We were all guilty of switching to autopilot during a training session – halving the movements, thinking about all the other tasks of the day. The problem is, when you rush through repetitions, you are defrauding yourself of the full muscle building or fat burning potential of an exercise. Samantha Ciaccia, CSCS, knows this all too well, especially when it comes to squatting. Below, Ciaccia shows you how to slow down with a cup squat that improves your mind-muscle connection, prevents injury, and gets your core going at the same time.
In the video above, Ciaccia disassembles the kettlebell cup squat and finds one major flaw: people tend to jump. It does this when you passively crouch, adopting speed and momentum. Your trunk sways at the bottom of the motion, then swaying upwards, which often causes your lower back to arch inconveniently. It boils down to a lack of muscle awareness (i.e., which muscles should be activated) and control (i.e., control over how those muscles do the job), says Ciaccia.
The good news is that the solution to this form of faux pas is actually quite simple. While Ciaccia breaks down a few tips in her video – including staying upright, keeping your chest raised, and tracking your knees over your toes – the real “a-ha!” Keyword she shares is moving the weight off your body path. This way you are extending the lever (in this case, your arms), which requires a lot more control over the exercise. In a traditional cup squat, you would carry the weight (such as a kettlebell or dumbbell) at chest level near your body, with your elbows pointing toward the floor and your arms pinched at your sides – this keeps the center of gravity in the center . As you move the weight out in front of you, you need to move more slowly and cheer your core on like crazy to keep your pelvis in place and stay stable throughout the movement.
“When you slow down movement patterns, you give your brain time to think about which muscles to use and then turn them on,” explains Ciaccia. “Once this becomes more habitual, it becomes safer to begin lifting under heavier loads and / or at a faster, more controllable speed. There is nothing wrong with moving weight quickly, but only under the impression that you have already figured out how to activate these muscles. “
Even if you weren’t guilty of the squat jump mentioned above, moving the weight of a mug away from your chest is a great way to turn a mug squat into a serious core burner. “The further you push the weight out in front of you, the more you need your core to stabilize,” says Ciaccia. (Note: this change requires a lot of shoulder strength, so avoid this if you have shoulder problems.)
For recording, you need nuclear power for everything, but especially for the cup squat, adds Ciaccia. A strong core protects your spine from injury (like a herniated disc or muscle strain), she says.
Try this tweak for yourself and take control of your squat – your abs will thank you for it.
Subscribe to YouTube for access to exclusive gear videos, celebrity interviews, and more!