We all know about the “burpee nap” (also known as the “pushup nap”) – during a series of burpees or pushups, while we’re on the floor, we stay there for a couple seconds longer than we should to rest. Those seconds add up, but they don’t compromise our form or our health. The “squat nap” does.
In a squat nap, you’re not actually lying down. It happens during front squats and thrusters, when you’re in the bottom of your squat. Instead of remaining upright, you collapse forward, rounding your back. It’s a very easy thing to do: the load is heavy, you’re fatigued, and you don’t want to get up. And once you fall into the squat nap trap, getting up is very, very difficult. My coach pointed out to me how I was bottoming out in my front squats, and now I can’t help but notice that I do it all the time.
The reason why it’s so easy to bottom out in front squats is the added range of motion. Your pelvis tilts backwards slightly, easing up on the hamstrings, and letting you get all the way down to the bottom. But if your core isn’t strong enough, your elbows don’t stay high enough, or you can’t stay upright, you’re going to collapse forward and have to dump your load.
The simple answer to how to improve your front squats and not fall into a squat nap is to stay upright. But that’s easier said than done. There are a few things you can do to stay upright in your front squats and prevent bottoming out:
If all else fails, lighten the load. (I know, I don’t want to hear that, either!) Work on drills with PVC pipes to practice keeping your elbows forward and your core tight. You’ll see a big improvement in your front squats and thrusters over time.
This is a guest post from Christine Parizo, a half marathoner and new CrossFitter based in Houston. She recently qualified for guaranteed entry for the Houston Marathon and plans to run it in 2017. Christine blogs about running, CrossFit, and fitness at RunOutoftheBox.com. You can follow Christine on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.