A Deep Investigation into the Safety and Performance of the Deep Squat: Part 1

By djpope

November 1, 2015

deep squat, Olympic Lifting, performance, safety, squat

chad-580x435I had the opportunity to have a long talk with Chad Vaughn (2x Olympian, Power Monkey Camp and Crossfit Weightlifting Coach) at the most recent Power Monkey Fitness Camp.  One point both Chad and I agreed upon is that as a therapist it is a priority for me to have a deep understanding of how to improve mobility in the squat.  I need to be able to recognize these issues, figure out why they’re occurring and be able to improve them efficiently and safely.

A major issue Chad (and myself) often sees are athletes that are having difficulty with the squat.  As an excellent coach, Chad is also constantly looking for ways to improve his athlete’s stance and depth during the squat.  This is mostly with gaining adequate depth in the squat.  One of Chad’s biggest points is that if his athletes could achieve an ideal squat it would end up making all other aspects of olympic lifting much easier.  We both agree here.

Toe out SnatchChad likes to see a rock bottom squat with between 5 and 15 degrees of toe out in the bottom of the squat.  What we see as coaches frequently are athletes that can’t achieve adequate depth in the squat and subsequent compensation when they attempt full depth.
Some common compensations seen are:

  • Increased Toe Out
  • Increased Stance Width
  • Decreased Depth
  • Lumbar Spine Flexion
  • Increased Forward Trunk Lean
  • Knee not in line with toe (Increased knee out generally with hip flexion restrictions and knees in generally with inadequate ankle mobility)
  • Athletes coming up on the toes (Weight shifting toward the front of the foot)

As a physical therapist and coach I have 2 major priorities: Safety and Performance  I wanted to put together an article series that thoroughly investigates the squat.  We’ll be going over common compensations, why and where they occur as well as interventions for improving the squat.  We’ll also be discussing the safety of the deep squat, looking at every joint that gets stressed in the process of squatting.  Lastly we’ll talk about Chad’s most recent innovation entitled the contraption squat as well as my own experience with his innovation.

As a sneak peak, here are some of my favorite exercises to improve the Overhead Squat:

Next time we’ll go over compensations, why they occur and how to best address it.

This one is gonna be enormous,

Dan Pope DPT, CSCS

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