Ahhhh….squats! We love to hate this power move but squats are one of the most important foundational lifts to develop the overall strength and power which is necessary for all other Crossfit exercises. To make things even more difficult, Crossfitters often have to perform squat variations which will make even a seasoned professional quiver at the knees – literally. Two of the toughest squat variations include the front squat, overhead squat and squat and press. So let’s have a look at why these big lifts are beneficial and how to perform them correctly.

FRONT SQUAT

The front squat is a tricky move for a number of people because of the almost awkward position in which you have to hold the bar (similar to that of the bottom position of a barbell shoulder press at the top of your chest). The flexibility of the wrists and elbows makes it extremely difficult to hold a perfect front squat position for many athletes who are new to Crossfit.

This move often comes with improper form, even for some experienced lifters. This can be because of the squat movement of from the positioning of the bar where athletes tend to hold the bar rather than to make a shelf with their shoulders by pulling the neck back and making a solid base to place the bar. So before worrying about holding the bar, first master the squat movement.

The benefits of this squat is that it will help to increase strength and power as well as to increase flexibility. It will also help to reinforce good back squat technique and help you to improve other power moves like the clean, jerk and push press.

HOW TO DO THE FRONT SQUAT

  • Place appropriate weight on an Olympic bar on the squat rack with the bar situated roughly 5cm below your clavicle.
  • Grab the bar with a grip which you would commonly use for a shoulder press but instead of fully holding the bar, hook just your fingers around the bar.
  • Move your body to meet the bar and stand with your feet in a typical squat stance.
  • Place the bar above your clavicles while rotating your elbows upward to create as much of a horizontal angle with your arms to create the “shelf”.
  • Unrack the bar as you tighten your midsection and take a deep breathe.
  • Pull the hips back slightly to place the majority of the weight on the heels.
  • Keep the core tight to stabilize the spine and perform the squat with your head up.
  • Hold your breath through the decent and exhale as you explode upward through your heels.




OVERHEAD SQUAT

The overhead squat is a super-challenging move which requires strength, balance and a whole lot of skill. By performing this move, even with an extremely light load, you will be able to pinpoint your weaknesses from a mile away. This power move will work your core like no other lift, plus it will set your shoulder muscles on fire.

Like with the front squat, before you attempt an overhead squat, make sure that you have mastered the back squat. Another move to perfect, which is used for purely for set up, it the barbell shoulder press. Make sure the weight you are attempting for the overhead squat is similar to what you are able to do for a shoulder press, or you won’t be able to get the weight up above your head.

HOW TO DO THE OVERHEAD SQUAT

  • Place appropriate weight on an Olympic bar on the squat rack with the bar situated roughly 5cm below your clavicle.
  • Grab the bar with a grip which is wider than that of a shoulder press so that when the bar is raised, it must be about 15-25cm above your head.
  • Move your body to meet the bar and stand with your feet in a typical squat stance.
  • Unrack the bar, tighten your mid-section, lower your hips back slightly and then explode the bar up through your shoulders and hips until it is above your head.
  • Keep your arms locked out with the bar perfectly aligned with your heels.
  • Pull the hips back slightly to place the majority of the weight on the heels.
  • Keep the core tight to stabilize the spine and perform the squat with your head up.
  • Hold your breath through the decent and exhale as you explode upward through your heels.






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