How to Perform Amosov Squats
Amosov squats are awesome! There, I said it.
If there is one exercise that you’re not being, but should, this is it.
I learned about Amosov squats from Steve Maxwell, my long-time mentor and friend, a few years ago.
Why are Amosov Squats an Amazing Pre-Squat Warm-up Drill?
While Steve used this squat variation as a conditioning exercise, performing them for a set time duration or for a specific number of (high volume) reps, we have started incorporating them into our warm-ups and as a primary exercise for some of my older clients – and have seen some pretty awesome results.
Amosov squats mobilize the ankles, knees, and hips while dynamically stretching the lats and shoulders – all while grooving the specific squatting pattern. And, because of the assistance from the athlete / lifter using the barbell for support, a better neutral spine can be maintained and cued throughout the full range movement pattern.
Amosov squats will also help tight athletes progressively squat through a greater range of motion. And, once the movement patterns starts opening up, you can overload the pattern with slow-eccentric or pause goblet squats to start developing greater dynamic motor control through the pattern.
How to Perform Amosov Squats
Step 1: Setting the Barbell on the Right Side of the Power Cage. This is probably the most important tip, especially if you don’t want to end up getting smashed with the barbell or breaking your a**. Setup the barbell ON THE OPPOSITE SIDE of the power cage supports of where your athlete / client is standing. It is a pretty easy thing to do. Place the j-hooks at the appropriate height on the inside of the power cage and rack the barbell on the hooks. Then have the athlete / client go on the other side of the cage and pull the barbell INTO THE POWER RACK.
Step 2: Finding the Appropriate Height of the Bar. This is a little bit of trial-and-error. It will all depend upon the height of your athlete / client and the length of their arms. Have them perform a few reps at a specific height and notice if they’re able to fully straighten their arms when they get to the bottom of the squat. The height of the bar should allow the lifter to perform a full squat and get their arms fully extended.
Step 3: Finding the Right Squat Stance and Distance from the Bar: Again, this is trial-and-error. Get the lifter into their squat stance and have them hit a few reps to see if they can hit a full squat and their knees track over their feet. I prefer to have the athlete ‘self-select’ (Schoenfeld) their squat groove and allow their knees to come forward, further (functionally) mobilizing their ankles while squatting.
Perfecting the Amosov Squat
There are a few essential coaching points that you must slowly integrate into the movement to make it better transferable to the squat and make it more athletic.
Coaching Tip #1: Begin regulating the breath into each repetition. Have the lifter inhale on the way down through the nose and exhale through the mouth during the drive phase.
Coaching Tip #2: Do not lose tension at the bottom of the movement. Instead, try to move into the bottom position and smoothly transition to the drive phase – keeping the transition as dynamic as possible.
Coaching Tip #3: Finish the lockout with a powerful glute contraction and full hip extension.
Coaching Tip #4: Use lats to assist the legs during the drive phase to get the upper back warmed up and activated.
Coaching Tip #5: Maintain a neutral spine position through all phases of the exercise.
Coaching Tip #6: Additional weight can be added to progress the exercise.
The Perfect 1-2 Punch
If you want to kick up your warm-up a notch, combine Amosov squats with the 4 mobility exercises in the video below. This combination will have you squatting deeper and with better technique, immediately.
By Smitty on July 8th, 2014
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