Tag Archives: squats

Do squats hurt your back too?

“Squats hurt my back.”

Incorrect, what you are doing is hurting your back.

Yep, more often than not, less for previous traumatic injury that has dramatically changed your bodies morphology, it’s your form.

Over the years I have spent many a day tweaking peoples form.

Striving to have them understand the correct movement patterns, what muscles are meant to be doing what and generally simian to avoid them snapping themselves up.

A few learned, many didn’t.

Being humans we have this tiny little thing called bias, which usually marries up with cognitive dissonance quite happily and as such people think they know best and only seek the answers they want.

Morons the lot of them.

98% of the time if something hurts during an exercise/movement it is because our form isn’t right.

As much as we’d like some unexplainable cause to protect our ego it’s just the case that our movement patterns are poor.

How can you overcome this?


Hire a coach to learn from, alternatively record all of your lifts and give them some honest critique because the chances are you know when your own form looks poor.

There you have it, the next time you feel a movement is causing you issue take a step back and look at how you’re performing it because the chances are it’s not the exercises that is hurting you, it’s what you’re doing that’s hurting you.


Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Nutrition & Health

You don’t need to squat heavy…

Do you need to squat heavy?

It pains me to say this, however there is technically no need to squat heavy weights…

That said, there is a basic necessity for the squatting movement pattern as it will ensure healthy ankles, knees, hips and loads more.

The squat is a fundamental human movement pattern, you need it, fact.

I am personally bias towards heavy squats, I love them, however they are not for everyone, some people may have injuries that prevent them going heavy, this is fair enough, they can adapt and do things such as goblet or front squats as substitutes, so long as they are performing the movement pattern all is good.

This short post is just to remind you that it’s okay not to squat heavy, you just need to be performing the movement in some way, shape or form to stay healthy.

Here is a simple workout structure for those who need some guidance, you can pick which ever :

W/U – Squatting pattern – Example: Goblet Squat 50 reps
A1 – Hinging movement 15-25 rep goal
B1 – Pressing movement
B2 – Pulling movement 25-50 rep goal for both
C1 – Core movement or Loaded Carry 30 rep goal or Distance for Time (e.g., 10min)

Easy, all you need do for exercise ideas is simply find a list of movements and pick ones that you feel like doing on the day.

Actually, hold on…


^^ A great resource, they’ve got some fantasist bits on there to read, enjoy it.


Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Nutrition & Health

A squat-less routine?

It’s well known that not everyone likes to squat.
While the squat is a key movement pattern that should be in a training routine, you can create one without.
Not my personal choice but it’s 2017 so let’s cater for those who don’t want to squat or might not be able to, for what ever reason.
What can you do?
– Hinging
– Pressing
– Pulling
Let’s look at how those would make up a workout.
It’s worth noting that you will still build some good legs without squats, however the squat is an incredibly athletic movement and at least one session per week would be good.
Okay, let’s put together a squat-less routine.
Day A –
A1: Snatch Grip Deadlift from Deficit 8×3
B1: Press 10×5
B2: BB Row 10×5
C1: Dips 4x Fail
Day B –
A1: Clean Grip Deadlift from Floor 6×4
B1: Incline Press 6×8
B2: Pull Up (weighted if necessary or pull downs) 6×8
C1: Curls 4×8-12
Day C –
A1: Snatch Grip Deadlift from Blocks (mid shin) 4×6
B1: Close Grip Bench 8×6
B2: DB Row 8×8
C1: Face Pulls 4×12-15
Day X – Optional
A1: Hill Sprint 5-10×60 seconds
B1: Prowler or Sled Drag 5-10x20m
C1: Loaded Carry 5-10x20m
Here is how it might look if put in to a weekly workout structure – 7 day split:
Monday – C
Tuesday – B
Wednesday – Off
Thursday – X
Friday – Off
Saturday – A
Sunday – Off
If only A/B/C used then pick three days per week to train at your convenience using the order C-B-A.
You will notice the varied levels of deadlift will place different emphasis on quad/posterior recruitment, the addition Day-X would further help leg development and conditioning.
In your warm ups some form of squatting movement patter would be personally advised so you still get the expose to the pattern, maybe some light goblet squats for example, just for good measure.
Remember that all good programs have at least one day of squatting, this is an option for those who truly detest squats and is a last resort.

Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Nutrition & Health

Want Bigger Arms? Squat More.

Morning Guys,
There is one time tested and proven way of getting lean and adding slabs on quality muscle tissue, but people like to avoid this method because it’s not easy.
What is it?
High Rep Squats.
*High Rep Deadlifts are also good but not for beginners.
Yep, the secret to most things can often be found in the humble squat but the most benefits come from squats lots with a moderate load for 20 reps.
The 20 rep squat program is something that’s been around for a very long time, you would in fact superset the squats with pull overs to really facilitate diaphragmatic breathing back in the old days.
So why are high rep squats with a moderate to heavy (if you’re strong enough) load beneficial?
1 – They send your metabolism through the roof.
2 – They stimulate multiple muscles creating a surge of beneficial anabolic hormones.
3 – They strengthen you both physically and mentally.
There are a couple of ways you can do this style of squat program, I would advise starting off with a weight that is 60% of your 1RM, this is because you can usually get out at least 15reps with this sort of load. You will take out the bar with the load and start squatting, if you high 20reps then feel free to add a minimal amount of weight, 2.5kg total is a good way to go, but if you don’t hit all the reps and have to put there weight back then make a note of what you hit and try again next session on the same weight.
Ideally 3 times per week yields the most benefits for this style of squat assault, but twice is the absolute minimum.
If you want to have a high rep deadlift day(s) following a similar system, if you’re more advanced why an older training age, then you will need to adhere to the steps above in terms of loading, Personally I would advise sticking with a Double Overhand Grip if you do want to do a high rep deadlift program as this will help receding the loading and overall stress on your CNS.
Here is an example of how you might program this:
High Rep Squats Only
Day 1:
Warm Up – 10,5,3,2 (work to over your high rep squat weight, this will make the high reps feel lighter)
A1 – Squat 1×20 Reps
B1 – Overhead Press 5×5
B2 – Pull Up 5xfail
C1 – Farmers Walk 1x8min
Day 2:
Warm Up – 10,5,3,2 (work to over your high rep squat weight, this will make the high reps feel lighter)
A1 – Squat 1×20 Reps
B1 – Incline Press 5×5
B2 – Dumbbell Row 5×12
C1 – Turkish Get Up 1x10min (alternating sides)
Day 3:
Warm Up – 10,5,3,2 (work to over your high rep squat weight, this will make the high reps feel lighter)
A1 – Squat 1×20 Reps
B1 – Flat Bench Press 5×5
B2 – Supinated Barbell Row 5×8
C1 – Kettlebell Swing 1x10min
If you feel like doing 2 days of high rep squats and one day of high rep deadlifts then this is the way to go:
Day 1:
Warm Up – 10,5,3,2 (work to over your high rep squat weight, this will make the high reps feel lighter)
A1 – Squat 1×20 Reps
B1 – Overhead Press 5×5
B2 – Pull Up 5xfail
C1 – Farmers Walk 1x8min
Day 2:
Warm Up – 10,5,3,2 (work to over your high rep deadlift weight, this will make the high reps feel lighter)
A1 – Deadlift 1×20 Reps
B1 – Incline Press 5×5
B2 – Dumbbell Row 5×12
C1 – Turkish Get Up 1x10min (alternating sides)
Day 3:
Warm Up – 10,5,3,2 (work to over your high rep squat weight, this will make the high reps feel lighter)
A1 – 20 Reps
B1 – Flat Bench Press 5×5
B2 – Supinated Barbell Row 5×8
C1 – Kettlebell Swing 1x10min
You can adapt the concept of the High Rep Scheme to suit you but ideally 2/2 times squatting per week is optimal (1 deadlift day is you opt for 2 squat days).
Obviously you won’t be able to add weight forever, I would suggest after 6 weeks you test either your 3RM and establish an estimated 1RM and rest you 60% weight (hopefully giving you a deload) and following the process again for another 6 weeks.
*If adding muscle is your primary goal be sure to be in a caloric surplus of at least 300-500 calories. For Fat Loss I would stay at your current TDEE because the extra workload will create the deficit for you, there’s no need to strip out calories too as this can make this style of training system very hard and unsafe.


Filed under Fitness, Nutrition & Health

Squats, with a Sprinkling of Technique

Today I thought I would share some information on 5 tips I’ve learnt over the years and used to improve my squat and help in achieving continued progression.

They are as follows:
– Upper Back Tightness
– Bracing
– Treat Light Weights Heavy & Heavy Weights Light
– Screw Your Feet Into The Floor
– Becoming One
Upper Back Tightness:
I often see people who lack the required tension in their upper back to push their squat numbers up, achieving more upper back tightness is actually quite easy. When you set up to the bar keep these 3 points in mind:
1 – Move your hands as close as you comfortably can.
2 – Squeeze the bar as tightly as you can and try to bend it over your back by drawing your elbows down to activate your lats.
3 – Linked in with 2, after drawing your elbows down, squeezing the bar and trying to bend it over your back try to push your elbows forwards (they might not move but it will help create more tightness).
You often hear the cue “Breathe in to your belly.” which isn’t a bad cue but it leaves out some important information and some people end up breathing in and just pushing their belly out. Now the technical term for this style of breathing is Diaphragmatic Breathing, it’s something we do naturally as children but lose the ability (get lazy) as we get older. Unfortunately it will take practice to re-learn this skill.
Adopt a plank position and completely contract every muscle possible (especially your core musculature) now try to pack out any loose areas with air by controlling your breathing – try 10 second inhalations followed by 5 seconds holding all the air in.
There is a term known as ‘Power Breathing’ which is worth researching.
Treat Light Weights Heavy & Heavy Weights Light:
When you see people squat you will notice they have varying degrees of technique. Their light weights looks smooth and fast while medium weights slow down and their heavy weights just look horrid.
If you get in to the habit of treating all your lifts like you’ve got your max on the bar then you will start to groove a solid technique. If you watch various videos of top lifters you will notice that all their sets look pretty much the same in terms of set up, execution and speed, yours should too.
Screw Your Feet Into The Floor:
The best way to picture this is like you’re stood in some hot sand and you’re having you ‘screw’ your feet in to it so that you can dig tot he cooler sand underneath. I am sure there are lots of you who have been stood on a beach and done this from time to time mucking around. If you haven’t then find a sand pit and practice this because it will help improve your squatting stability.
You want to feel connected to the floor and solid in your stance, while also help prevent knee collapse (valgus) and create a stable hip too.
Becoming One:
This might sound like some sort of religious scripture but in realistic terms it means using your body as one whole connected unit, meaning everything works together and there is no power leakage at any point (most people move in 2 or 3 sections). Your body goes down as one and comes up as one. That means no hips shooting up first, no pitching forwards, no knee collapse etc.
You can practice this technique by doing wall squats, goblet squats, front squats and pause squats as they will all help you to ‘feel’ your body working as one.
Bonus Tip:
To squat a lot you need to squat a lot.
Realistically to help you improve your movement pattern you will be looking at squatting a minimum of 3 days per week. I would suggest recording all of your sessions so that you can see how your form looks and make sure it’s on point.
If you’re wondering how low you should squat then that answer will be held in your own specific build and hip complex. To find out what depth you can handle assume a kneeling position on all fours and rock backwards and see where, if any, but wink or pelvic tilt occurs because that will be your limit (record this drill so you can see what’s going on).
Use the info above and get your squat from a dodgy 1-1.5xBW for 1 to a solid 2xbw for 5.


Filed under Fitness

Drop it Like a Squat

Afternoon Guys,

It’s no secret that squats are an essential part of life, in fact they are so important they’re one of the first things you learn how to do as a child but as we age the years of sedentary life cause us to lose our movement pattern, resulting in poor or no squats as we age.

This is saddening.

There are several ways in which you can get back your lost squatting talent, all it takes is a couple of simple drills done int he AM/PM and you’ll be good to go, no weight is required for the drills, only yourself, a wall and a box.

Drill 1 – Box Squat – AM

Find yourself a box that is around 1foot tall (or at least under your knee joint level). Take a comfortable stance and descend to the box , initiating the movement by gently pushing your hips back and opening your hips until you rest not he box. Once down stay tight and pause for 1-2seconds then drive straight back up and repeat.

12-20 reps for 1-3 sets daily will help you start to groove your movement again.

Drill 2 – Deep Squat Sit – PM

This is a common practice in several countries around the world and you can do it in front of your favourite soap or box set. Take a hip width stance and squat all the way down (Hold your hands out in front for balance, or hold on to something for the first few attempts.), aim to stay there for 5min initially and try to build up to 10. Feel free to shuffle your feet around to find a comfortable position that allows you to open your hips and keep your upper thoracic extended – your upper back.

If you practice these two drills you will find not only your squat will improve but also your mobility in moving around generally.



Filed under Fitness

Pause For a Second

Pause Squats are becoming more and more popular. After average people are starting to become aware of the behemoth that is Dimitry Klokov and his ridiculous 7+ second eccentric and 10 second pause with as much as 250kg!

This is a truly impressive feat of strength to behold.

However, before you go rushing in to loading up a bar and getting stuck.. I mean, pausing at the bottom of a squat, there are some things you need to think about first.

Can you do the following:
Perform a Full ROM BW Squat?
Perform a Full ROM BB Squat?
Squat 1.5-2x BW with Full ROM?
Do you know your 1RM?

If you answered yes to all of those then you will find pause squats are of great benefit to you, but if you did’t then I would suggest working on your mobility and base strength, then ask those questions again.

Pause squats have numerous benefits, but the main ones that interest people are as follows:
Increase Power from the Hole (Bottom of the squat).
The Build Strength.
Improve Upper Thoracic Strength/Stability.

Ideally you will start with around 50% of your 1RM and work on some rep based pause squats, there are several different rep ranges you can chose to start from, 4×6, 10×2, 6×3, 3×3, the list goes on but build a strong base before attempting a Klokov style 1RM.

There is no need to rush with this style of squat, if you do injury will surely be close by.


Leave a comment

Filed under Fitness, Nutrition & Health