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Exercises Movements, technique & proper execution

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Old 09-12-2007, 09:47 PM   #1
Jason Rambo
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Tabata Squats as qualifier for weighted squats?

I have a question about Tabata bodyweight squats and regular weighted back squats.

It is my understanding that some CrossFitters believe that you should not do regular back squats until you can score an 18 on the Tabata squat interval.

That is, until the minimum number of squats you get in your eight intervals is 18.

Is this the case? Have people found this to be a good guideline for when to start doing weighted squats? I ask because I jumped into a weightlifting program earlier this year and stalled out pretty quickly. My squat form sucked like the proverbial Swedish vaccuum cleaner, probably because of a lack of core strength.

So . . . should I perfect my bodyweight squats or Tabata squats before moving on to the back squat?

Many thanks in advance.
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Old 09-12-2007, 11:45 PM   #2
Peter Dell'Orto
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Re: Tabata Squats as qualifier for weighted squats?

Eh, if your back squat sucks and your core is weak, just lower the weight on your back squats. Get down to a weight you can do correctly, squat that, and slowly work up. Your core will get better if it's what is holding you back. Back squatting will help it, so will all those days with situps, L-pullups, and so on. If your form utterly sucks with any weight, get some hands-on training on the squat (or use the Digital Couching board) and fix it.

No reason I can see that you have to be able to do 18 air squats in 20 seconds before you try doing one back squat with weight. It's a different demand on the body. I'm not sure why one would be a requirement for the other. Unless you can't do a single proper air squat, of course.

I may be off base, but it just doesn't seem like the rate of air squats you can crank out is really a determination of when you should back squat.

Hope that helps.
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Old 09-13-2007, 09:43 AM   #3
Arien Malec
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Re: Tabata Squats as qualifier for weighted squats?

There's also the Dan John rule of thumb: introduce the back squat after one can do the overhead squat with 95 lbs. The OHS strengthens the core and teaches good technique by punishing bad technique...
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Old 09-13-2007, 12:49 PM   #4
Gant Grimes
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Re: Tabata Squats as qualifier for weighted squats?

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Originally Posted by Jason Rambo View Post
It is my understanding that some CrossFitters believe that you should not do regular back squats until you can score an 18 on the Tabata squat interval.


I didn't start doing Tabata (or even know about them) until I was squatting close to 400. Now my low round in a 6-round Tabata interval is 15. I'm sure the low number after 8 is worse. I better stop squatting.
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Old 09-13-2007, 01:13 PM   #5
Joel Chapman
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Re: Tabata Squats as qualifier for weighted squats?

I believe the rule is not to use weighted Tabata squats until your tabata score is 18.
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Old 09-13-2007, 01:22 PM   #6
Tom Rawls
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Re: Tabata Squats as qualifier for weighted squats?

Can someone point me to this rule book?
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Old 09-13-2007, 02:42 PM   #7
Nick Cummings
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Re: Tabata Squats as qualifier for weighted squats?

I believe the suggestion came from Coach or a similar source. I believe it was represented as the progression that they use at CF HQ for their clients. Is this a good idea? It probably depends on what your goals are. If you want to power lift or are experienced with the back squat you might prefer to start right away with back squats. If you are less athletic or less experienced with back squatting and are training for improved general physical fitness then it is probably a decent idea as it will generate a more metabolic demand for those needing to get in better shape and develop some level of leg strength and squating form prior to introducing a barbell.
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Old 09-13-2007, 03:43 PM   #8
Nick Gagnon
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Re: Tabata Squats as qualifier for weighted squats?

As Dan John was already mentioned, I believe he also has said that there is no better way to teach front squats than to tabata them with 95 lb. Any weakness will become very apparent in the later rounds. It seems like it would complement the 95 lb OHS rule very well.
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Old 09-13-2007, 07:35 PM   #9
Matt DeMinico
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Re: Tabata Squats as qualifier for weighted squats?

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Originally Posted by Gant Grimes View Post


I didn't start doing Tabata (or even know about them) until I was squatting close to 400. Now my low round in a 6-round Tabata interval is 15. I'm sure the low number after 8 is worse. I better stop squatting.
You can fix that real easy... pop off 100 squats in a row a day, minimum. That'll get your tabata numbers well into the 20's. And the 10 seconds will actually feel like a rest.
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Old 09-14-2007, 07:33 AM   #10
Corey Duvall
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Re: Tabata Squats as qualifier for weighted squats?

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Originally Posted by Nick Cummings View Post
I believe the suggestion came from Coach or a similar source. I believe it was represented as the progression that they use at CF HQ for their clients.
I was at the Jacksonville Seminar and asked Coach "At what point to I add weight to a proper squat technique?". Coach replied that when perfect technique with a Tabata score of 18-20 is achieved, a weighted squat is ready. His reply was based on what they do at HQ like Nick said. That is for someone coming in, looking for improved fitness. It obviously depends on the goals of the athlete, and for his athletes at HQ, he sets the goals. I do the same with my athletes, I talk to them about their needs and goals and then determine what I think is the best way to get there. If you stalled out, your technique is bad. If you can't do one body-weight squat with impeccable form, that's where you need to start. The proper technique is the safest (from injury) and most energy efficient (for increasing reps/load) way to do each given exercise. The closer you stay to perfect form, the greater your chance for power output. You might be able to clean 135 lbs with ****ty form, but you'll never move past it to 270 with ****ty form. You might back squat 225 with ****ty form, but you'll never get 450 with ****ty form (if you're goin to a full ROM). Crossfit is a skill-based fitness... learn new skills and then use them to improve your physical condition.
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