From now until the end of September, CrossFit Prototype will be posting a blog per week as part of our Accessory Series. These blog posts will review 1 of the 13 CFP foundational movements (Air Squat, Back Squat, Front Squat, Deadlift, Kettlebell Swing, Pull-Up, Overhead Press, Push Press, Push Jerk, Clean, Snatch & Rowing) and provide tips on accessory exercises to help improve that area of your CrossFit game!
By Joe Black (USAW-L1SP, CF-L1)
The air squat is one of the most important foundational movements. It shows up in a number of ways as the base for a lot of the movements that we do in CrossFit: back squats, front squats, overhead squats, thrusters, wall balls, Olympic lifts and more.
It is very important to learn how to squat properly, not only for CrossFit, but because of the benefits that a squat provides.
The squat can help you:

  • Strengthen your muscles, your bones and your joints
  • Improve your flexibility, balance and coordination
  • Burn fat at a quicker rate
  • Increase strength, power and endurance
  • Improve your fitness
  • And more!

The squat is a whole body movement. It works your legs as they bend and straighten, moving your body weight. It works your abs and lower back, stabilizing your core, as your legs move. When the squat is loaded, your upper back, shoulders and arms balance the bar on your back throughout the entire movement. You are using your entire body when you squat!

How-To Air Squat

Air Squat Mechanics:

  • Feet shoulder width apart with toes slightly turned out
  • Lower your body by letting your hips descend back and down
  • Knees track over your toes
  • Keep your feet in contact with the ground the entire time
  • Maintain the curve in your lower back by keeping your chest up
  • The crease of your hip falls below your knees
  • Push your feet into the ground to rise


Three Accessory Exercises to Improve Your Squat

If you struggle with the squat, here are 3 accessory exercises that can help improve your squat technique as well as carry over to other CrossFit movements:
Bottom of Squat Hold: Hold onto something stationary and control yourself down into a full squat. While there, work on activating different muscles. Move your ankles, knees, hips, lower and upper back. Stay in the squat for as long as feels comfortable and then rise. Repeat 2-3 times. 

Plate Loaded/Goblet Squat: Using a plate or kettlebell, held in front of you for counterbalance, slowly squat down with control. Pause in the bottom for 3-5 seconds, concentrating on maintaining good form, and then rise. Do 5-7 reps for 2-3 sets with a light weight.


Wall Squat: The most challenging of the three. Start facing the wall in a squat stance with your hands overhead. Your ability level will dictate how close you go to the wall – as you progress, you will move your feet closer to the wall. Squat down as low as possible while keeping your hands overhead. Try 3 sets for 3 reps.

Work on these three accessory exercises to help improve your squat. Let your coaches know if you have any questions!