Much like the collision avoidance computer systems built into automobiles, our brains run neural software that prevents us from overloading and damaging the spine. Our neural software inhibits us from loading the extremities in positions that have the potential to produce a spinal injury. Many people have the mobility necessary to perform a full depth squat, what they lack is spinal stability. Improve spinal stability and the protective neural software will permit more graceful and efficient movement. An exercise that will enhance spinal stability during an essential movement pattern is the leverbell squat.
Hold a leverbell with a vertical alignment and the heavy end upward. Use a stacked grip, push the chest up, and pull the shoulders back. Push the leverbell forward as you drop into a squat. Hold the bottom position for five counts and then return to the standing position. As the exercise becomes easier, spend more time in the bottom position of the squat.
Consistent activation of the muscles that support the spine during a squat can produce dramatic improvement in performance. After practicing the leverbell squat, perform ten goblet squats and attempt to recreate that same feeling of tension in the muscles at the bottom of the squat. Below is a routine that has been instrumental in restoring many a lost squat pattern. Watch the video and give it a place in your training program for the next six weeks.
1) Six point rocker x 10.
2) Crawl x 15 yards.
3)Leverbell squat x 5 – hold for five to ten seconds.
4) Goblet squat x 10.
Travel through this routine two or three times. Increase the distance you crawl and the duration of the holds during the leverbell squat.
View the video: here
Michael O’Hara, PT, OCS, CSCS