The Olympic Squat
Given what ought to be common sense and knowledge (medical approval, etc.) and when executed properly and safely, all forms of squatting are, most likely, going to be beneficial for an athlete. Each of the squats described, has specific benefits, as well as potential and unwanted consequences. I will do my best to provide the information needed to make sound decisions. As far as I am concerned, an athlete should be using all three types of squatting, but certainly not at the same time. This is where a valuable and knowledgable trainer comes in handy. Choose the right one, because there are a lot of unqualified "trainers" and coaches out there that will serve their egos well before they serve you.
The Olympic Squat is of great value to any athlete that wants to increase his or her vertical jump. The following is a justification for why athletes need to include the Olympic Squat in their training regiment. The OS places the bar on top of the trap muscles, which will, most likely, increase the lever movement. The increase in the lever movement, will, assuming that all other fundamental and technical requirements have been satisfied, keep the body in a more upright position. This increase in the body angle, will necessitate greater knee flexion, thus placing more stress upon the joints of that region. If you compare the above photo to the Power Squat photo, you will note a dramatic difference in both knee position, and subsequent angle. However, you will see an equally dramatic difference in the angle of the upper body. While more stress is placed on the joints of the knee in the OS, there is a decrease in tension placed on the lumbar region of the spine, as there is decreased flexion. Additionally and because the lever is lengthened in the OS, there is an increase in the range of motion and tension time placed upon the engaged musculature. This increased range of motion and tension time equates to greater gains in strength. However, more muscles are enagaged, and many to a greater extent, in the Power Squat. This is why I personally recommend all three types of squatting. Each has certain and specific benefits that the others do not. Remember, if you want to get stronger, you must strengthen your weak areas. I hear different factions arguing that one squat is better than the other, and this may very well be true for certain and sport specific functions. However and aside from the former, and provided that the correct and all-inclusive, as well as optimal plan is in place, an athlete will only get better by implementing all three forms.
*Step into the power rack and under the bar.
*The closer your hands are together, the tighter the lock in the thoracic region of your back.
*Ensure that you have established the line of power, beacuse there is only one available to you at this moment in the lift.
*Ensure that your chest is out, and your back is locked.
*Take in air and tighten your entire body
*Lift the weight off of the safety structure, and step back into squatting position
*Your head positioning will be slightly different in the OS than in the PS. This is because of the implemeted and designed angles of execution.
*Begin by shifting the hips back, as you simultaneously descend
*Continue to descend
*Continuously push the knees out. This will help alleviate the pressure to, and on, the knee joints
*Descend until you can not go any further. Note the depth in the photo above!
*Explosively fire yourself upward, maintaining the same back and body angles that you descended with.
*Ensure that your chest stays out and the back stays locked throughout the duration of the movement
*Never lock your knees when squatting. There is a fundamental difference between the terms straight and locked. Straight legs are good, but locked legs are not. Locked legs means locked kness, and this equates to an increase in stress to the joint.
*Rerack the weight in the same fashion that you began to engage with. Ensure that the line of power is in tact as you place the weight back into the safety structure. Remember, you are more fatigued at the end of your set than at the beginning, so proceed with a hightened sense of safety!