This brings us to our third and last installment of the squat series. So we’ve covered the squat pattern. We’ve covered loading the squat pattern, so what is left? Let’s revisit our continuum.
Pattern> Grind> Symmetry> Explosive> Ballistic> Chaos
We covered the first two with our first two posts. In this one we are going to cover the last 4 namely
Let’s get to it.
Are your left and right sides equally strong? Are you balanced if you load the Squat unevenly? Let’s look at the first question, left vs right. Are your legs in balance in terms of mobility and strength? We test this by doing a skater squat or pistol squat to compare sides. These not only compare strength but also mobility and balance. To compare individual leg strength under load you can use the split squat.
The second question is how do you handle a single sided load when you are on two legs? A kettlebell rack squat is a good assessment of this. Then there’s also the sandbag shoulder squat. This checks how strong and stable our support structure is. These assessments are also correctives to get the symmetry.
Explosive and ballistic
I’m putting these two together because they are basically the same thing. Both are power type movements ballistic is just cyclic (repetitive) movements. Simply put, a squat jump is explosive, 5 squat jumps in a row is ballistic. The key thing to remember is that you need good landing mechanics in place if you want to do ballistic movements optimally. In our previous article on power we provided some more details on power. The basics of it is Strength X Speed = Power . Simply put, a lot of force and a little time. These include Squat jumps, box jumps, band squats, Thrusters. Not really the Olympic lift variations because these are more based in the hinge to produce power.
This is going out of pattern. Can you handle a deviation from the pattern? The gymnastics coach Christopher Sommer calls it an optimal surplus. Do you have that little bit extra to deal with the strains to the optimal pattern? Are your connective tissues conditioned to handle some strain?
Here's some movements to play with to build resiliency in the squat from Dewey Nielsen.
So there you have it. The basics of squats and its variations.
Note: we will update the post and youtube channel with videos detailing these soon soon.