|02-12-2007, 05:12 PM||#11|
Hi nikki, welcome to CrossFit:
The answer is "Well, it depends".
If the workout of the day, says "squat" without any other designation, it means a "free squat" (bodyweight only, no bar), and you should do it according to the specific instructions of that workout. For example, you might get 50 squats as one component of the "filthy fifties" workout (50 reps each of 10 different exercises).
A free squat should be done with your heels down, feet straight ahead or slightly turned out, knees tracking over your toes, back upright and maintaining the lordotic arch in the small of your back. If your heels start to come up as your body goes down, then you need to work on your soleus flexibility.
Other squats will be described as a "front squat" (bar racked on your high chest, just in front of the collar bones), a "back squat" (bar on your back, generally high up on the trapezius muscle), or an "overhead squat" (bar held at arms length overhead . . . best to learn this with no more than a broomstick until you get all the flexibility you need).
In all of these, you want pretty much the same body position as described above: heels down, toes straight ahead or slightly turned out, knees over toes, back long and tall, and preserve a slight lordotic arch (no rounding!).
But, all of these various kinds of squats can be done in many and various combinations of reps and sets. Two that show up fairly often are "5-5-5-5-5" (five sets of five reps, each done with a fairly heavy weight), or "1-1-1-1-1-1-1" (seven sets of 1 reps each (each one a near-maximum effort)).
"Tabatas" refers to a specific pattern of work time and rest time. You go "all out" for 20 seconds, doing as many reps as possible of the specified exercise (with good form), and then rest for 10 seconds. You do this 8 times, so the whole thing takes just 4 minutes.
You can do "tabatas" with a wide variety of exercises (although squats are probably the all-time favorite). Just about any exercise that moves a lot of weight through a large range of motion is a good choice, but it shouldn't be so much weight that it would you slow down . . . Tabata intervals are intended to really stress your cardiovascular / metabolic system, not your musculature per se.
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