Your Squat Unleashed!

Sounds cool huh? Squat Unleashed. I like it…therefore…I used it for my article. Before we get into the square meal of what I want to talk about in Your Squat Unleashed (damn that’s badass) ..sorry ok, article…let’s make sure we know what page we all are on.



get low squats


#1 – we know there are a thousand and probably more articles, blog posts, books, emails, voicemails etc on how to squat big numbers. This method that method. True there are some good methods out there for your routine. This leads me to #2.

#2 – PRINCIPLES. Principles People PRINCIPLES. The PPP. Do Not mistake it for O.P.P. please…lol. A lil back in the day.

What do I mean? Well a wise man once said, methods are many, but principles are few. I believe Ralph Waldo Emerson said that. I hope it was he who said that, but regardless I’m just glad I remember what was said (?). whoa. Anyway point made is there are many methods to doing something..aka better squat programs and so on. But if your principles aren’t in place I’m not so sure those methods would be so worthy. What are the principles? Well we may all have different ones. But I’ll shed light on a few of mine because hey there are only a few.

1 – Built Around Ground Based Multi-joint Movement Patterns

2- Addressing Specific Metabolic Demands

3 – Individually Tailored Programs

4 – Improving General Physical Preparedness (GPP) and Special Physical Preparedness (SPP)

This isn’t my full definition of my philosophy but this will suffice for now.


So on to the square meal. Your Squat Unleashed. It’s not about your sets and reps. Not about how to load and progress. It’s truly about you. Your pattern from the ground up. We’ve seen corrective exercise shoot through the roof over the last 5-7 years talking about weak links and how to improve your pattern to squat. But I have found that it depends on each individual. I’ll explain. I had an awesome conversation with a guy who is my chiropractor, who has helped me find some intelligence in the world of being an athlete, training athletes, training all populations and helping me become a better strength coach yearly. His name is Doc. Ha really but his real name is Vince Lobato. Smart as hell guy. I can’t even explain to you how far advanced he is. And has been for a very long time. Any way, we were talking about squatting and my question to him was regarding natural knee hingeing in the squat. A ton of guys box squat, a ton of guys free squat, a ton of guys squat really wide and more than a ton of guys don’t squat at all. (We won’t talk about them though I would really like to).

So the discussion was basically about the coaching cue knees out. A very common cue. Because the good ole values stress (inward migration of the knee) and trying to control the knee. Therefore, corrective exercise specialists immediately went for the glutes region. Well maybe yes. Obviously one would have to know what your looking at and assess. But the table turned on that thought when Doc explained this to me. “Cueing the knees out going down is ok to a degree. And is ok should the knees get back to its natural path to hinge as we rise up in out of the squat. And of course without migrating too far into valgus. Here is the problem(s) if each squatter is not evaluated. Most of the time when one is cued to push knees out the equally roll outing supinate the foot as well. Which in tern means you cause a strain on the LCL ligament and the gracilis at the proximal attachment point. Not good.

And so if we don’t cue knees out then the possibility of one going down and up with the knees too far in could be disastrous too. Strain on the mcl, pets anserines and ACL scare. But this is why we assess. And what if we see pronation at the foot or supination at the foot? What if its unilateral? So I begged  this question of the DOC… so if I evaluated my client squatting with no shoes and they lift with no shoes obviously I’ll know whats happening at the feet.


I left that alone for a minute. What if we see one or the other or both in the feet while we squat? Speaking of pronation, supination at the foot. His answer? If there is no pain, no compensatory stress in the body anywhere then let it be. What?. Answering..we all have natural positions in the body. A slight varus tibia on one or both sides underneath the femur. An internally or externally rotated femur underneath the pelvis and above the tibia.  There pattern. Some may need adjustments and repositioning work. But unless they have pain, tweaks, or what have you they are good and will probably be strong.

All Purpose Deload Week

I’m often asked about deload weeks…

1-What do you do during one?

2-Do I need them? And if so, how often?

FIRST – A good rule of thumb on a deload week is a 50-60% reduction compared to your normal volume and/or intensity. One isn’t necessarily better than the other and if you’re feeling really run down, reducing both is good.

What you don’t want to do during a deload is take the week totally off, because chances are you will come back, start training and get really sore and you can lose a bit of your fitness taking a total week off to boot. I think it is important to add in her that introducing new stressors during a deload week may impede your restoration, which is the entire purpose of a deload.

Deload weeks are also the perfect time to do as much passive restorative work as possible, like ice baths and contrast showers.  These kind of things reduce inflammation and muscle damage..but they have a purpose in the training adaptation process  that signals the body to grow/strengthen to prepare for the stress you’re imposing on it (SAID PRINCIPLE).


**Much Needed Insert Here** See Below

Guys.. I mandatory part to here is you need a deload week. Too many hate backing off in fear of losing strength, power, etc.  And I get it, your’e motivated you want to push and push because only Va J J’s quit or punk out and rest. I have to say those who get rest by reduction will actually come out stronger, period.


Ok back on track…well I think we were anyway lol…


SECOND – If you actually understand how to train hard and you do that on a fairly high volume program (if you train on lower frequency/volume then you can probably go without deloads), then I would suggest you deload every 3rd to 7th week. The stronger you are, the more frequently you’ll need to deload. I know that I need a deload every 4th week in a meet training cycle to stay healthy and keep progressing, you might not need to as frequently, but you’ll be better off taking one before you really need one. Make sure that you are earning your deloads, so the training during the previous week should be very demanding. If you aren’t being honest with yourself about pushing yourself during regular training, then don’t pretend that you need a deload when you don’t and on the other side of things, don’t try to have the hardest deload/recovery work possible, as then things just all tend to turn into medium intensity work and that doesn’t really get you anywhere. Make your hard work hard and your easy work easy.


Review your programming variables…volume, frequency, intensity, loading, and I’ll toss in stress. These are key elements to progression vs regression in terms of  your goals.