Squats are an excellent exercise for strongmen because they target many of the muscles used in strongman events, such as the legs, hips, lower back, and core. Often, strongman will skip squatting because squatting events are so rare in strongman competitions, but it is curial to have the foundation for the carryover for other events. Here are some tips for incorporating squats into your strongman training:
1. Good form is crucial for injury prevention and maximizing the benefits of your squatting sessions. Keep your back straight, generally feet shoulder-width apart, and knees in line with your toes. Everyone is different and will find some foot spacing more ideal than others. There is no “one-size fits all” for squatting. The key is to find the foot spacing that works for you. Lastly, drop your hips down to full depth (hips below knee height), given no mobility issues, and drive out of the hole while keeping heels down and knees out.
2. There are many different types of squats you can do, which include: Front Squats, Back Squats, Box Squats, Zercher Squats, and Safety Bar Squats. By adding variation to your squat patterns, you can target different muscles , prevent boredom, and improve your squat strength faster by going against the Law of Accommodation. The Law of Accommodation (when considering lifting) simply states that the adaptation to a given exercise will diminish over time and eventually stop all together if you continue doing the same exercise. However, safety bar squats can aid in developing the mid back which is very important for strongman style of deadlifts. Front Squats and Zercher Squats can aid in stone or sandbag loading. Finally, back squats are extremely helpful for developing leg drive for overhead pressing events. Best practice is to use multiple squat variations within your long-term training, develop... each type of squat, allowing you to be well rounded strongman athlete.
3. Squats are a phenomenal way to warm up before other strongman events, such as yoke carries or sled pushes. Start with a few sets of lighter squats to get your muscles warmed up and ready for the heavier lifts. As you warm up before these events, squats are an excellent way to check the engine and see how things are going. What I mean is, a racecar driver doesn’t get on the track to win the Indy 500 without first running engine tests. Same with strongman. Check the system before you compete and use squats as one of the ways you do that. How does that low back feel? How do the hips feel? How do the ankles/calves feel? Squats are a great total body movement to check in with the body to warm up and prep accordingly.
4. While squats are an important part of strongman training, they shouldn't be the only exercise you do. Make sure to incorporate other
exercises specifically single leg movements such as lunges, single leg presses, rear foot elevated squats and sled marches. These movements target all the muscles used in heavy carry strongman events, such as yoke, farmers, car pushes and pulls. I hope this helps y’all with your squat training going forward. Happy squatting!
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