Great job yesterday and so fun to see so many of you tackle to the ropes in the WOD! In our strength portion today we will do a complex that requires great form on the front squat (as we are doing both a squat clean AND a front squat as part of the complex).
The front squat demands excellent stability to cope with bearing a front load. Because the weight is on the front of you, you need to push back into your heels in order to counterbalance the forces that are pulling you back and forward.
In order to do this, it is key to keep the torso as vertical and upright as possible.
This diagram shows the angles involved in a back squat (left) and front squat (right). Notice the larger hip angle in the front squat that is necessary for the more upright position:
The negatives of a forward lean
- It puts stress on your spine
- The weight might be held on your wrists, which can injure these small muscles
- The bar is highly likely to roll forwards off your shoulders!
Elbows up“Elbows up” is important throughout the movement, particularly in the bottom squat position when the bar will want to roll and drop off you the most. Think about keeping your elbows up so you are forced to raise your chest and keep your torso vertical.Compare this athlete’s elbow positions:
What else can help you reduce your forward lean?
- Practice front squats at home with a broomstick or with a PVC and use a mirror to check how upright you are
- Improve your thoracic mobility – if your thoracic spine is curved you need to work on improving thoracic extension through mobility drills and foam rolling
- Improve erector spinae stability – the erector spinae is key in keeping your torso tight and erect. Good Mornings can be very beneficial in improving spinal stability (mid rep range/5-8 reps and focus on technique and keeping tight)
- Keep your knees out. Keep your knees on the way down but even more so as you begin to ascend upward. When knees are out and elbows are up, the mid back is less likely to cave in
- Push through your heels – the weight will move forward if you use your toes rather than your heels (make sure your heels don’t come off the floor!). You’ll lose balance, lean forward and probably drop the bar.
Coach Chris jumps in with Angie for Friday’s partner WOD…