How To Coach And Demo 1 1/4 Back Squats With James Fitzgerald


We have Hank (Carl) here doing 1 1/4 Back Squats for X Select today. We’ll loop through this movement a few times. We’ll give you a good chance to look at it as well as gain a deeper understanding of how to coach and progress it. The best tempo for the 1 1/4 back squat would be 3 to 5 seconds down (eccentric) phase depending on the eccentric work you wanted to produce for the individual depending on the metabolic response or positional work you wanted to do. The correct rep range, for somebody proficient in the movement, often need to be enough to create time under tension of over 30 seconds and upwards of 60-70 seconds for 1 set of reps in the 1 1/4 squat. That is a really effective time under tension range to get after the right outcomes in the 1 1/4 squat. The 1/4 (quarter) at the bottom, we’re just trying to overload a specific movement that needs to be worked on. Hank, for ex, lacks in dorsiflexion (ankles) and is very hip dominant in many movements The 1 1/4 back squat would be a great movement to teach somebody how to use their quads, really their VMO into their glute. When the knee is at maximal knee flexion, which he almost gets to in the demo, that VMO, which is the quad muscle just inside the knee cap on the medial side, the tear drop right at the bottom, that guy (the VMO), as well as the bum, at maximal knee and hip flexion works really hard. The point of the 1 1/4 back squat is to overload those two guys (VMO + Glute) in the movement. The weight needs to be loaded appropriately – usually it’s 40-50% of their 1 rep max back squat weight. Of course that would change depending on neuromuscular efficiency + training age. You’d, of course, not want to give this to somebody who couldn’t already back squat. I’d only give this to people who can effectively squat to full depth as well as back squat their body weight or more. They also need to have built up a lot of reps in the traditional back squat prior to getting into the 1 1/4 back squat. All things being equal, you want great form the whole time in this movement. You want a good neutral low back position as much as possible. With Hank, we’re just trying to teach him the movement here. That’s why Hank doesn’t have a fully loaded bar. He’ll get a break in his lumbar spine for teaching purposes. When you coach people on this, coach neutral spine and great depth so they can really fire their VMO and Glute. Keep the knee over the second toe and focus on proper tension the whole time. Something important to note is that you will mainly be coaching somebody to NOT bounce out of the bottom of the rep. It doesn’t mean bouncing isn’t beneficial for some weightlifters or people doing speed strength activities, but for the accumulation phase of training, which is where the 1 1/4 squat usually occurs, it’s best to keep tension the whole time For Hank, you can see I’ve asked him to slow his down (eccentric) phase, he’s controlling that position better each time. The cue for people out of the bottom of the squat is to use their bum and quads and then maintain tension there the whole time up. This can also be done with other movements. The 1 1/4 squat, for that kind of volume and time under tension, will really take care of developing good metabolic training for the quad and glute working together in the squat pattern. Put it correctly into training and you’ll get a good effect out of the 1 1/4 squat!

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