And so what did all this lead up to? Squats (not squat, squats!).
Class was divided up into 6 different groups and then given the task of working up to a 5rep max for the day. We talk about a lot of different cues for different pieces of the squat, like initiating with the hips or driving the knees out, but sometimes, it’s important to remember why we focus on these pieces. So let’s step back and see the whole forest rather than concentrating on a few different trees.
Maybe you think “If I drop down fast, then I’ll save energy to come back up,” or “If I bounce, maybe just a little, at the bottom, it’ll help me come back up.” Maybe you don’t actually think it, and it just happens, a sort-of subconscious decision. Either way, it’s tempting, isn’t it? I mean, unlike the deadlift where we can let go and drop the weight, once that bar’s on our back, and we’re at the bottom of the squat, we HAVE to stand up with it. So, maybe if we, just, you know…a little??
NO. A million times no. The only way to properly squat (or deadlift, or press, or bench press) is to get tight, and then stay tight. The first, getting tight, involves drawing in as deep a breath as possible, holding the breath, and squeezing it in your belly (as opposed to in the chest – a big chest is important, but it won’t help you stabilize the lower spine). The second action, staying tight, involves tensing up every muscle in your body at one time, locking down the essential parts to create as stable a base as possible from which to initiate your lift. That includes grinding the heels into the floor (which not only tenses up our posterior chain, but also sets us up to keep our knees driven out when lifting). However, it also includes pulling the bar into your back, as if you were actively trying to bend the bar across your shoulders (which helps us tighten up our lats). Combined with our deep breath, our trunk should be well equipped to squat heavy.
With nearly 25 people in class, the met-con had to be simple, yet tough, space saving, yet intense. The result was a trio of 10! ladders (10! = 10-down-to-1) made up of push-ups, then sit-ups, and finally, the ubiquitous burpees. So, P1 does 10 push-ups, then P2 does 10 push-ups, then P1 does 9, etc., etc. until the pairing has finished all three ladders and called time.
Great work in a big class. Take the opportunity to rest up what I’m sure are some well-worked posterior chain muscles, and we’ll see everyone Tuesday.