The Squat, Bracing & Vertical Thrust Fundamentals

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The Squat, Deadlift and Lunge are the basic fundamental vertical thrust patterns. In this post I will focus on the squat. The benefits of the squat has been debated on and argued for centuries. The squat is good for you, the squat is bad for you, the squat cures cancer, the squat will turn you into a communist, the squat…ughhhh! Then there is the debate over whether the knees should track over the toes or stay over the heels. Should we back squat or front squat?

My take on the squat is this. The squat is a natural and fundamental movement pattern. Take a human who was raised by wolves and I guarantee you they will squat when they go to the bathroom, squat to pick up a boulder or try to jump up and pick a coconut out of the tree. When squatting the wolf child will try to align their centre of mass with their centre of gravity. Their ankles will dorsiflex, knees will drive over the toes and their butt will shift over their heels. Their chest will stay tall and they will maintain a lordotic curve in their spine. The core will brace and if the load is heavy enough, they will hold their breathe while lifting.

So why is that certain fitness enthusiasts feel the need to change the natural mechanics of squatting and add confusion to one of the most natural movements in life? Don’t tell anyone but I go to Hot Yoga. Shhhh, I said don’t tell anyone! When I go to the place that we aren’t going to mention again, I am told that my squat is wrong, dangerous and inefficient. “You need to keep your knees over your shins and your chest should face the floor at the bottom.” Ohh you mean a deadlift? Apparently my functional squat is going to put too much pressure on my knees and cause delayed onset downs syndrome. Meanwhile the class is full of pooping poodles, rounding their t-spines trying their darnedest not to fall over!

I love coaching the fundamentals of lifting. I love this time of year as I get to start from scratch at the Tour Performance LAB with our new golfers and teach them lifting techniques to prepare them for our strength phase. The deadlift, squat and lunge are the starting point for all vertical thrust exercises. Teaching them the holy trinity of lifts in detail ensures that the form and bracing techniques needed for more advanced lifts will be mastered before moving forward.

The squat is one of the oldest exercises in the book. Coaching a quality squat can be challenging. Utilizing technology we can look DEEP into the squat and learn new ways to coach and cue this amazingly powerful movement pattern. In this video we break down the squat and look at how understanding where your pressure is during your squat can greatly affect the power output during the unloading phase. You need to Load before you Xplode!

In this video I share my breathing and bracing techniques for lifting really heavy $&%@! Try these techniques with low loads before attempting them with the big stuff.

Sometimes we get so far ahead of ourselves looking for the next big break thorough in training that we forget the power of the fundamentals. We often bypass the basics for the sexy stuff and in doing so miss an opportunity to create a solid foundation upon all quality training is built upon. In this episode of the Coach Glass Podcast I am focussing on vertical thrust. The basics should be basic if they are coached properly. We will go DEEP into the murky waters of the Squat, deadlift and lunge. So deep it may put your ass to sleep…..Squat Blossoms!

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