The Benefit of the Barbell

After the post I put up about developing the squat I got a couple requests telling me their squat looked like this:


And they didn’t know how to fix and desired to.

I have always been the biggest believer that the best developer of the squat is the squat.  If you sit in the bottom of the squat long enough with enough weight, the squat tends to fix itself.  Does it take time?  Absolutely but eventually you fighting to get your torso vertical and fighting to keep your knees out will pay off.  This is how weightlifters are able to forego a lot of stretching (an abnormal amount) and forego a lot of mobility work.  A lot of their mobility work is performed with the barbell!  

What better way to work my external rotation in my shoulders than jerk grip overhead squats?  What better way to work my hip flexibility than rock bottom pause front squats at 90%?  I have yet to find a better way to stretch my hamstrings than Clean Grip RDL’s with a tempo.  My point is that often your best friend for your mobility can be the very barbell in your hands.  Don’t forget to use the movements to help your mobility and flexibility.  If the Olympic lifts are performed properly they are mobility exercises under heavy load and at high speeds.

All that being said there are a couple tricks out there to help improve the bottom of the squat.

Firstly, check this picture out of Jon North:

Sitting in that position for 5-6 minutes a day will help stretch the achilles tendon and create more dorsi-flexion in the ankle.  Also this drill from K-Starr will help.

Secondly, read this post on the bottom to bottom squat for help with the vertical torso and hip mobility.  Also you can perform this stretch from Mobility WOD.  

For working the thoracic spine try this drill that I have used before and after workouts.  You can also turn the PVC Pipe longways for more extreme work.  Lastly, try this thoracic smash (first video) or this thoracic smash from K-Starr.


5 responses to “The Benefit of the Barbell

  1. Dude I feel like I got enough mobility ammo out of this post to help any funky squat position my athletes can conjure! Great stuff!

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