We take a lot of pride in the air squat at CrossFit London UK. Take our beginners programme. Seven sessions that gradually skills new members with the technique they need to take on one of our regular classes (after a healthy dose of Foundations first of course though).
One movement that is hammered home is the air squat. If you’re not aware we cover the air squat in five of the seven beginners sessions. It’s also a move that you’ll experience time and again during warm ups as we prepare you for strength, skill work and metabolic conditioning.
Whilst unassuming and easily forgotten in the grand scheme of much sexier moves like snatches, jerks and handstand push ups – the air squat is your starting point, and the your base for the rest of the skills you seek to master through CrossFit.
It is worth encouraging every member whether you’ve been at CrossFit London UK longer than the proverbial ‘kittens and squirrels’ or if you are fresh out of beginners school not to take your air squat for granted. Make every air squat as perfect as you can. Just as a rubbish pull up, thruster, clean & jerk or push up would get a ‘NO REP’, so should a lazy air squat. So take a quick reminder on what the air squat should be:
- Stance shoulder width
- Full extension of hips and knees (standing up straight)
- Weight on heels
- Lumbar curve maintained (keeping the natural curve in the lower back)
- Chest up
- Bum travels back and down
- Bottom of the squat is below parallel (hip crease is below the top of the knee cap)
- Knees track parallel to the feet
- Return to full extension at the hips and knees to complete the move
- Head position is neutral
It’s stuff we (should) all know. But unfortunately when intensity comes in, often technique can breakdown – this is true of any movement. Obviously this is much worse with a heavy deadlift than it is with an unloaded movement like an air squat but that’s not to say the same pride shouldn’t be taken with both movements. There is value in doing every movement as perfectly as you can.
SO. Next time you’re doing a workout like Barbara, Cindy or similar don’t forego your air squat form just so that you can make a better time. If you’re not maintaining a lumbar curve at the bottom like this:
Then it’s a NO REP, get your chest and arms up and show me the curve!
If you’re not standing up to full extension like this:
Then it’s a NO REP. Squeeze your bum and just like your Mum told you ‘stand up straight!’
That CrossFit adopted term of ‘virtuosity’ is about doing the common uncommonly well. There’s no movement more common than the good old air squat. Give him the love he deserves.