Put Your Head Down and Get to Work

Joes Barbell
Comments Off on Put Your Head Down and Get to Work




It’s been awhile since we’ve talked strength.  Don’t worry it’s still a priority in my training.  Since the marathon I’ve been playing with the Texas Method.  Its straight out of Rippeteo’s Practical Programming and involves heavy volume at the beginning of the work week, a recovery or sub-max effort mid week, and a big weight max effort day at the end of the week.  For example, this Monday after warming up I Back Squatted 330 for 5 sets of 4 or 5 and followed it up on Friday with a two rep max effort at 365.  It’s simple but effective and allows me to mix in crossfit and some Oly. practice throughout the week. 

With all the back squatting I have recently been reviewing material regarding proper technique and came across a gem.  As is with all good tips this one is simple to implement and highly effective.  When back squatting your head position is crucial.  Particularly in the bottom of the movement we should all be aiming to maintain a head down position.  A head up position with eyes fixed on the ceiling hinders the correct bottom position, hip drive out of the bottom, and chest position.  To achieve the correct head position simply look at something that isn’t going to move that is about 6 ft. in front of you on the floor.  Doing so keeps all the big movers involved in the back squat in the correct anatomical position.  With all the big movers in the right spot the body works the right way and big weight is then easier to move.
Don’t believe me?  Test for yourself.  Put yourself in the bottom of a squat (No weight please!  At most you can use an empty bar.)  Once in the bottom bull your neck, look at the ceiling, and try to fire out of the bottom.  Next, do the same except for changing your head position by looking down at something 6 ft. in front of you on the floor.  Today while performing my old one rep max for a double I wrote Go Big! 6 ft. in front of me on the floor.  Try!  You will notice a huge difference.  To emphasis this good and proper anatomical position you can practice some un-weighted squats with a tennis ball tucked under your chin.
I promise you it’s the right thing to do.  Crazy thing here is that for years, by football coaches, I was taught the exact opposite.  There are two reasons why I think they were teaching the head up position.  First, and hopefully not true but most likely the case, they had no clue what they were doing.  This is tough for a football coach to admit.  I know this considering I was one for a good amount of time.  While coaching football I was incapable of being wrong and the best person to complete any task.  Two, they were confusing good squatting technique with proper tackling form and were trying to keep us football players from having to be carried off the field.  If the second was the motivation their hearts were in the right place but why not teach kids how to do everything right all the time.  What’s the famous line, “practice doesn’t make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect.” 

Give it a try folks.  If you don’t trust me as a source then consider the resources I fumbled through to find this gem, which all say the same thing.  You can probably guess, Coach Rip and Big John Welbourn, my favorite places to review all things STRONG.  Check Rip’s web page Starting Strength, or even try reading one of his sweet books.  I’m pretty positive a 3rd edition of Starting Strength is out there and I’m sure the new info is legit.  You could also attend the CrossFit Football trainers’ seminar, subscribe to CrossFit Football’s youtube page, ThePowerAthelte, or just check out the webpage at CFFB.  If Eating The Weak is something that is important to you check all of the above out and don’t forget – Keep Your Head Down!!!  While back squatting!!!