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Exercises You Should Be Doing: Plate Loaded Front Squats

Posted Aug 19 2009 4:34pm

What Is It: Plate Loaded Front Squats (in this video I squat to a 13″ box, but these can also be done without a box as well).

Who Did I Steal It From: the plate loaded front squat inventor guy

What Does It Do: I LOVE to use this exercise with new clients for a variety of reasons.  1).  It’s fairly idiot proof to teach.  2).  It’s much less cumbersome to clients, and allows me to easily teach them the proper squat pattern without necesarily loading them up too much.  Too, this is a great squat variation for those with lower back pain since there’s little to no spinal loading.  3).  Furthemore, as any coach or personal knows (or at least they should), poor range of motion can usually be the end result of a stability issue rather than a mobility issue.

Many trainees are unable to get to proper depth on a traditional front or back squat due to the fact that they’re unable to engage their core musculature.  As Alwyn Cosgrove noted in a recent article, “Essentially, the body is shutting down the range of motion. Not because of tightness or a restriction, but because it perceives a threat due to the lack of stability.”  As such, with the plate loaded front squat, the trainee is forced to “engage” their core (hence providing more stability), and the movement cleans up rather nicely.

Key Coaching Cues: Shoulder blades should be retracted and depressed throughout the duration of the movement.  Trainee should sit back with their hips (maintaining a vertical tibia), until (s)he reaches the box.  It shouldn’t be a “plop” to the box- instead, I like to tell clients to pretend like they’re sitting on broken glass.  Drive through the heels and stand back up, finishing the movement with the glutes.  You’re awesome!  I think the girl on the ellipical likes you.

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