to doing Squats? I have a lot of friends who cant even bodyweight squat past 1/4 ROM without problems occuring. I know a lot of it will be specific to the person and what exactly is going wrong, but are there any general things that you think everybody could benefit from? Or some incredibly frequent problems you encouter with new trainees and squatting?

Thanks P :)

You are right. A lot of it is going to come down to that individual person and what their issue with squatting is.

You have to figure out if the problem is one of flexibility (ex. tight hip flexors and/or calves), mobility (ex. hip mobility or ankle mobility), strength (ex. overall hip strength) or neuromuscular inefficiency (maybe they can't hold a neutral spine/pelvic position while decending into the squat).

This is where a quality movement screen and assessment is essential. It can tell you a lot about how that person produces movement and it gives you information to plan your attack.

For teaching the squat, you want to have some regressions to help build the person up to body weight squats and then loaded squats. The two regressions I like to use are:

Ball/wall squat- A stability ball is placed between the individuals back and the wall and they are asked to squat down, pause at the bottom, and then stand back up. We work up in intensity by using a medicine ball. I like to use tempo restrictions with this exercise (slower eccentrics and isometrics at the bottom) because it helps them learn the positions of the movement and allows me to better coach it and make corrections.

Stripper Squats- I call them stripper squats because the person stands at the side of the squat rack with their hands around the pole of the squat rack. Holding the pole, they work on sitting back, controlling their squat and holding onto the pole (sliding their hand down as they go) to help give them stability. Again, I like to use tempo restrictions and holding the isometric at the bottom is really helpful in allowing them to find a netural pelvis position.

From there, as they learn the squat pattern, we move to body weight squats and then progress to medicine ball countermovement squats (holding a ball at the chest and as they decend and sit back into a squat, they press the ball out in front of them, arms extended, to counter balance the weight going back) and goblet squats (holding the bell of a dumbell at chest level).

Once we make it through that, we move into front squatting and back squatting. As far as how long it takes to move from those progressions to back squatting or front squatting, it is really going to depend on the person. Some younger and more athletic populations can whip through that in a few weeks and get to squat with the bar. Some may skip over some of those progressions and start right at goblet squatting and front squatting. It all depends on the person. Some, especially those who are very weak or coming back from tough injuries, may be doing ball/wall squats for several weeks.

A lot of strength coaches are so set on getting their athletes under the bar from day one, that they overlook the important steps it may take to get some of the athletes ready for that exercise. I have seen some pretty scary squats with young athletes because their coaches either (a) didn't progress them properly to the movement or (b) didn't know how to coach the lift and usually it is (c) a combination of the two. I like to really make sure athletes understand that squat position as it is a fundamental athletic position. The athletic stance is similiar to a quarter squat position and when starting out, we will work on isometrically holding that athletic position (as well as our bottom position body weight squat) to help the athletes learn what that position is and how vital it is to their progress in sports.

Thanks for the question.

Hope that helps,


Im glad i actually have some advice to give to people when they ask me this question from now on!

I hate not being able to help out.

Thanks a bunch, P. Clear and informative as always :-)


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