Random Thoughts: Front Squats, etc.

* I too often weigh the idea of different posts in my head so much so that they never get written at all. I don’t like repeating information just for the sake of saying it, and I don’t like being overly general. Therefore, I often times leave an idea alone, instead of not doing it justice. In an effort to make more content available for you, I am going to do more of these “random thoughts” posts. These will be a look into my head, and I can rest easy knowing they are just a bunch of thoughts jotted down. They are in no way a formal post meant to display expertise on anything but what I’ve experienced. That said, I think my experiences can help others think critically about their own experiences, and in the end offer a productive result for us both.


1. Front Squatting, etc.

Recently I have made front squatting a larger part of my training approach. Before I became more focused on the Big Three (Squat, Bench, Deadlift), front squats made their way into my training far more frequently. Not to mention, in those not so distant days, my training in any of the Muay Thai gyms in San Diego always served to produce a wanted outcome outside the gym. Therefore exercise selection, and intensity, had a much different thought process behind it. Once I began chasing goals with power lifting front squats took a back seat. I really had no training history on the back squat, so for the better part of 2.5 years I just focused all my attention on that, and close variations.

I may have been better served to utilize the front squat sooner, but I think this is a warranted time in my development to start making it a more regular exercise. It reminds me of a misconception I think a lot of us have. I was enlightened to the very real misconception by James Smith in one his presentations at www.globalsportconcepts.net (I recommend you check that out, and invest the 7 bucks a month).

The misconception is that is that the means of training over the course of your development as an athlete, or lifter, take on the shape of a pyramid. As we know the pyramid is likely the strongest structure man has built. In the case of training the pyramid embodies the idea that a large variety of movements will make the base, and early development, of the athlete. Over time, the structure will narrow to a point, signifying the complete specialization of the athlete to nothing more than their sport, or in the case of a lifter the competition lifts.

There is nothing glaringly wrong with that image. In fact, it sends a positive message in general. However, I do believe there is something to be said for instead using the shape of a diamond. This was James’s suggestion, and it makes great sense.

A true novice doesn’t need a wide variety of movements. In the case of the young child, they must learn basic motor control first, then slowly build up to that stage of needing varying exposures, before beginning the slow climb to the pyramid’s peak. In the case of me, I needed to learn the competition lifts first. As I became more technically proficient with the competition exercises I began to be handle more volume, then more variations (still close in kin to the lifts), then more volume, and now I feel as though I am out from under the earth and at the base of the pyramid.

I can now add productive exercises like the front squat to my training. As I develop the pattern I inherently increase the volume.

It is true that in the training of a lifter or athlete, each competition cycle would take the shape of a pyramid. However, in the career of a lifter, or athlete, I think the overall shape is much more of a diamond.


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