We all know that when we do a barbell squat, we shouldn't look like we're bowing to worship the gym floor. However, that's a lot of what you see in gyms.
So we do corrective exercises that focus on building strength and stability for the muscles and patterns that are supposed to prevent this from happening.
These are usually simple single-joint exercises, performed on only one side of the body at a time. But sometimes and most of the time we can develop what we need by simply spending more time in the positions we want to improve.
If you want to know all about the principles behind it, check out my online course, which starts in a couple of weeks.
Addressing posture and position in the crouched position
Moving through positions is what the 1.25 squat does best.
It will get you through positions that are often more difficult to hold.
More time practicing the lower squat positions means we have more opportunities to do sensory learning – feeling the muscles that contribute to a movement where and when they should.
The continuous controlled movement from the bottom of your squat to a quarter of the standing position to the base causes you to maintain the kind of balance and posture that makes a great squat.
It's better than just doing more reps, as it is difficult to lower yourself into the second squat without sitting back at the top as you normally would. It helps you feel every change in the pressure of your feet and the tilt of your torso.
The advantages of the 1.25 squat
Some exercises are just variations for advanced lifters who need a fresh kick to get stronger.
It does, but it's great for inexperienced squatters too.
It can be a targeted movement exercise for anyone trying to get their squat pattern fluid and strong. And it can be a way for someone who already has a deeply rooted good squat to strengthen their quads and glutes while working on the ability to maintain adequate tension at a depth in their squat.
The 1.25 squat not only strengthens and trains the coordination of the muscles that perform the movement.
It provides a state that naturally trains the stabilizing muscles of the trunk. Muscles such as the abdominal muscles, the obliques, the transverse abdomen and the erectors stiffen the spine.
Posture collapses and squats fall apart because these muscles are out of control during the hardest part of the movement (Turn back from bottom to stand up again).
With this exercise, you will train this tension ability better because you will spend most of the time in this part of the movement.
Here's how to prop up, lower, and hit your squat
Stand under the barbell and step out like a normal squat. Inhale and focus on creating proper braces. You need it to be rigid for this extended repetition.
Lower yourself into your crouch and once you have reached your depth come a quarter of the way to full standing. Remember to come 3-5 inches across in parallel.
Immediately go back to the bottom of your crouch, and then stand up from there. This is a repetition.
Make sure that you do not take a break at any point.
- Once you get to the depth, you come up.
- Once you feel like you are 3 to 5 inches above the parallel, go back down immediately.
- The second time you hit the bottom of your squat, get up all the way without hesitation.
Do no more than five repetitions on this exercise and be careful with how much weight you use.
The focus is on the quality of movement, posture, tension, and the feeling that the muscles are working well in a coordinated effort.
Don't worry if you get too high or not high enough on the quarter repetition. If you get in and out of the squat twice, you are doing the exercise correctly.
The goal of this exercise is to make sure the right muscles are working where they should and to increase stability in the motion that you often lose them in.
The muscles of the upper back help create the structure and posture you need for a solid squat. A front squat of 1.25 can therefore be a significant variation for this purpose.
For front squats, you need to maintain tension in your upper back and prevent your chest from falling forward. If you don't, toss the rod on the floor in front of you.
Rotating 1.25 front squats with rear squats improves posture and muscle coordination for a strong squat.
Challenge your squat technique with breaks
This exercise can be quite difficult even if you have a lot of experience.
However, once you've trained with them, try adding breaks.
Breaks force even more control to maintain tension in these positions as you spend even more time at the bottom.
Taking a break from a count at the bottom of the crouch after climbing a quarter of the way up, and then the second time at the bottom too, allows you to challenge yourself and develop for some time.