Squat Comparison (Front View) -- Part 2.

No other exercise in the athlete’s arsenal is as necessary as the squat. There are also several ways to do this exercise. Which is best?
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Squats - Power And Olympic: Part 2

In the previous article I discussed the differences between the Olympic squat and Power squat from a side view. This article will discuss and show the differences from a front view and the "why" behind the differences.

I Stated In Last Week's Article:

  • The Power squat - used primarily by power lifters to lift maximum weights.

    And -

  • The Olympic style squat - used primarily by Olympic lifters for greater mobility.

I also stated the following benefits and drawbacks of each style:

Benefits & Drawbacks:

    The Benefits Of The Olympic Squat Are:

    • Greater range of motion
    • More balanced loading between hip and knee joints
    • Less loading on the lower back

    The Drawbacks Of The Olympic Squat Are:

    • Less weight can be lifted
    • Less emphasis on the stronger muscles of the hamstrings
    • More loading on the knees which can be prone to injury

    The Benefits Of The Power Squat Are:

    • More loading on the posterior chain
    • Greater weights can be lifted
    • More emphasis on the hip joints and less on the knees

    The Drawbacks Of The Power Squat Are:

    • Less mobility
    • Reduced ability to be dynamic - in other words it is not a position you would want to catch a clean in.

The reasons for the greater motion in the Olympic squat are the position of the hips (See photos A and B below). The hips are more externally rotated (turned outward) but less abducted (spread apart) than the Power squat.

Photo A
Power squat left and Olympic squat right. Note the bar set up (arrow) and thigh angles.

Click To Enlarge.

Photo B
Power squat left and Olympic squat right. Note the distance between the heels.

Click To Enlarge.

The bar is much higher on the back, also, which allows for the trunk to be much more upright (see arrow of photo A). A good view of the bar position on the back can be seen in last week's article. When you see the needs of the Olympic lifter you will have a greater understanding for the need for a strong, upright torso.

For example, an Olympic lifter catches a clean in the front squat position (photo A), and the snatch in the overhead squat position (photo B). It is virtually impossible to catch these lifts in the Power squat position.

Photo C
Bottom of a front squat or catch position of a clean.

Click To Enlarge.

Photo D
Bottom of overhead squat or catch position of a snatch.

However, the Power squat allows the lifter the ability to lift more weight by putting more emphasis on the power muscles of the hamstrings, lower back and glutes.

Click To Enlarge.

Photo E
Bottom of Power squat left and Olympic squat right. Arrow shows how upright the trunk is by how much of shirt logo is visible. Because of the rules of powerlifting, the lifters thighs only need to reach parallel or slightly below. There is no need to touch the hamstrings to the calves.

Click To Enlarge.

The Power squat puts a stretch on the muscles long before the lifter reaches the ham to calf position. Thus, parallel is about all most lifters can get to anyway.

This allows the power lifter to lift maximal weights in a squat. One key to understand regardless of the squat you are using - always stay on the flat of the foot or slightly to the outside. If you roll inward on the foot, you know the thigh is rolling in also, stressing the knee joints unnecessarily.

Questions or comments? Send them to Chris Scarborough at Chris@Young-Athletes.com or Coach@Young-Champs.com.

Part 1  |  Part 2