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$100 Shoes and a 10 Cent Squat

At Infiniti Sports Performance, we are not just “strength & conditioning coaches” or “speed trainers”… we consider ourselves “Movement Specialists”. We pride ourselves on the quality of human movement as it pertains to essential athletic development. Without this critical foundation in preparatory movement patterns, research demonstrates that the athlete will potentially:

  • be unable to maximize his/her performance potential.

  • be predisposed to early breakdown, fatigue, and imbalances in training & competition.

  • Thus; increasing his/her risk of injury and time off the field.

Postural/Movement Flaws + Repetitive Stress = INJURY

That being said, I want to focus the energy of this blog on the fundamentals of the SQUAT! As we progress deeper into the winter, our Spring athletes transition into the Absolute Strength phase of training. This phase will consist of a larger volume of Strength & Hypertrophy movements that focus on gains in overall muscular development. The Squat, and its variations will be an primary component to our barbell complexes. The Back Squat is a ground-based compound resistance exercise that primarily engages the quadriceps, with secondary assistance from glutes, hamstrings, calves and low back respectively. It requires optimal mobility, stability, and motor control.

“If you want to pull the most load, in the safest way possible, then neutral spine must be preserved throughout the complete movement”– Dr. Stuart McGill

The Setup & Approach:

  • Barbell load is positioned directly on Upper Traps with a rigid neutral spine and a wide neutral grip

  • Feet are shoulder width apart, and slightly externally rotated

  • “Own the Weight” by maintaining tall posture, chest up, and gaze forward

  • Brace the Core by compressing the rib cage & for maximal tension transmission through the pelvis and spine.

  • Deep Breath for maximal intra abdominal pressure in preparation for descent

The Descent:

  • Hip Hinge by pulling the pelvis back & down to maintain a straight bar path and creating tension through the posterior chain (hammies / glutes / low back).

  • “Spread the Floor” by broadening each foot, rooting through the ground, and externally rotating the feet (corkscrewing) to create a large drive from the gluteals.

  • “Wiggle the Toes” Weight distribution should be experienced primarily through the rear foot in order to properly synchronize the posterior chain activation.

  • “Going Deep” Descend with the knees tracking in line with the toes and only as deep as excellent mechanics allow.

The Ascent:

  • Explode out of the Hole by driving the knees outward for maximal muscular recruitment and maintain vertical tibia

  • Forceful Hip Drive upward and forward. Initiate power production from hips, the Core maintains stiffness for power transmission through the resistance.

  • Finish Tall. Chest proud, head neutral and complete the full triple extension pattern following the identical path of descent.

  • Synchronize your exhale with exertion of the ascent utilizing pursed lip breathing.

Russell Taveras, DPT, CSCS

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