UpFit Training Academy – Squat Progression

Building a Strong Foundation for Fundamental Movement

UpFit Training Academy – Squat Progression

Jacob O’Connor

      Unfortunately, the word basic is commonly interpreted as easy or unchallenging. Too often we are influenced by snippets of physical feats performed for social media. Impressive as they are, most of this content is made for views rather than results and is not a model for how we reach our fitness goals. Any structure built upon a poor foundation is doomed to break down, our bodies are no exception to this. Building a strong foundation is the key to success, safety, and results when it comes to any movement. This is a concept that should always be taken into account in personal training and small group fitness programs. 

       At UpFit Training Academy we emphasize the importance of mastering the basics before progressing to more complex movement. Keep in mind, although some movements may be less complex, by no means does this put a limit on the results and progress one can yield. By manipulating variables such as frequency, intensity, and volume impressive gains can be seen before moving to more complex variations. One example of perfecting your foundation can be seen in our progression of the squat. Our progression of the squat from least to most complex can be seen below. Note that each variation is nuanced, for example, using a box is a great way to establish depth and can be used in most squat variations. 

Medicine Ball Squat Press Out

     The med ball squat press out is a great introduction to the fundamental movement of the squat, fantastic for people who may be new to personal training or small group training. This variation utilizes a medicine ball as a counterweight, encouraging an upright posture and improving squatting mechanics. This movement is done by extending the ball forward as you descend into your squat. Returning the ball to its original position as you return to the starting position. 

Kettlebell Goblet Squat

     The goblet squat is a common variation suitable for most people. The movement is performed with a kettlebell or dumbbell held near the chest. The goblet squat puts an increased demand on your upper body and the core as it is more difficult to maintain an upright posture. 

Double Kettlebell Front Rack Squat

     The double kettlebell front squat is a progression of the goblet squat. As you can tell by the name this variation includes squatting with two kettlebells, thus requiring the load to be carried in the front rack supported by the trunk This variation allows for more weight to be used and adds significant demands on core stability. 

Barbell Front Squat

     The front squat is performed with a barbell in the front rack which displaces the load further from the body. This variation  has a high demand of mobility, specifically thoracic extension and external rotation of the shoulders. There are a number of front rack variations that can be used for those that find it difficult to achieve the classic front rack position. Using the barbell allows for essentially unlimited load to be used during the squat. It’s very important to develop a stable front rack to facilitate sound squatting mechanics. 

     At UpFit Training Academy we believe in mastering the basics in our personal training and small group fitness programs. Building a strong foundation in movements such as the squat is essential to achieving longevity and health in your pursuit of fitness. Simple movements, proper execution, increase in demands, further adaptation … RESULTS. There is no need to reinvent the wheel, although more complex movements can be aesthetically pleasing to the social media viewee,  it’s a mistake to rush into them by sacrificing the most important step; the basics. 

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