Can’t Squat? Tell ’Em What They’ve Won!

Do your students understand the importance of developing a mature squat?
By Logan Gelbrich, CCFT,

I’ve told students this and I’ve said it to our student coaches in our Coach’s Prep program. The single greatest gift I can give you as a coach of movement is the ability to squat. Clearly, the idea of what being able to squat means is rarely enough to motivate.

It’s key to understand that having a mature squat is much more difficult than it sounds. In fact, if while reading this you decide to bang out a couple of air squats to tell me to piss off, we might need to talk about exactly how those squats looked before you can ride into the sunset. Most people have squat issues. Hell, I squat damn well and I have issues.

The tricky part is that the squat is so basic, once athletes move well enough to be safe and bear a load, most of the coaching energy goes to more seemingly complex things. Meanwhile, air squats and front squats are executed each week with stability issues, range of motion limitations, toes that drift out, and so on.

Rarely, however, are athletes willing to hear what a good squat gets them. They already know. They roll their eyes as coaches describe the squat as the “king of all exercises.”

Related:10 Ways To Improve Your Squat

Let’s talk about what not being able to squat means instead.

If you aren’t the proud owner of a mature, organized squat, then it’s likely your hips don’t work. Faulty hips make for knee and ankle issues and vice versa. You can’t run without pain. You’re first in line for back pain. You’ll also need to say or listen to weird things like “lift with your legs and not your back.” If you can’t squat, it’s nearly guaranteed that you can’t get strong or remarkably fit. Furthermore, I’ll bet that if you’re active, you’ll be injured at some point this year.

Fun Fact: Zero percent of men and women in assisted living can squat.

It’s surely a negative way of looking at the situation, but sometimes we need to get whacked over the head. The good news? With a good squat, you can read the paragraph above and the exact opposite of every line would be true.

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