Scaling the Squat

I just re-certified my CrossFit Level 1 Trainer course again (5 years has gone by quickly) and it got me thinking about scaling CrossFit movements. Here are some ideas for Scaling the Squat:

  1. Air Squat – your basic squat – goals are upright torso (relative to shins), hip crease below the top of the knees. Knees lined up with the toes (for most people). Neutral foot is really important here as well as sitting into your posterior chain (glutes, hamstrings).
  2. Making it easier:
    1. Don’t squat as low – for someone like me with some bony hip restrictions, this is what I have to do.
    2. Squat to a box: just tap your butt. See if you can shoot for the depth that just brings your hip crease below your knee, if not inch it up slightly so you can complete repetitions successfully.
    3. Sit to stand: don’t use your hands, once again same idea for the depth of the surface you are sitting on as above.
    4. TRX or Ring Squats: hold onto rings, Jungle Gym straps or TRX straps and squat back as far as you can, once again working on depth as tolerated.
    5. Sit to stand using hands for assistance – push off or rings, Jungle Gym or TRX works well. This could be done by almost anyone – this is what we do in PT with are most acutely ill patients, work on standing up.
  3. 1 leg doesn’t work as well:
    1. Pistol Squat: yes, it’s harder, but if you are strong and have a good leg and one bad leg, work on these.
    2. One Leg Squat to a box: tap your butt to the appropriate depth
    3. One Leg Sit to Stand: choose the appropriate height box.
    4. Step Up – choose an appropriate size step where you don’t have to vault or jump off your rear leg. Push the step through the floor.
    5. Lunge: most of your weight should be on the front leg.
    6. Rear Foot Elevated Split Squat: even harder than lunges.
    7. Assisted Lunge: hold onto Rings, Jungle Gym, TRX, Jerk Boxes, Box Jump boxes, etc.
  4. Make it Harder:
    1. Wall Ball
    2. Med Ball Clean
    3. Goblet Squat
    4. Back Squat
    5. Front Squat
    6. Overhead Squat
    7. Squat Clean
    8. Squat Snatch
    9. Weighted 1 legged squat
    10. Weighted rear foot elevated split squat
    11. Weighted lunge
    12. Offset kettlebell squat
    13. Double kettlebell front squat
    14. 1 arm overhead kettlebell squat
    15. 2 arm overhead double kettlebell squat
  5. Reps: a high level CrossFit Athlete squats about 60 times per minute. You should calculate the time it should take a high level CF Athlete to complete a workout and adjust reps accordingly. So if you squat 30 times per minute, decrease the number of reps of squats by 25-50%. Your workouts should probably take about 50% longer than the high level CF Athletes at most to get the desired stimulus.



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