What the Squat?
And today in shocking news: CrossFitters love to squat.
They love talking about squats, showing off squat form in public, and incorporating all the squats in as many workouts as possible. What types of squats, you ask? To quote the great Bubba Gump: there’s air squats, back squats, overhead squats, front squats, goblet squats, box squats, squats you do with one leg, coconut squats, and grilled squats.
Your coaches spend so much time harping on good squat form because squats are a pillar movement in CrossFit. And besides bro’ing out under the bar on heavy squat days, there are tons of other reasons we emphasize the squat. Here are a few:
- Squatting is a total body movement. Yes, the primary movers are your legs, but in order to execute this lift properly your body recruits many other muscles. Namely, your core. You know, to keep you upright. Say you’re watching a buddy perform a squat, and their shoulders roll forward and their hips tuck under their chest. Congratulations, you have just witnessed a squat with an inactive core.
- Squatting builds muscle… everywhere. Not to be redundant, but squatting is a total body movement. For this reason, it is an excellent fat-burning, muscle-building, strength-gaining movement. Key growth hormones are released when we squat, which create the perfect environment for building muscle. More muscle = more energy = more fat burned. More muscle also means stronger, healthier, happier joints — which reduces the risk of injury.
- Squatting is Foundational to OLY lifts. Juuuust in case you didn’t catch it: squatting is a total body movement. All olympic lifts are considered “core to extremity” movements, or movements when most of your power comes from your core and transfers out toward the extremities. With the legs being a primary source of power output, building leg and core strength becomes essential for Olympic lifts. And squats are cool, because they’ll expose areas where our squat could use the most work, often in our lower body. Especially in mobility! For instance, if you have an athlete who tends to come into their toes, they may have tight ankles. Seeing where we are weak allows us to hone in on those weaknesses.
Guys, I could write a 89 page dissertation about squats and why we should all do them regularly (but don’t ask me to I’m very busy ok?). But instead, I’ll leave you with this: if you want to see your overall strength and conditioning (and the shape of your butt) improve, squat heavy and squat often.