Front and OH squats were a huge sticking point for me for the longest time. I just couldn’t do them. At first I blamed my inability to perform either on arm or back size. Then after watching videos of athletes who were much larger and more muscular accomplishing the same lifts, my theories were proven wrong.
I wasn’t as large as I thought.
I just sucked.
Why try and do these lifts at all?
Honestly because I couldn’t. Sure I didn’t have to do them, but I love a challenge. Plus if I wanted to learn OLY lifts in the future (The Clean and Jerk or the Snatch) I had no choice.
Since my size theories were wrong, I was back to square one, so an Internet search began.
As usual, my initial searches came up with some pretty lame advice.
My favorites from the lame advice category were.
Luckily I was able to weed through the crap and found the answer I had been looking for.
I lacked flexibility.
With this information in hand, I set out on a quest to overcome these lifts.
Fast forward a year and I have improved drastically. Sure I still have some flexibility problems, but they are going away slowly. The great news is that I can now perform both lifts properly, and am steadily moving up in weight.
So what were my issues?
Well for the front squat I had a multitude of flexibility problems. As much as I wanted to blame my massive arm size on the problem it went deeper than that (Oh and they aren’t so massive).
Wrist flexibility, tricep flexibility, back flexibility and shoulder flexibility were the leading causes. To overcome these issues I began doing daily stretches before and after each workout and throughout the day, which targeted specific areas.
For the OH squats it was shoulder and upper back flexibility, not back size. I guess the problem developed over years of heavy lifting and zero stretching. Neglecting to work on flexibility during those years led to some pretty stiff muscles, which wouldn’t allow me to OH squat with anything more than a broom stick.
Here is what I did and continue to do.
If you want some information on all kinds of cool stretching exercises and mobility tips check out MobilityWod.com . This guy has all sorts of mobility videos that will get you where you want to be. Plus he’s much more knowledgeable on the subject than me.
*If you’re into working out purely for vanity sake, I doubt these lifts are going to be in your arsenal, but that’s a whole other subject. But if you want to look great AND be functional, the OH and Front Squat will help point out numerous flaws, which I guarantee have been hiding from you. From torso strength to flexibility issues, these lifts hide nothing.
Just remember, who cares if you look good if you can’t do anything with it.
See you in the hills
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