Folks love standards, mostly because we love to compare ourselves to other people and see where we lie on the continuum. It validates us. It gives our ego this little tiny boost that makes us feel good for a minute.
And usually, I’d write a post telling you to forget about standards. Forget what other people are doing. Get off of Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. Stop watching other people live life and giving yourself massive FOMO while you sit on your couch with re-runs of The Office in the background.
But I think standards can be helpful now and then. They give us metrics to compare ourselves to ourselves, to see how we’re doing. We can pit our strengths against our weaknesses and uncover the areas of our health & fitness that we need to work on.
To be honest, I sometimes think that I program better for our members than I do for myself.
I keep things simple, don’t mess around with rep ranges too much, and assign exercises that I know they’ll perform successfully. This seems to yield a steady stream of PRs and positivity.
If you’re looking for the exact blueprint, I don’t have it. (I mean, I sort of do, but it varies widely from person to person.) Programming is both an art and a science: you must make evidence-based decisions while creating a beautiful masterpiece of assorted equipment and movement variation.
It’s like writing a song: you can pretty much do whatever you want, but you still need to use scales and notes and stuff.
And so here I am, ready to dispense the great secrets that I believe create massive success for our members. I hope that these concepts work as well for you and your members as they’ve worked for us.
Okay, so there isn’t one secret. But there sort of is.
This article will be a like a two-piece answer that funnels into a single solution. As in, there is one thing you can do to take your squat from cheap to deep and I will tell you what is it … at the end.
Let’s clear the air first and clarify that if you’re someone with a true mobility limitation in your ankles, knees, hips, or thoracic spine, this article isn’t for you. Some of it might help, but most of it won’t. A true bony or otherwise somewhat-uncorrectable limitation won’t be fixed by the solutions that I recommend at the end of this article.
So here’s the deal: if you’ve performed a deep squat test akin to that of the Functional Movement Screen and you cannot achieve full squat depth despite having a full passive range-of-motion throughout your ankles, knees, hips, and thoracic spine, you don’t have a mobility problem, you have a strength problem.
Let me repeat that just in case you skimmed over it the first time: if you cannot perform a FMS-esque deep squat despite having no structural limitations, you don’t have a mobility problem. You have a strength problem.
In hindsight, I think we probably could have come up with a better name than “butt-wink,” but I digress.
Butt-wink (a.k.a. butt-tuck a.k.a. posterior tilt a.k.a. pelvic tilt) occurs near the bottom of a squat where the pelvic tilts itself posteriorly to create space and achieve greater depth. It’s a frequent occurrence in gyms all over the country and there have been countless articles devoted to the source of butt-winking and what you can do about it.