- MAINTAINING AS MUCH OF AN UPRIGHT POSTURE AS POSSIBLE.
When we have our spine loaded, we need to understand that every part of our position is crucial when moving.
Before the barbell is taken off the rack, I give a few cues to my clients for them to remember that the squat is a whole-body movement and what they do with their upper body is just as important as what they do with their lower body – this is why technique is ALWAYS number one.
As I see my clients move through the motions of the squat, their ability to maintain an upright posture as they move past parallel is heavily dependent on their hip structure and level of mobility. This is seen by how far forward and individual leans and how much flexion occurs in their spine as they get deeper into the squat.
You need to understand a few things before you think you can squat what your see Larry Wheels squatting:
1. Stability through the hips is paramount
2. A good level of mobility is very important
3. You NEED to incorporate your upper body muscles when you squat
Doing these things will allow for you to keep an upright position when moving through the squat and therefore preserve your spine.
Also, the barbell squat is not simply a lower body movement. Muscles that are active help to stabilise. Muscles that are not, will not be able to assist as effectively so I’d highly recommend using your upper body muscles when squatting.
Try to retract and depress your scapular prior to getting under the barbell. Use your upper back muscles to ‘pull’ the barbell into your body. I find that this is a great way of engaging the upper back muscles.
Use the Valsalva Manoeuvre prior to descending. Break at the knees first by pushing them OUT and allow an open space for the hips to fall into. Focus on moving slowly to ensure perfect positioning. As you pass parallel and naturally rebound out of the hole, keep pushing your knees out whilst maintaining as much of that upright posture and upper back tightness as you can.
Lastly, HOLD THAT BREATH until you’ve completed the rep.
As you can see, there are many things to think about doing when squatting and that’s the reason why I highly recommend putting technique as your number one priority and not increasing in weight too quickly but rather focusing on developing perfect technique.
Yours in Health,
Coach Anthony Kassis