Jan 27, 2017
Squat Progression
Tim Crowley

Last week, Tim Crowley described how he teaches fundamental movement patterns to develop total athleticism in the weightroom. This week, he provides an example through a squatting progression.

A good example of how we build movement and lifting skills is our squatting progression. Squats are a standard in most college strength programs, so we want our athletes to have a good squatting base to build from. Once they master bodyweight squats, we start them on goblet squats with a 22-pound kettlebell. When they can goblet squat at that load with perfect form, we progress them to a 45-pound kettlebell. This makes the transition to squatting with a 45-pound bar seamless and reduces their injury rate when they begin heavier squatting.

Like squats, Olympic lifts are common in collegiate weightrooms. Developing skills in these movements while athletes are in high school builds their athleticism and explosive power and better prepares them to execute at the next level.

While teaching Olympic lifts, it’s beneficial to start with transitional exercises. These allow us to focus on a single aspect or skill of the lift as part of our warm-up to the key lifts. Some of my favorite transitional exercises are:

• Vertical leap from a hang position, which teaches athletes to push their feet into the floor and drive their hips to move the bar explosively

• High pulls from a clean or snatch grip to teach high elbows on pulling

• Snatch balance to teach speed of movement and shoulder mobility

• High cleans from the waist to teach quick pulling to a catch position.

Tim Crowley, CSCS, PES, is the Head Strength and Conditioning Coach at Montverde (Fla.) Academy. He holds elite coaching licenses with USA Cycling and USA Triathlon, and he has been named Development Coach of the Year and Elite Coach of the Year by the latter organization. He is also the owner of TC2 Coaching, LLC.

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