Strength exercise techniques


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Lecture on basic squat technique and other exercises for strength and conditioning. Lecture for HPE 345, Strength Programming for Sport. Wilmington College, Ohio.

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Strength exercise techniques

  1. 1. Strength ExerciseTechniquesNow we’re getting somewhere!
  2. 2. General Strength Exercises Back Squat Front Squat Deadlift Bench Press Barbell Row Shoulder Press
  3. 3. Back Squat The Barbell Back Squat has beenreferred to as “the king of lifts”. It should be found in some form oranother in almost any resistance trainingprogram for a given sport
  4. 4. Back Squat Muscles involved:◦ Quadriceps◦ Glutes◦ Hamstrings◦ Above are the main 3 according to NSCA, butalso heavily involved are spinal erectors andcore musculature◦ The deeper the squat, the more emphasis onthe glute muscles and hamstrings. Shallowsquats are mostly working “anti-gravity”muscles…quads and lower back.
  5. 5. Back Squat Types Many variations of squatting are out there.The main three are:◦ Olympic Squat Narrow stance, bar high on cervical vertebrae, rockbottom depth (or at least close)◦ Powerlifting Squat Wide stance, bar low on cervical vertebrae, and depthto just parallel◦ “Athletic Squat” Shoulder width or slightly wider stance, bar medium oncervical vertebrae, parallel or slightly below paralleldepth
  6. 6. The Olympic Squat Called “olympic” because ofolympic weightlifters, alsocommon in bodybuilding This type of squatting willplace a little greater stress onthe quads and knees than theother two types of squatting,which is why it is not used allthat often when trainingathletes As a note, olympicweightlifters get into thisposition 1000’s of time a yearwith low injury rates
  7. 7. The Powerlifting Squat Powerlifting stylesquatting is based onthe need to movemaximal amounts ofweight, and is notconcerned with themuscle groupsactivated Greater low backactivation because ofgreater forward lean.Supposedly greaterhip activation, but thisis disputed
  8. 8. The Athletic Squat The athletic squat is basically somewherein the middle of the olympic squat andpowerlifting squat regarding barplacement, stance, and torso actionduring the lift
  9. 9. Athletic Squat Form Stance from: shoulder width to feet about24” maximum Grip bar wider than shoulder width withelbows pointing down and scapula retractedand elevated (not too wide!) Toes are pointed slightly outward (up to 30degrees) to prevent the knees from comingtogether and to keep the focus on legstrength Knees point the same direction as toesduring descent and ascent
  10. 10. Athletic Squat Form A breath is taken before descent (exhale onthe way down and up) The lift is initiated by flexing and pushingback the hips The athlete lowers themselves until theyreach a position where the thighs are parallelor slightly below parallel with the ground The chest should be elevated (big chest!)andtorso kept tight during the movement The torso leans forward as the hips go back,this will not come naturally to manybeginners
  11. 11. Athletic Squat Form In the concentric phase the bar is lifted thesame path as the eccentric phase. The weight should be felt on the back 2/3 ofthe foot during the lift (heels). The squat is considered complete when theknees are almost completely, but not quiteextended (NSCA specific point) Although the above is true from a safetystandpoint, if maximal acceleration is beingapplied to the bar, the knees will alwayscompletely extend
  12. 12. Common Squat Faults Knees coming together◦ Caused by weak legs (and stronger hips)◦ This should ESPECIALLY be avoided in female athletesbecause of the Q-angle and tendency for knees to cometogether in dynamic movement Not enough depth◦ Usually comes from not knowing how to “sit back”. Themovement is a backward squat, not a forward kneebend. Can also be due to lack of flexibility in ankles. Rounded back◦ If the athlete holds the bar too wide, or doesn’t keep a“big chest”, or doesn’t keep their focus straight ahead orslightly up, this can happen
  13. 13. Common Squat Variations Front Squat Split Squats 1 and ¼ squats or 3 step squats Box Squats Partial Squats
  14. 14. The Front Squat The front squat is another method ofsquatting, and is the most commonvariant. It works the quadriceps musclegroup on the front of the legs a little morethan the backsquat does
  15. 15. Front Squat The front squat begins in a similarposition to the backsquat except that thebar is supported across the clavicles andanterior deltoids
  16. 16. Front Squat Technique There are actually 3 ways to hold the barin the front squat The first is the clean grip
  17. 17. Front Squat Technique The second type of grip in the front squatis the cross-grip technique This technique is helpful for less flexiblefolks
  18. 18. Front Squat Technique If the previous two grips do not work,wrist wraps can be used in order to securethe bar
  19. 19. Front Squat Technique The squatting principles from thebacksquat are similar to the front squatexcept that the torso does not comeforward as much, it stays more upright
  20. 20. 1 and ¼ Squat This squat is designed to emphasize thelower portion of the squat, as well as theglute muscles. This type of squat will alsohave a higher time under tension (TUT)because the movement takes longer tocomplete
  21. 21. Box Squat The Box Squat is used to build what isconsidered “starting” strength, and ispopular in powerlifting.In this type of lift, anathlete will squat down to abox, sit back on it, andthen drive off as hard aspossible. This requiresmany muscle fibers to beturned on without“preloading” and stressesthe concentric portion ofthe lift.
  22. 22. Split Squats and Single LegVariants Unilateral (single side) strength is importantwhen it comes to many sporting events Although SL strength is important, SL squats willhave a supporting role (as opposed to theprimary exercise)in many training programs,mostly because of two reasons◦ Single leg squats require a balance element, which canmake it difficult to achieve maximal muscle tension◦ Most athletes have a “bilateral strength deficit”. Thismeans that the strength of the two separately single legsadded together can be more than the total effort the twolegs can produce working together◦ Single leg work will play a greater role in programs thatare shooting for special and specific strengthdevelopment
  23. 23. Split Squats Barbell Split SquatThe barbell split squat is the samemotion as the Bulgarian split squat,but…the back leg is not elevated.This positioning will cause less of a“stretch” in the hip flexors andextensors. It is another nicevariation for single leg strength, butprobably a little less common thanthe Bulgarian version.
  24. 24. Split Squats Bulgarian Split SquatThe Bulgarian split squatcan be performed witheither a barbell ordumbbells. It specificallytargets the glute andhamstring musclesand is a great accessoryexercise for speeddevelopment.
  25. 25. Split Squats Pistol SquatsPistols are a great way of developing leg strength with or withoutthe use of external weights.
  26. 26. Partial Squats
  27. 27. Partial Squats Doing any squat short of parallel willguarantee backlash from “strength experts”. Typically, semi-squats will come closer to thejoint angles found in most sports, and canthus, overload that specific joint angle. They can and should be used, but probablyshouldn’t be used exclusively (see page 123of the text). They place higher force on thelumbar spine. Partial squats are useful “in season”, due tothe fact that they are a little less drainingthan full squats.