When teaching athletes to squat, coaching cues like “push through your heels” and “sit back” are commonly given in an attempt to improve mechanics and efficiency.
These cues have likely become so common over the years due to the tendency for people to shift their weight forward over their toes as they squat (🎥 left video).
However, when coaching larger groups of athletes, these general cues can sometimes result in over-correction and end up having the exact opposite effect as to what was intended.
When assessing squat mechanics in the clinic, we find that some athletes initiate a squat by sticking out their butts and lifting their toes off the floor. This tends to put them off balance to begin with and will decrease the overall efficiency of the lift (🎥 middle video).
Instead, try teaching people to stay balanced on their feet throughout the squat. Cues such as “grip the floor” and “picture each foot as a tripod, keeping balanced throughout the whole foot” can work well for some athletes.
A balanced squat will promote a more vertical bar path with the weight travelling over the midfoot (🎥 right video).
Obviously, not every rep will be perfectly vertical. However, having athletes focus on staying balanced on their feet should help to improve their squat technique over time.
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