Squatology Basics

While I’d like to think that every trainer out there has a good repetoire of leg exercises out there, unfortunately most revert back to simply performing the basics: partial range piss-poor squats, leg press (again partial range), leg extensions, and if they feel like it they may throw in something for hamstrings, but only on workout days when their significant others’ menstrual cycle links up with a full moon in the third house of Jupiter. So as such, I thought I would showe a few easy squat variations that can help to mix up your training to make it more fun, and a bit of a different challenge.

Here’s a quick video on the basic positions of the major squats that you can perform in a square stance: the front squat, back squat, and kettlebell shoulder squat.

n a future post, Iwill look at a few different split stance variations I’ve used successfully with clients and myself. I can’t do it this week since I tweak my knee showing a stretch to a client yesterday, and although its’ still full functional, I don’t want to risk spraining it or making it worse. Looks like it’s gun-show time for the rest of the week.

Note: If there’s anything you want me to cover in the future, just let me know. With the new toys I can do a whole mess of additional fun things like this, including exercise demos, tutorials, and anything else I can think of.

About deansomerset

Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist, Post-Rehab Specialist, personal trainer and probably the coolest guy my mom knows, I try to impart a little knowledge with a sense of humor to keep people reading. I've always thought if it's something that can grab your attention, you're gonna remember it tomorrow!!
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Squatology Basics

  1. Mike Groth says:

    Hey Dean –
    nice squatology vid. If you get around to it in the future, maybe some videos for progressions for shoulder stability? I think I might know of someone who could use it….

  2. Danny says:


    Would you say some people should never squat?

    • deansomerset says:

      Danny – No, I have a lot of clients with knee, hip, low back, and other issues who squat, the difference comes in how you progress it. Obviously they would be using less than body weight through a partial range of motion and with a reduced volume, but it would be important to get them to squat, as it is used so much in daily life and will help them to move better at the end of the day.

  3. R Smith says:


    You really aren’t helping your case for making me dislike your blog. Dayum!
    I swear….
    What perfect timing: Made a mental note to bring up the question of what to do when you cannot keep your arms up–and thus the barbell wants to roll forward–during the descent on the front squat?
    I’m 6-5, 220 (yeah! thanks to Cressey’s Ultimate Off-Season Manual), and I’ve progressed through front box squats, SSB box squats, box squats with no box, and now I’m doing front squats. But as I load the bar, I notice it’s very difficult to keep my elbows up, say, beyond 3 reps on a heavy set. Any ideas?

    • deansomerset says:

      Ha, glad to hear I got your attention.
      If the bar keeps sliding forward, you’re probably not protracting your shoulders forward enough, or you’re flaring your elbows out to the sides too much. Try to keep the elbows straight ahead, pointing them if you will, and put more weight in your heels so that you can maintain a more vertical torso and limit the forward roll as much as possible. Hope this helps!!

  4. R Smith says:

    Perfect! That little deal you did at the beginning of the video–mixed with what you just wrote–is the key, I think. I’ve NEVER had anyone say “protract the shoulders forward,” and my not being an especially meaty guy, I don’t have these massive delts to provide a shelf. But if I protract forward, I think that’ll work. I’ll let you know.

    Seriously, Dean, you are really helping guys (and gals I’m sure) stay healthy and do things correctly.
    I enjoy any info you provide, but I’d love to see more of your mobility drill and single-leg training progression videos. Thanks immensely.


  5. Ron Martin says:

    Nice vid of squat variations. Just a quick question/comment about cueing the bar placement on the back squats. I am a little confused on the “shrug your shoulders up to get more contact with the bar” cue. We usually cue to get the shoulders back and down to stay tight in the upper back (and keep the chest up)- maybe you can elaborate? Always great to learn from those like yourself who are in the trenches everyday.
    Nice blog with consistently fresh content!

    • deansomerset says:

      Hey Ron. Good point, essentially it make have come down to a poor choice of verbage on my point. I should have said to pull your shoulders to the bar to make as much contact as possible with it rather than simply balancing it on C7. Good observation!!

  6. rob says:

    Always enjoy reading the material and the new videos are great.
    What are your thoughts on zercher squats? any particular reason you may program those instead of front squats (other than to put a gold star on your man card)?

    • deansomerset says:

      Hey Rob. I like Zerchers, but I don’t use them often in my programming, as Im alwasy trying to get the squat better before giving that one to anyone. Most people have some issues with mobility through their T-spine, so giving them something like that can pull them further unless they have bulletproof spinal stability to resist it. That being said, I’ve used it with a few highland games competitors, throwing athletes, powerlifters, and others who need explosive power, but I put a different spin on it by making them perform a variation of a front raise with the weight at the top. They drive through their legs and finish with the bar at eye level. It’s wicked bad-ass, and puts a gold, platinum, and kryptonium star on that freakin man card!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s