Preparation is key to proper squat movement

By Jordan Soukup, CSCS

“Many roads lead to Rome” – James Smith

This quote serves as a simple reminder that there are a variety of means and methods that can be used to help athletes improve. The same could be said of a warm-up. There are multitudes of variations that can be used to prepare an athlete for their upcoming training session. For the high school athletes I coach at the Sanford Fieldhouse, as well as at Roosevelt High School, we implement a variety of lower body exercises in our program. This article details what I implement to prepare them for days that include a squat variation as our main compound lift.

Soukup_Jordan_WEB160x200Upon arrival, the athletes are put through a foam roll series. This includes having them perform slow controlled rolls on their calves, IT Band, quads, hamstrings, and glutes. Afterwards will have the athletes perform a plate-loaded front squat. This is an exercise from Tony Gentilcore that we have found to be effective. By simply having the athletes hold either a 10- or 25-pound plate with their arms straight it forces them to engage their core while trying to attain proper depth. Next, we implement an overhead body weight squat that not only incorporates coordination, mobility, and stability but also allows us to see each athlete’s strengths and weaknesses with the squat.

Then we will move to the floor and have the athletes perform a push-up complex that incorporates yoga push-ups and push-ups into a Spiderman lunge. The yoga push-up allows us to achieve mobility in the ankles with some extra mobility benefits in the hips and t-spine as well. The push-up into Spiderman lunge achieves hip mobility while getting the athletes to mobilize the bottom of the squat position one leg at a time.

Finally, we put the athletes through a core activation series that includes front plank, side plank, SL glute bridge, and frog thrusts that address any possible issues that can arise with a lack of core stability or inhibited glutes.

There is an endless amount of exercises that can be incorporated to warm-up athletes. But hopefully this will give you an idea of how to implement a variety of exercises that are quick and effective in preparing athletes before a training session that includes squats.

Squat Movement Prep

  • Foam Roll Series (Calves, IT Band, Quads, Hamstrings, Glutes)
    • 10 rolls each
  • Plate Loaded Front Squat
    • 10 reps
  • OH BW Squat
    • 10 reps
  • Push-Up Complex
    • Yoga Push-Ups (5 reps)
    • Push-Up Into Spiderman Lunge (5 reps each leg)
  • Core Activation Series
    • Front Plank + Side Plank (20 sec)
    • SL Glute Bridge (8 reps each leg)
    • Frog Thrusts (8 reps)