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squats and youth training

Squats Are A Waste of Time

Sweat drips down the back of your neck and along the furrows of your panicked brow.  The vein running along your upper forehead pulses with effort as you descend down into the depths of the unknown, the heavy bar digging deep into your traps as you squeeze out another rep.  What a joke!  I don’t even know why people squat anymore!  I mean they rip your knee joints apart and destroy your low back muscles.  They’re very difficult to learn and are extremely difficult to perform.  They compress the spine and once you’re done with them you feel like you want to puke up your breakfast ten times over.  All the more reason to squat correctly to gain the benefits of squatting without getting injured and be more awesome.

The old case of squats hurt pretty much everything, well, that’s just a case of you not squatting correctly or not lacking the mobility to squat efficiently.  That’s the only thing that makes squats a waste of time.

Fav Lift

You see squats are one of my favorite exercises and yes, they can be quite dangerous.  That is the case of any exercise you see broadcasted over the interwebz.  Doing things that are hard and difficult can be very hazardous to your health, which is why being a form Nazi helps when squatting comes into play.

The counter point to that is that they can also be completely fricking awesome for building a powerful and strong physique that make your leg muscles jump out of your shorts like the steel cables of the Golden Gate Bridge.  It’s without a doubt that squats are second only to deadlifts for being one of the most awesome exercises for overall development of the legs, back, abdominals, pretty much everything.

The Reason Squats Are Awesome

Squats engage the muscles of the quads, hamstrings, glutes, lower back, and abdominals.   Combine them with a barbell loaded on the back and they even help engage the muscles of the upper extremities, making them an overall ass kicker.

Not to mention under a heavy load they are extremely hard and effective for building lean tissue and increasing strength.   Plus since they are very demanding on the body they create an effective fat burning effect.  This makes squatting one of our fundamental movements.

If you’re after results in the gym and you’re not squatting, perhaps you should re-think your program.

How to Squat Effectively

youth squatting techniqueThis is why squatting is one of our key fundamental moves that we focus on in the youth training program.  Once the young athletes are able to squat effectively with bodyweight we progress toward manipulating other implements while squatting.

Using smaller implements such as dowels, dumbbells or kettlebells we increase the intensity of the exercise to build strength and increase core muscle recruitment.  The learning curve is different for everyone, but starting at a young age helps create a good squatting pattern throughout their lives, which can lead to some great athletic performances and lower risks of injury.

Eventually we end up at the back squat, which as you can see Ansley can perform with ease and near perfect form.  Now many trainers won’t have you do a back squat simply because very difficult to teach, but I think it’s actually very easy to teach once you have the athlete in the correct form.

For younger athletes the key is setting their feet up correctly, getting them to use their hips, creating tension throughout the core and generating leg-hip drive.

Good Form For Back Squatting

To establish good form for the back squat we work from the feet on up having the athlete set his or her feet at least shoulder width apart, toes slightly out or forward.  Then creating tension throughout the upper back by gripping onto the bar firmly and locating the cushioned section of the upper traps between the shoulders and neck we have them pull their shoulder blades down creating a tension point between the bar and the athlete.

youth squat techniqueThe athletes then descend into the squat by pushing the glutes back as if sitting in a chair and in certain situations we actually have them descend under control to a box which helps engrain this pattern.  The key is to squat in between the legs and not bend the knees like an accordion –which is common to see many people do in the gym.

Then driving the knees outward as they descend they are instructed to drive from the hips into the full standing position to get ready for another repetition.

Naturally this is a simplest explanation for a squat, but the keys are in the details.  Foot position, bar position, create tension, breathing, proper hip and leg drive.

Back Squats may be risky under certain conditions, but if learned correctly they can be one of the most effective exercises you can do in the gym for overall strength, fat loss, core and motor development.  Starting off our young athletes with correct squatting progressions can drastically improve their ability to sprint, jump and stave off injuries while playing sports.  Despite the hazards and difficulty in squatting, they’re worth their weight in gold if you learn how to do them correctly.  So get busy and start squatting to increase your overall awesomeness!

-CPT SMASH

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25+ Years Personal Trainer - Specialize in Men and women over 40 Bench Press Athlete Best Comp Bench CPF 534 lbs Raw Feb 2017 RPS 550 lbs Raw April 2017 Founder Hostyle Conditioning Founder Hostyle Gear Founder Hostyle Kettlebell Systems

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