Thursday, December 1, 2011

Squat Low Squat Heavy Squat Often

As many of you know Olympic Lifting requires copious amounts of squatting. Whether it be front squats, back squats, or over head squats it happens a lot in training. Cindy was kind enough to share with everyone how it's helped her.

Most Crossfitters know that a squat isn't a squat unless your butt gets down below parallel. But, in my Olympic Lifting class, that's not low enough.
Your butt should be practically on the ground -- I'm talking "thighs to calves" low.
Before I started Zach's Olympic Lifting class, I had never squatted so low or so much in my life, and certainly not with a heavy bar.
Every class includes either front squats or back squats, and the rest of the lifts usually involve overhead squats or cleans. The weights are heavy, and the percentages and rep schemes are similar from week to week, gradually progressing upward over time.
That's after a warmup of duck walks, squat hops, and jumping squats -- which feels like a workout by itself!
See what I mean about squatting?
When I started the class in October, I thought I was going to die in the warmup. My legs burned. I had to stop frequently. I didn't know how I was going to make it to the actual lifting part of class.
During lifts, Zach often had to remind me to squat lower. "Find the bottom," he said. It was scary to go down so low holding such a heavy bar since I wasn't used to it.
Well, things have changed a lot over the past 2 ½ months. The emphasis on squatting has made a difference for me.
1. Over time, the warm up got easier. No more dreading the squat hops and duck walks!
2. My squat is lower. My husband was amazed when he saw me squat down to pick up my daughter -- my butt was practically on the ground -- and lift her 20 pound body up like it was nothing. (Yes! Squatting is functional!)
3. To top it all off, I've finally started making gains in the gym again. After just 2 ½ months, I've added 15 pounds to my front squat max (130 pounds) and finally reached 150 pounds on my back squat max -- I’ve been trying for that weight for almost 2 years!
I now understand. The simple fact of the matter is that if you want to be a stronger squatter (or stronger anything for that matter), you actually have to work at it.
It’s important to practice lifting heavy weights frequently in order to make progress and build strength.
But it’s also important because it affects the rest of my life. Lifting up my kids without straining my back is so awesome! I don’t feel old or weak. I feel young and strong.
I wonder, will I be able to pick them up when they’re older and heavier? I bet I could!

I think it goes to show that squatting for what ever sport you choose to do (being an Olympic Lifter, CrossFiter, mom or dad) can help you obviously become stronger and more confident.

1 comment:

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