If you play @Steficohen’s squat videos with sound you’ll hear our teammates constantly yelling “ELBOWS!” Do you ever think about your elbows when you’re squatting? How to place them? What’s their role? How could they “damage” your squats?
Keeping your elbows neutral (down) is the best/safest way to squat: this because when you keep your elbows down, the bar’s load is evenly distributed perpendicularly on your body, placing most of the stress on your quads, decreasing the stress on your back as long as it’s being kept tight. You can also think about pushing the bar up with your hands as your elbows tuck down.
Instead, flaring your elbows backwards will draw the load forward aswell in an anti-clockwise motion, decreasing the stress on your legs, while increasing the stress on your lower back for you not to fall forward.
Always keep an eye on your elbows and make sure you keep them down & not back. Sure, lots of people are very flexible and can keep the load evenly distributed even with their elbows backwards, but, that doesn’t apply to most of us!
Many of you might have read the title and been like “successive induc-what?”. Successive induction is a neurological principle I learned about during one of my neuroanatomy classes that peaked my interest because it is something I’ve been doing without knowing how powerful and effective it can be in strength training.
Successive induction is when you activate or engage an antagonist muscle to help the agonist develop more force and control. The agonist is the primary muscle used during a movement- in the case of a squat this will be your glutes and quads, the antagonist would be your hip flexors. An even easier example is doing a bicep curl- the biceps are the agonist, and the triceps are the antagonist. Now that you understand what SI is, lets talk about how you can use it to improve your strength.
Next time you squat, think about using your hip flexors to pull you down slowly into the pit instead of just dropping without control. Now you’re using the antagonists to help you generate more tension around your hips or what we call “co-contraction” which further increases the stability of the joint. You can apply this principle to the bench, bicep curls, or other accessory movements. You’ll notice that each successive rep gets easier and easier, and if you’re doing a single rep you’ll feel more stable.
Remember, one of the main components of strength training is our ability to develop tension. Successive induction is just one of many techniques you can use to make your nervous system even more efficient and functional.
Both the Front Squat and the Back Squat are great movements. Selecting which movement to use depends on training goals, overall joint/muscle stiffness, and prior or current injuries.
Front squats have greater erector spinae involvement. This allows a more upright posture and reduced lumbar shear forces.
Back Squats have greater gluteal involvement, but higher lumbar shear force potential.
Front squat have lower compressive forces at the knee compared to the back squat.
Other consideration is sport specificity. Ex: powerlifters may gravitate toward back squats since it’s one of their competition lifts; and Olympic weightlifters may gravitate toward the front squat since that is the position that is required during the clean and jerk!
Written By @dr.giardina.dpt –