Having trouble getting your athletes to squat well?
Getting someone to squat perfectly can sometimes be a challenge. With the differences in the body, mobility restrictions and strength levels some athletes will have a hard time perfecting this movement. Even with these issues, it is still my goal to help every athlete that I work with learn to squat effectively and efficiently. I have written previously about potential reasons why the squat pattern may be more difficult for some athletes [Here] and [Here].
When I was less experienced I used to think that every athlete should work towards Back Squats only. I used to be of the opinion that every athlete should learn to back squat. While I still feel as though the back squat is a great exercises for developing lower body strength and power it is simply not the be all and end all of squatting movements. Now I teach my athletes that it does not matter what squat we are performing whether it is a goblet squat, front squat, trap bar deadlift or back squat. What matters is their ability to improve over time in the pattern.
Make no mistake however, the squat is a fundamental movement that athletes need to be able to perform effectively. Sometimes figuring out the appropriate way to teach the squat can be difficult. I have recently stumbled upon the landmine squat. I was made aware of this movement by Gary Schofield a tremendous strength and conditioning coach at Greater Atlanta Christian College in the United States. In watching some of his presentations he mentions that he uses it as a first progression with his athletes.
Since adopting the landmine squat for my athletes, I have noticed a great improvement rate in the ability of my athletes to learn the squat. Previously on the recommendations of Dan John and many other great strength and conditioning coaches I used the goblet squat. However since using the landmine squat before the goblet squat our goblet squats have cleaned up and athletes are progressing to barbell squats a lot sooner with better technique.
I think the magic of the landmine squat is in the placement of the bar on the chest. This stops athletes from being able to fold forward, since they would be folding into the bar. The bar placement helps to cement the need to keep a more upright torso during a squatting movement. This really helps when progressing to other squatting movements that we will load a lot heavier.
Some of the main squatting rules still apply. If someone has trouble achieving depth I will use a box or other marker to ensure they are going low enough. The boxes also help to further ingrain the need to sit back in the squatting movement which is paramount in being able to handle progressively larger weights.
Finally, this movement is awesome for athletes who would struggle to hold heavier weights with a goblet squat. Using the landmine gives them something to hold on to which allows for more weight to be used over time.
Give landmine squats a try with your athletes, or if you are having trouble with your squat technique. This movement should help you clean up poor squat patterns and force you to do things correctly.