The Beginners Guide to Squatting for Crossfitters

Squats are often called the king of exercises - for good reason! Squats work the largest muscles in the body and increase gains and strength but also deliver a stimulation that inspires upper-body growth.

Develop Strength

Strength is the ability to move the body against an external resistance. In the case of the squat that resistance is the bar. Your muscles must generate energy against gravity to control the bar on the way down and Squat it back up. Improve your Squat and you improve the strength of your muscles. This strength carries over to daily life because Squats are a compound lift that work your whole body.

Build Muscle

Squats work a huge amount of muscles. Your legs bend, your torso stays tight and your upper-body supports the bar. All these muscles work at the same time to balance and Squat the weight. This releases muscle building hormones like testosterone. The heavier you Squat with good technique, the stronger and bigger your muscles will become.

male crossfit athlete performs back squat
Squat time!

Flexibility

Most people that Squat for the first time realize they have a lack of mobility because they haven’t Squatted below parallel for years. Squatting moves your legs through a full range of motion. This maintains proper hip flexibility which can prevent lower back pain.

Explosiveness

Explosiveness is the ability to generate force quickly. Stronger legs can do more work in the same amount of time. The more work you can do in the given time, the more power you have.

Burn Fat

Your body loses fat when you burn more energy than you eat. Your muscles burn energy to lift weight. Squats burn more energy than any other exercise because they work more muscles. Heavy Squats also increase your metabolism for hours post workout.

Strengthen Joints

Squats can’t make you inflexible because you must be flexible to Squat. Squats strengthen the muscles around your knee joints, hip joints, ankle joints, spine and so on. They also strengthens your connective tissues and tendons. So you create support for your joints and spine. This protects them against injuries and it can help you recover from lower back or knee pain. The key is to Squat with proper form because this will strengthen your joints instead of stressing them.

front squat neal maddox crossfit athlete
Stay strong!

How to Squat


Due to the fact that all of our bodies are different, none of the “perfect” squats will look exactly the same – people with a longer torso will squat differently from someone with a shorter torso.

The majority of the population has some sort of mobility issues that they are working on, so if your squat looks different than the person next to you, that does not mean you’re doing it wrong at all.

The femur lentgh will affect your squat

The Setup

Stand with your feet somewhat wider than your hips. Your toes should be pointed about 5 to 20 degrees outward. Focus where your weight is on your feet – it should be on the heels and the balls of your feet, as if you were glued to the ground.  However, you should be able to move your toes throughout the entire movement.

Breathe in and hold your breath, break at your hip and push your butt back. Keep moving your hips backwards as your knees begin to bend. Start with your hips back, and not by bending your knees. Keep your back straight, with a neutral spine, and your chest and shoulders up.

As you squat down, focus on keeping your knees in line with your feet. When they start to come inside the toes, push them out, but don’t go wider than your feet.

Squat down until the hip joint is lower than your knees. That’s a full parallel squat.

female crossfit athlete back squat with barbell girls who lift Gluteal Amnesia
Unlock your full potential!

On the way back up, keep everything tight and drive through your heels but keep your balance stable using the whole foot.  Drive your knees out the same way you did on the way down, and squeeze your butt at the top to make sure you’re using your glutes and that you straighten your hips. Only breathe out on the way up right at the top of the movement. Holding your breathe helps to keep your body tight, stable and controlled throughout the full movement.

Keep your body and core tight the entire time. This will be especially important once you add weight.

Squatting – Ankle Mobility, Hip Mobility and Butt Wink

These videos from Barbell Shrugged offer an excellent, in depth look at everything you need to be thinking about and working on with your Squat.



Check out this article if your want a better Front Squat:

5 Training Techniques to Improve your Front Squat


male crossfit athlete performs back squat © Circuit+ CrossFit

front squat neal maddox crossfit athlete © CrossFit Inc

female crossfit athlete back squat with barbell girls who lift Gluteal Amnesia ©

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About The Author

Simon is the Assistant Editor at BOXROX.
He has been Sport addicted since childhood and comes from a swimming and bodybuilding backround to Crossfit, which he does for 4 years now and it still challenging him every day. He tries to combine his passions for sport and writing.

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