Thursday, September 13, 2012

Front Squat Form for Crossfit

The reason I mention crossfit in the title of this video is because in all honesty, if you aren't a crossfitter or an olympic weightlifter, then you really shouldn't even front squat.  Ever.  Well maybe not ever, but your back squat should be where 100% of your heart and soul is dedicated to on leg day.  Football players, track athletes, gym rats, all should focus on the regular back squat above the front squat because the back squat includes all of your lower body.

The front squat focuses more on your quads than anything else.  Now if you back squat and never front squat will your quads be lagging?  NO!!  Actually I never front squatted until recently, and am looking to go for 405 for a single soon.  All because I can back squat 515.  The only reason I use the front squat is because I am looking to get into olympic weightlifting (already do powerlifting), and the front squat is a sport specific exercise to weightlifting (also to crossfit).

So if you are a crossfit athlete, you should front squat, but make sure you do it AFTER you back squat.  Back squatting is actually even a better way to develop your front squat than front squatting!  So just do your working sets of back squats, then do the front squats afterwards.  I suggest doing 1 leg day a week, doing 3 extremely hard all out 6 rep sets of back squats.  Then do the olympic lifts, then end it with front squats.  Generally you want to move from heavy to light.  Now you are probably thinking that the oylmpic lifts are lighter than the front squats, so why not do the oly lifts last?

Well the oly lifts are a higher priority and even though they are lighter, they are actually more taxing than front squats due to their unique requirement of power along with the axial load placed on your body.

So if you are a crossfit athlete or just are curious about the front squat, check this video out to see proper form.  But be sure one thing... you can NOT drop the back squat!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Why Half Squats Can Lead To Disaster

The quality of the work done is always more important than the work itself.  Whether you are working a minimum wage job, or going to school, it is not about what you do but how you do it.

If an athlete does not lift with correct form then it will all come crashing down in due time.  I myself have been able to work up to a 515 pound squat weighing 167 pounds, but have NEVER had a single injury.  Let me reiterate that.  I have been putting anywhere from 250-450 pounds on my back every single week for the past 4 years.  Thousands of reps.  No injuries.  Not once.  Now some people think that I am lucky or I must not be injury prone.  I think the latter is true but luck has nothing to do with it.

If you lift weights with bad form, like for example you squat above parallel here are the negative consequences.

  • You use more weight than your body can handle.  Hurting recovery and over-straining your CNS.  And most importantly, increasing the chance of a serious injury!  
  • The muscles used aren't even the same!  In the squat you need to reach parallel to hit the glutes, hip flexors, and hamstrings.  If you are quarter squatting, you are only hitting the front of your thighs!
  • Progress is hard to measure.  If you don't squat to parallel, then when do you stop?  Wherever it feels comfortable?  What will end up happening is you will adjust your depth to the weight you use, so you will never know when to stop increasing the weight since it gets easier actually because you are shortening the ROM.  
  • It won't be fun!  If you are constantly struggling with weight that you can't handle, it flat out will not be fun.  And if something is consistently stressful and not fun, you will not do it.  That simple. 
These principals apply to other lifts as well, especially the deadlift.  You will see a bunch of ego lifters throwing on 405 because their buddy did it, and bend their back so much they look like the personification of the letter n.  If you can't keep your back straight, you cannot and should not lift the weight.  Once again, it is very simple.

Here are some videos I made demonstrating proper form for both the squat and deadlift.  Note how it is clear that I can handle the weight I am using.  Even though I go till failure on the squat, I still am not shaking or having my back bend all over the place.  With proper form, you can go as hard as possible, with little to no risk of injury.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

What Type Of Athletes Should Lift Weights?

When you think of an athlete, what is the first thought that come to mind?  Most likely it is two things.  Winning.  And training.  Just look at a Gatorade or Nike commercial.  Chances are you will see moments of victory mixed with athletes working hard training.  Now when you think about training, what is the first thought that pops up?  For most, it is the playing field/court, and the weight room.  See how it does not take long to see how closely connected sports as a whole is to the weight room.  Regardless of your sport, you know that a part of your training should involve lifting weights.  You are probably thinking right now that this post is just stating the obvious.  Well, I agree!  But the reality is most high school athletes, coaches, and especially the general public do not even take lifting weights seriously!

Ask a high school track coach about sprinters/jumpers lifting weights, and I could guarantee you the first thing he will say is that strength is good but cant be overdone as the athletes will become too bulky.  A high school basketball coach is likely to give you the same answer.  Even high school football coaches often focus on doing an abundance of random lifts for the sake of "mixing it up", rather than actually having a focus on the proven strength building basic exercises.  

The whole point of this blog and Candito Training HQ is to emphasize that lifting weights helps every athlete and every person to become healthier along with being stronger/faster.  With athletes like Ryan Lochte and Usain Bolt using the weight room to take it to the next level in sports that people don't associate with lifting, it is becoming more and more apparent that the future champions in nearly any athletic endeavor will hold a barbell before they hold a gold medal.