Earning the Right

My friend Kelvin Giles likes to emphasize that athletes must earn the right to progress. I am in full agreement with him.

My kids have to earn the right to progress, especially with the squat. And with very tall, thin athletes, I need to be even more patient to develop the mobility and infrastructure needed to squat with quality movement. I teach my athletes to have respect for the movement, as it is one of the more important things they can do to develop total body strength and power.

We don't chase numbers on the barbell when squatting. We always thoroughly warm up and work up to the work set. Just like 6' 10" Eric Moeller is doing in the picture above.

Every weightlifting coach I have worked with emphasizes the same thing. There is a purpose and a context to the intensity and volume of each set within a training session and within that particular training cycle.

Unfortunately, many others chase numbers on the barbell in the weightroom. You can see their follies all over YouTube. But there are also some very good examples of squat technique and warm up. One of the most impressive is this video of Caleb Williams, former powerlifter-turned-weightlifter, training for the 2006 IPF World Championships in Norway. In weightlifting, Caleb competes in the 69 kg weight class (152 lbs), so I assume in this video he is competing at 67.5. The dude squats 500 lbs x 6 weighing around 150 lbs, with only neoprene knee sleeves, weightlifting shoes and a belt. And he only puts on the belt at 405 lbs.

No macho bullshit necessary. No equipment. No screaming. Just workman-like focus, good form, speed and depth. College and high school football strength coaches, this is what real squatting looks like! You can read more about Caleb on his website.


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