SECRETS OF AN AWESOME SQUAT
So, last night I was in a bit of a rush to get my training started after a busy day and ran out the door without my headphones…
annoying, but not the end of the world, I just prefer to train with them on……
I get to my local GYM and I’m warmed up and training away, when all I can hear is someone barking orders over the already loud music “head up, chin up,eyes up” and I look around to see a lad in the squat rack staring at the ceiling with an outstretched neck trying to squat a weight that was way way to heavy for him with poor form and even worse advice.
Let me explain:
Everyone’s heard someone say “look up” to someone in the squat rack and it drives me insane because its possibly the worst advice someone can give.
Looking up at the ceiling when squatting has so many detrimental effects on proper technique that it is absolutely amazing that so many people still advise others to do it.
It interferes with the correct bottom position, with hip drive out of the bottom, and with correct chest position.
The upward eye gaze pulls the chest forward, the knees forward, and the hips forward – just a little, but enough to produce a profound effect. It slacks the hamstrings and all the posterior muscles that are trying to keep tight so that one can use them to drive the hips up.
An upward-directed gaze quite effectively kills the ability to use the posterior chain during the drive up from the bottom and it places the cervical spine in extreme overextension which is basically just unsafe and a unnatural position for the spine to be in. Then to place a heavy weight on the trapezius muscles directly underneath it is just madness.
The normal anatomical position for the cervical spine is the preferred position when the weights get heavy and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
In contrast to all this, the eyes-down position enables your hip drive to function almost automatically. The first time you do this will convince you that looking down is more efficient. It’s funny because most people will have more trouble with this little change in their eye gaze direction than with any other aspect of to their squatting method.
So now that we established that the looking up method is “PANTS” how do we correct the error, try fixing your eyes on a position on the floor 4 or 5 feet in front of you. If you’re training close to a wall, find a place to look at that is low on the wall and that results in the same neck position (neutral) see the pic below.
Stare at this point, and get used to looking at it so that it requires no conscious effort and then follow that point continuously throughout the full range of motion of your now epic looking, powerful, hip driven, awesome squat..