5 Tips to Master the Quad Squat
January 27, 2010
Most people think of endless repetitions of push ups and sit ups when they hear the term bodyweight squat. That’s crazy! There are so many cool and funky bodyweight movements and variations out there. The sky’s the limit when it comes to equipment free training options.
One of the funkiest exercises of them all is called the Quad Squat (QuadSquat Video). It’s an excellent movement to foster full-body strength and coordination in forward pressing movements. In this exercise, all four limbs must work together to both absorb and create force.
I find many people have a hard time learning the Quad Squat in the beginning. This stems largely from the fact that most people are not accustomed to movements which have the legs and arms working in concert. Consequently, many people will descend and ascend using either only legs or only arms. The following tips are those which I have found most helpful as performance cues to help students perfect the Quad Squat.
Nose aligned with hands
Back parallel (table top)
Knees out and feet under hips or slightly behind
Take but to heels
Stretch your crown and your coccyx in opposite directions.
If you imagine a line drawn between your two hands, a plumb line dangling from your nose should fall directly on that line at all times no matter where you are in your movement.
Someone should be able to come along and put a plate of food on your back without worrying that the food would spill off. You should be able to keep that plate on your back throughout the whole movement. Sometimes I have students perform beside a mirror and take periodic glances at themselves to see if their back is indeed parallel to the floor, but don’t become reliant on a mirror. Shoot for being able to feel your body’s orientation in space.
Angling the knees slightly towards the outside opens up the hips and gives you a much deeper range of motion for the descent. Your feet should be placed just under your hips, or more likely just behind your hips. So a plumb line dropped from your hips should come down just in front of your feet.
On the descent, keep your nose lined up with your hands and take your butt as close to your heels as possible (while keeping your back parallel to the floor).
Keep the spine long by stretching the top of your head and your coccyx in opposite directions. Your spine needs to be loose and pliable but well aligned. This is why I say to lengthen the spine rather than trying to keep a “straight back.”
So now you have no excuse. Try out the Quad Squat, and crack open a whole new world of bodyweight exercise fun!