The Back Squat Grip

By Benjamin Goh

Commonly, the close grip is used when doing back squats. This is because your body will be able to create a better shelf base along your trapezius that will support the bar. Besides that, it enhances a better center of gravity base to perform your squats, especially when the load is heavier.

This shelf or support base is subjective to each individual’s body proportion and dimension. The rule of thumb is that your palms are on the bar just outside shoulder width, and your elbows are to be pointed downwards to the floor. Certain individuals may seem to have a different angle to where their elbows are pointed. As long as they feel well supported and comfortable with the trapezius and rear deltoids supporting the loaded bar, that will be the ideal position with respect to grip and posture.

A wider grip will initiate more work on your latissimus dorsi to support the load of the bar. The angle of the elbows will also be compensated with that position, and is likely to affect the stability and movement pattern of the squat in that sense. This will add a challenge to your body in terms of the work being done. However, this may not be ideal for a movement pattern that will transfer on to Olympic Weightlifting and other natural body movements.


Why We Should Squat

By Benjamin Goh

The squat is naturally one of the most basic human movements. Think about it for a moment. It is essentially part of the first movement patterns for any baby to make its first walking steps. Baby gets into a squat position, finds balance, and then finds it footing to walk. It is also a common movement for survival skills in our daily lives. Sitting down, taking a dump, picking or carrying things, crawling etc. They all somehow involve the movement of a squat. So, what’s the harm in squatting more?

Firstly, let’s have a general understanding of the squat mechanism. The main movers while performing a squat are the legs, hips, and glutes muscles. It also involves the primary core stabilisers, which includes the abdominal muscles and erector spinae. In truth, since the squat can be a demanding exercise on the body, the list of stabilisation muscles used would include everything from the muscles of your jaw all the way down to your feet. Therefore, when performed correctly and efficiently, our bodies will be producing high level of work output with such exercise.

With consistent work on your squats, the body will develop a better neurological pattern for the movement itself. Through this progress and moving to heavier loads, the body will then adapt to such conditions continuously. As a whole, squatting will enhance the sturdiness and strength capabilities of our bodies. By no means, it will be an advantage for the strength and athletic development of any individual today. Hence, squatting is considered the base of strength foundations.

Besides the physical and mechanical benefits of the squat, it also provides great mental challenge for self-development. There may be a stage where just doing squats can be very dull. Squatting is a straight forward movement that can be worked around many variations. For example, besides the common back squats, and front squats, there are overhead squats, dumb bell squats, goblet squats, single leg squats, just to name a few others.

So, if you want to work developing your squat progress, be sure to mix up the work variations and rep schemes too. This develops better muscle memory and strength by shocking the legs and body coordination. For more seasoned individuals, high repetitions and heavy load squats will challenge their mental capacity to push through and complete their work output. This will help in gradually progressing to bigger numbers and reps as the neuro-system is constantly being stressed and worked on.

So, there you have it. Squatting can be a fun challenge, and definitely get us stronger for the challenge of life. But before you go on and squat your heart out, be sure you are doing it safe and right, then enjoy the whole fun to it.