CrossFit is the principal strength and conditioning program for many police academies and tactical operations teams, military special operations units, champion martial artists, and hundreds of other elite and professional athletes worldwide. Our program delivers a fitness that is, by design, broad, general, and inclusive. Our specialty is not specializing. Combat, survival, many sports, and life reward this kind of fitness and, on average, punish the specialist. The CrossFit program is designed for universal scalability making it the perfect application for any committed individual regardless of experience. We’ve used our same routines for elderly individuals with heart disease and cage fighters one month out from televised bouts. We scale load and intensity; we don’t change programs. The needs of Olympic athletes and our grandparents differ by degree not kind. Our terrorist hunters, skiers, mountain bike riders and housewives have found their best fitness from the same regimen. Thousands of athletes worldwide have followed our workouts posted daily on this site and distinguished themselves in combat, the streets, the ring, stadiums, gyms and homes.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

04.26.12 WOD

High Bar vs Low Bar Back Squat

Here is an article I wrote for the Function 5 Fitness newsletter reviewing the differences between two different styles of squatting….enjoy
High Bar vs. Low Bar Back Squats: A Brief Look into Mechanical Differences
The back squat, or squat, is a compound movement that is essential to any strength and conditioning program.  This movement works several muscles at once while simultaneously releasing numerous muscle building hormones.  The squat strengthens the legs, namely the quadriceps, gluteus maximus (glutes), and hamstrings, through concentric and eccentric muscle contractions.  But what is often overlooked is the squat’s ability to strengthen the upper and lower back, abdominals, and even the athlete’s shoulder girdle due to the isometric muscle contractions holding the torso stable throughout the movement.  Being such a beneficial movement, the squat is one of the most studied exercises in the field with several topics that could be covered.  This article will describe the differences in mechanics between the high bar and low bar back squats.
The high bar back squat begins with the bar placed high upon the athlete’s traps, thus the name high bar.  The torso remains fairly erect as the athlete begins his descent into the bottom of the squat position.  Due to the verticality of the torso positioning, the athlete’s path of descent tends to be straight down, causing the knees to slide forward.  The high bar position is also associated with more quadriceps and less hamstring and glute recruitment as the athlete presses themselves out of the bottom position.
The low bar back squat also receives its name from the placement of the barbell which is lower down on the athlete’s back, about an inch below the traps.  The athlete’s torso will become more horizontal as they descend as the barbell attempts to move in line with the midline of the foot.  The horizontal torso allows the athlete to sit further back as they descend keeping the knee placement fairly consistent throughout the movement.  Since the athlete sits back into their descent, the glutes and hamstrings are able to play a greater role in the movement.

Front, High Bar, and Low Bar Squats
There are several benefits to either position and depending on your goals, either could be right for you. The high bar position tends to limit the amount of weight the athlete can lift due to less overall muscle recruitment, more quadriceps and less glutes and hamstrings.  But, the movement tends to be considered more athletic as the range of motion is greater and it transitions well into the Olympic style lifts (the clean and jerk and the snatch). The low bar position works more muscles and thus allows the athlete to lift more weight and potentially build more muscle, but unlike the high bar squat it does not lend itself very well to other sports.  In the end, no matter which you choose, make sure you are squatting frequently in any strength and conditioning program.

Row 1000m for time


15 Low Back Squats 95/65#

15 Hand Release push ups

500m Row 

12 Low Back Squats 105/75 

12 Hand Release push ups

500m Row 

9 Low Back Squats 115/85

9 Hand Release push ups

You are only allowed one barbell and you must have your weights next to you ready to be added. 
You are the one adding the weight for the back squat. A squat rack is allowed (first come, first serve). 

No comments:

Post a Comment