Adding daily squatting in some form, I went injury-free for the first time in years. I also managed to cut fat, dropped a couple of inches around my waist (although now my thighs don’t fit into regular jeans) and gained muscle all around.
For many CrossFit athletes, squatting has become ingrained in your everyday workouts. Gone are days where it was leg day once a week.
BUILD STRENGTH, FLEXIBILITY AND PREVENT INJURY
Daily Squatting however should not just happen when prescribed indirectly in your WODs. It can be used as a powerful tool to build overall strength, flexibility and prevent injury.
ISN’T DAILY SQUATTING TOO MUCH?
Many of you will think that daily squatting heavily is too much work for your legs and you will not recover in time and eventually burn out. This is however not true. As humans, we are great at adapting to a variety of conditions and squatting every day is no different.
‘There are many people employed in physical labour who don’t go to work one day and then take 3 days off as ‘rest days’.’
Using the methodology described below you will be able to Squat heavy every day without getting too fatigued.
DAILY SQUATTING IN ALL ITS FORMS
When doing daily squatting it’s essential to ensure that you incorporate squat variations in order to give your legs some time to rest and change it up to keep it from getting boring. This will also enable you to work up to a variety of daily maxes in each variation.
The variations we’ll use will be as follows, all with a barbell:
- Back squat
- Front squat
- Paused back squat
- Paused front squat
- Belted Back Squat
- Belted Front Squat
- Belted back Squat with pause at the bottom
- Belted front Squat with pause at the bottom
- Wide stance power lifting Squat to just parallel with knee wraps
- Belted back Squat with knee wraps
- Belted front Squat with knee wraps
As you can see, although we’re essentially just doing front and back squats, by incorporating a pause, or using a belt or wraps we’ve managed to hit 11 different squat variations.
You’ll soon find that you’ll have a different 1RM for each of these and by hitting new 1RMs in 11 different squat variations you will be constantly improving.
As well as changing things up and not always squatting with a belt or knee wraps, you will place your body under varying degrees of pressure and stress, which will help it to grow and become stronger. In the interests of clarity, this article is limited to front and back Squat variations, but you can include other types such as Overhead Squats if that is how you prefer to change.
QUICK TIP: WRITE EVERYTHING DOWN
Remember to write down everything. This will allow you to easily track your progress on each individual type of lift. Of course your paused front Squat will develop at a different rate to your back squat, so you want to ensure that you don’t muddle numbers, or use one blanket weight to cover all the lifts because you can go harder than that!
HOW TO START SQUATTING EVERY SESSION
The best way to start a daily squatting programme at a CrossFit gym is to show up for your WOD about 15-20 mins early and do your squats before the class begins.
If there are already heavy squats programmed into the workout, then it’s better to do it as prescribed. However, on days where there are not heavy, and I mean heavy squats prescribed, you do squats and built up to a daily max.
KEEP VOLUME TO A MANAGEABLE LEVEL
An important aspect to keep in mind when squatting heavy every day is to make sure that you keep the volume to a manageable level. I’d advise against coming in and doing 5 sets of your 5RM. This will quickly become unsustainable.
The best way is to do the conjugate method by following one of the rep schemes below.
The first set of 10 will usually just be the bar and then work up from there gradually increasing the weight every set and finishing on a 1RM for the day and variation.
Increase the weight in small increments, 2.5 kg at a time (adjust this to your own needs) is a good start. Over time these small steps will add up to big lifts.
You are not looking at long periods of rest. Just change the weights, have a sip of water and hit the next set.
Once you’ve cycled through all 11 variations you should aim to beat the previous 1RM in each variation when it comes round again.
WHAT TO EXPECT?
You should see a quick increase in the amount you can squat, especially in the variations in which you are less comfortable. You’ll see this transfer over into your other lifts such as the clean when you get comfortable in a heavy front squat with pause.
Another aspect will be the psychological boost you’ll have from having the belt or wraps. It’s therefore important that you include the variations without belt and wraps so that you can have that extra boost when needed.
IMPROVEMENTS IN STRENGTH, FLEXIBILITY AND TECHNIQUE
Daily squatting will also improve both your flexibility and technique. If you don’t already squat below parallel you should be doing so soon, and you’ll find that even though you squat every day, your legs will recover fast and you’ll be less likely to get injured.
WHY YOU SHOULD TRY SQUATTING EVERY SESSION
In conclusion, squatting heavy every day is great way to build both your Squat strength and overall strength. It will also improve your flexibility and technique and will help prevent injury.
Finally, this can be done on a long-term basis or can be done in shorter 12-week cycles.