Monday Strength Part 3: The Back Squat


The back squat is the best exercise if developing anterior chain strength — and of course overall strength — is what you’re after.

Top level teams recruit powerful athletes who are extremely capable to play at the best of their abilities. And to perform at the best of one’s ability, power and power management are needed.

If you can increase your squat strength, power will follow: remember that power is “strength displayed quickly”. And then agility, quick reflexes, and the like follow thereafter.

The back squat has a great carryover in what they call “squat pattern movements” and “non-squat pattern movements”. What do I mean with these two?

Firstly, I refer to squat pattern movements as jumping activities that start with two feet on the ground (bilateral movements). The back squat will help improve performance since it is actually ‘teaching’ you how to execute those movement patterns in a controlled manner under a heavy load.

Secondly, non-squat pattern movements refer to unilateral movements such as sprinting or kicking. Take note however, that if you looked at the back squat as a movement, you will realise, sooner or later, that it does not directly improve the patterns I speak about in this article. But, if you looked at it as a way to improve muscle contraction efficiency, then you will certainly notice, in time, that it does exactly that.

So how can you improve on muscle contraction efficiency? By increasing mobility and strength of the muscles involved in Triple Extensions, a kind of action that is really common during a correct explosive movement such as sprinting or anything as simple as change of direction.

Finally, the back squat will also expose your weak points and will allow your strength and conditioning (S&C) coach to create a programme to address them. Building a heavy back squat is really important for athletes. But, remember: the KGs on the barbell itself are not the main goal; what will really change your field performance is the PROCESS of building a heavy back squat.

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