The Proof in the Pudding
An easy example to show how closely and how much detail Bobby pays to his athletes is in the way the athletes squat. The back squat is a staple lift in all of Bobby’s training programs. Although it is hotly debated as to whether or not athletes should do it, Bobby constantly lets you know that any exercise is dangerous if you don’t do it properly. Squatting not only makes his athletes faster, stronger, jump higher, throw harder, and more proficient at change of direction work, no matter what sport they play, but it is also a tool he uses to evaluate an athlete's current movement patterns more clearly ultimately keeping them injury free.
Squatting at 1RM Performance
Squatting at 1RM Performance isn’t like squatting at any other gym around. He has a plethora of bars, tempos and resistances at his disposal to help his athletes avoid any type of “plateauing” and constantly getting better. But instead of changing this article into a twenty page paper, I will do my best to explain to you how Bobby teaches a “normal” back squat purely off of my experience and observations so far.
First off, if you know Bobby, you know this lift or any lift is anything but “normal.” As a matter of fact, it is the complete opposite. I have learned that it is actually pretty complex, requires more than just focusing on movement of the lower body, and takes time and great global movement to master. Bobby doesn’t let anyone squat heavy until he is confident that they have earned the ability to do so, via mastering technique and having an understanding of the movement, which ensure athletes will not fail under the stresses of training
Squat Cues at 1RM Performance.
Bobby’s constant evaluation of an athlete squatting has evolved over time. He has taken his understanding of movement and joint positioning from DNS and blended it with his methodical strength training knowledge, as well as love of training and time spent with the Mad Scientist of Powerlifting Chris Duffin and developed a set of cues (through my observation). Here is a list of them:
- Activate your training face
- create pressure through your belly with your breath.
- Root your feet hard into the ground, spread force through your entire foot
- Activate the lats
- Keep the ribs down/keep a straight spine.
- Chin down, eyes straight.
- sit back into your hips
- Knees out, following in line with your second toe. (Next to big toe)
- Drive Fast through out of the hole.
- squat with a purpose
When an athlete can maintain these cues through the entire squat, squats fly up and we all stay happy and healthy. The positions are ideal for developing strength and explosiveness in an athlete’s performance.
Quality is King
Regarding the movement progress of the athlete, if some part of the body is off while they are in the “hole” Bobby will always take that deficiency and connect it to another issue with the athlete’s on field performance and attempt to correct it. For example, when I first began to squat with Bobby, I had plenty of issues. One of the main issues I had was my left shoulder would come forward when I was in the hole. This occurred while only squatting the bar. This was because my left side was much more developed than my right side, and my body was used to naturally giving my left shoulder and right hip more stress while playing baseball. Some simple (simple to Bobby) DNS exercise work, hard work and patience moved me from squatting 295 with lower back tightness to a pain-free 435 pounds in just one summer.
While I have been observing and learning a lot, the squat is one of two most used lifts used at 1RM Performance and the one I have learned the most about. Bobby knows each individual’s movement so well that he uses different cues for each athlete, depending on which faulty movement finds its way in for the day.
The support the trainers offer does not end at closely observing every workout. There is an emotional connection they share with each athlete, which I believe enhances the athlete’s production on top of the intense training programs.
Part two of What I have Learned: Mentality
The emotional connection, is leads us into part two where I will go over the mental aspect that create within the gym and within each athlete to come. If you noticed in the squatting cues, number one was your training face. This can make or break a set under the bar. But hang tight till then!