As a CrossFit athlete, there are several variations you can apply to a traditional squat to enable you to enhance your power, efficiency, as well as technique and translate to better numbers both in and out of the gym. You can decide to go box squats, chains, and bands and lots of other options. Pause squat is a straightforward, but very effective CrossFit training technique.It confers on you several benefits at times superior to the regular squats. When performing a pause squat, you come to a complete stop right at the bottom of the movement and hold that position for as long as is dictated and after that explode out of the hole. When holding the pause, you are required to remain tight in the hole, an instance that requires both concentration and practice. The Benefits of Pause Squatting There are lots of benefits that you can reap from pause squatting. These benefits will go a long way into building your athletic career. Among the benefits include: Building Horsepower When you stop the squat at the bottom, you effectively reduce the stress levels mounted on your lower back. However, this position causes your legs to work extra hard so as to push back into the starting position. A pause puts your legs under tension for a longer duration of time and enhances muscle toning. The more you perform these squats, the more your brain and body get familiar with the recruitment of slow twitch muscle fibers and building of strength for the supporting muscles of the lower back, abs, and hips. Assisting in Other Lifts In Olympic weightlifting, you are required to drop lower so as to get yourself to the bar quicker as the weight becomes heavier. To a beginner, this can be very uncomfortable, and at times you may feel pinned by the weight to an extent you cannot get up.Pause squats enable you to hold a deep position for few seconds. As you increase your pause squatting weight, you will feel relatively more comfortable when driving out of the hole during your Olympic lifts. Your deadlift numbers will go up as well because pause squats enable you to smoothly drive upwards from a bent knee position. Enhancing Your Athletic Performance There are different types of sports which require that you explode from a bent knee position. Talk of basketball players, football players, sprinters, and the rest, all these require that explosion. Pause squats train you so that you can develop the ability and strength to come out of the hole.When you get better at pause squatting, your explosive abilities irrespective of your sport will greatly improve. Since the squat is one of the major core movements in your day-to-day life, becoming proficient in it will help you in executing different movements in your daily life outside the CrossFit gym. If you want to give pause squatting a try, then you can do a three-week variation. In week 1, you can do 3 sets of 5 reps using a 7-second pause, week 2, you can do 3 sets of 4 reps using a 50-second pause, and in week 3, you do 3 sets of 3 reps using 3-second pause.
In the CrossFit repertoire, the overhead squat is upheld as one of the most vexing movements. It puts to test your balance, flexibility, coordination, and strength. Because of this, many athletes avoid spending hours developing the tools they need for a stronger overhead squat. There is a wrong perception that as long as an athlete has a good deadlift or back squat form, there is nothing else to worry about. The truth is an overhead squat is much more important and can help you reap the most from your CrossFit workout of the day.Getting better at overhead squats has an overflow effect on the skills you develop and are transferred to other movements such as the snatch. If you are keen on developing your overhead squat, below are tips to start you off. Identify and Work on Your Mobility Deficiencies In order to progress and perform an overhead squat, you must first have a solid squat foundation. The overhead squat places huge demands regarding mobility and flexibility in the hips, shoulders, glutes, hamstrings, and adductors. Chances are low that you are highly mobile in each of these areas. The task, therefore, is to sufficiently mobilize the muscle groups mentioned above so that you can become comfortable as you squat with a bar overhead. Develop Your Midline Stability In order to perform an overhead squat, you require a high degree of midline stability. Because this CrossFit workout movement involves holding a weighted bar overhead, you will also require a high amount of core stability. Much of the stability work in the overhead squat goes to the core which is predominantly the lower back. This means if you don’t have a stable midline, you may be vulnerable to hyperextending your lower back which may further result in unfavorable overhead position and injuries. Don’t Start with a PVC Pipe Instead Pick the Right Weight One of the difficulties associated with an overhead squat is in keeping the weighted bar over your base. When you use a PVC pipe, you can easily lock it out in all places some of which may be incorrect without realizing it. It is important for you to feel the bar so that you can develop the right position. A barbell or training bar can help you do this. Press into the Bar When doing the overhead squat, your focus should be on lifting and pushing the weight not just holding it. The body wants to move as a unit as you execute the dynamics of physics. This means as you descend, your muscle groups will relax and depress. The scapular group switches from elevation to depression while the upper traps switch to bigger balance with eccentric from concentric contraction. The last thing you want is for your muscles to be depressed and relaxed during this CrossFit exercise. Instead, they should be flexed so that they can form a solid support base for the overhead weight.As you descend into the bottom of your squat, do not rush out of it rather stabilize in the hole. Doing this reduces the chance of losing control of the bar path as you rise out of your squat.
Squats are a great reflection of your power and strength but also serve as a yardstick to show you the far you have progressed in your workouts. The popularity of squat extends beyond CrossFit into other disciplines such as weightlifting, strongman, powerlifting, and many others. Because of this, lots of squat programs have been developed thereby posing the challenge of how to tell the suitable one for you. Russian Squat Program In this program, you squat 3 days in a week for 6 weeks. In the first 9 sessions, you will progressively lift more volume while keeping the load at 80% of your 1RM. In the remaining 9, you bring down the volume as you head towards a new 1RM. Despite its high volume, this CrossFit training program includes easy sessions and gives you rest days.This program is excellent for a CrossFitter who wants to break through a squatting plateau while continuing with their regular gym programming. Smolov Program This program was developed by Sergey Smolov, a Russian master of the sport. It claims that an athlete can enhance their squat form by up to 100 lbs. We all know in reality a majority of people hardly get to three-quarters of this within the timeframe of the program which is 13 weeks.The way the program is structured is such that you have 13 weeks divided into 5 cycles. The first cycle starts with 2 weeks of prep and after that a base mesocycle phase that lasts 4 weeks. In this phase, you squat 3 times a week using 81% to 90% of your 1RM. This program targets experienced lifters who have about 1 year of active lifting. The beauty of this program is that it is flexible and can be easily tailored to a CrossFit training schedule. 20 Rep Squat Routine This program is credited to John McCallum who introduced it in 1968. It is arguably one of the oldest lifting programs available today. In this program, you squat 3 times per week for a total of 6 weeks. In each workout, you do a set of 20 squats. Every time you do the 20 reps, you are required to add 5 lbs. to your bar. By the end of the 6th week, the goal of this program is to squat your 5RM 20 times.One of the benefits of this program is that it enables you to build muscle mass. There is lots of flexibility in 20 reps squat routine which means you can integrate it into other types of full body conditioning programming. 5/3/1 This is a 4-week program where you perform a session of squat and assistance work each week. There are other sessions over the week which are dedicated to some other core lifts. In week 1, you do 3 sets of 5 reps first at 75% of your 1RM squat, after that 80% and lastly 85%. In the 2nd week, you do 3 sets of 3 reps starting at 80%, then 85%, and lastly 90%. In week 3, you do 3 sets of 5reps starting at 75%, then 85$, and lastly 95%. In the 4th and last week, you perform 3 sets of 5 reps at 60%, 65%, and lastly 70% of your 1RM. There is a great amount of time to recover because of only squat for one day a week.Mastering squat can enhance your CrossFit results. The above programs have lots of variety thereby allowing you to pick one and run along with it.