Front Squat 2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2-2
Resting 1-2 minutes between, go heavy!
5 Rounds For Time:
9 Deadlift 135/95
6 Hang Power Snatch, 6 reps
3 Overhead Squat, 3 reps
You probably need to read this post, so grab a cup of coffee and get comfy.
Last week I sent out an email "reply all" to the adaptations group adding ankle mobility to the list of things to work on for the front squat. I stated that stretching your ankles could take pressure off your wrists. I probably had a bunch of your heads spinning, so I wanted to clarify how and why ankle mobility is important and can dramatically imporve your front squat.
Poor Ankle Mobility
The above picture shows Angie after a warmup that did not include ankle flexibility. Notice the near vertical angle of the lower leg. This vertical shin causes the butt to move backward too far and the torso to be leaned dramatically forward. Forward lean of the torso causes the elbows and shoulders to fall down. As the front rack dissappears, barbell puts tremendous strain on the wrists.
As you can see, Angie's wrists are taking a beating and she can't get below parallel. This picture is the real deal best she could do, no acting here.
Incorrect Solution #1
In this picture, I instructed Angie to keep her elbows up and squat below parallel any way possible. She solved the ankle mobility problem by creating another problem. Squatting on the toes. We see this one a lot and it is no good! Bad for the knees, incorect movement pattern, and limited muscle mass involved.
Incorrect Solution #2
Another poor solution your bodies will find to get below parallel with poor ankle mobility is the toes screwing out and the knees falling in. In this picture I told Angie to squat all the way down and keep her heels on the floor... good coaching right?
Because the anke can't flex forward, the toe turns out so the anlke can fall inward. This also negates much of the muscle mass in the squat and is dangerous on the knees. In this shot, where Angie has turned the toes out too far and squatted with knees in, she actually said, "Ouch that hurts!"
The Quick Fix
So what do you do? Get a box or a 45# bumper plate or anything you can hang your heel off. With a bent knee, relax your claves into a deep stretch and let your heel sink toward the floor.
The knee bent postion will focus the lower part of the calf (soleous) which is most restrictive in the squat position. We stretched Angie's soleous for apromixately 1 minute each, and low and behold...
The Front Squat After Stretch
In this picture Angie was able to stay much more upright and keep her heels down on the floor. Pressure is relieved from the wrists, and she is in a much stronger postion. Scroll back up to the first picture and look what a difference just stretching the ankles made.
But can we do even better? Yep!
Even Better in Lifting Shoes
In this last shot, we added the lifitng shoes into the equation and achieved the best position. The lifting shoe elevates the heel and makes the squat even deeper and more upright. For those with long legs and tight ankles, the lifting shoe can be a game changer.
If you have made it this far, you are truly interested in improving yourself. Here are two more bits from K-Star and the Mobility WOD on ankles and other things that influence front squat position. Be an over achiever and click below to learn more.
Heel Cord Love
Solving Front Rack Problems