Build Your Legs, Boost Your Strength
Your Squat Probably Sucks
Even if you can squat a lot of weight, you probably have technique issues. Most people have poor squat mechanics, often doing something that resembles a good morning more than a squat.
Their hips shoot up first out of the hole (from the bottom) making their torso bend forward, which overloads the back more than the legs. Some lifters also shift their bodyweight to one side or twist their hips. Then there's the problem of "squatting soft." Many lifters unrack the bar and then fail to create whole body tension.
Solution: The Dead-Start Frankenstein Squat
Instead of chasing numbers, first optimize your squat mechanics and body rigidity. You can do that by learning the dead-start Frankenstein squat. It's a front squat where you don't use your hands, and you start the lift from the bottom position.
What's it good for? Several things:
- It drills perfect squatting form. It won't allow you to shoot your hips up. If you do, you'll drop the bar forward. You can't twist your way up or shift your weight to one side because the bar will roll off.
- It makes you super strong out of the hole. By starting from a dead-start (from pins), you're unable to rely on the stretch reflex or bounce, so you become better at producing force when starting your squat. Bonus benefit: It'll transfer well to the deadlift, too.
- It's the best way to develop your ability to create tension in your core when squatting. Most people can establish core tension at the top of the lift, but they tend to lose it when they reach the bottom. This squat variation programs your nervous system to tighten the core to start the squat because it's impossible to do a heavy dead-start Frankenstein squat with a soft core.
- It strengthens the catch position of a clean if you're an Olympic weightlifter. A lot of lifters miss heavy cleans because they lose tightness in the bottom position. This exercise is the best way to get stronger in that phase of the lift.
- It's the purest form of squat for the legs. It's especially effective for people with long limbs who get mostly glutes, hamstrings, and lower back development from regular squats.
- It increases flexibility. Over time it'll also help improve hip mobility, especially the capacity to reach a full range of motion under maximal tension.
(read more HERE)