Positioning Over Depth
At Verdant I’ve tried to keep the messages repetitive and unwavering. My primary message, “Positioning over Depth,” has been a combination of my ideology as well as a product of circumstances. The denotation is quite literal: make sure the positioning of a squat is what is valued over the depth of the squat. The connotation is also fairly obvious but it’s just a reflection on what is most important when building strength and working out under intensity: perform good movement at all times and don’t worry about the standards even if that means we aren’t “RXing” the workout. There are all kinds of different body types and levels of fitness that walk into Verdant and the goal is to get them to do the best movement they can do without compromising position. It isn’t reasonable to ask everyone to squat below 90 degrees; squatting below 90 is the EVENTUAL GOAL. Check out this link to see how The CrossFit Journal dissects the squat.
We have a fair number of students that lose a lower lumbar curve or have a dramatic pelvic tilt among other issues in their squat. We give them additional stretching, different muscular balancing exercises and still we may have them squat with good positioning above 90 degrees. CrossFit is amazing and we can all agree that it works and is good. But there are proper applications of even the best things in life. Ice cream is amazing and good, but if you ladle a pint into your ear you are going to wind up with some problems. Everything that I’ve learned through CrossFit has wound up to be more or less correct. The issue is that there may be coaches or institutions that rely too heavily on a what they are learning without applying an appropriate amount of analysis to the end result.
Practice the movement before you start adding weight.
For years I haven’t let people join my barbell club until they participate in the barbell development program. Is it because I enjoy the nuances of lifting to a villainous degree? Yes, but it’s also because there is NO REASON to have anyone even try a snatch in a professional barbell environment if they can’t press a bar from behind their neck over their head in full squat depth. That would be like letting people go to college who haven’t had any formal training or taking an executive and making them a plumber. The pieces don’t add together. There are building blocks to all the movements and patterns that we achieve in CrossFit and at Verdant and those building blocks are in place for safety and efficacy.