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New Feature Post: Behind the Champion with Mr. Augustine

Check out the epic interview here.

Entries in back squat (34)

Beast Mode: Jay

Jay Junkin is back in action full-time with the Champions Club after landing a local engineering job in the Madison Heights area. He is trying to get in his Summer 2015 shape and he's been off to a good start since early August. Last time today's back squat workout came up it was May 2015 - aka Jay's prime form. He started off at 225-lbs. for his set of 10 last time, and worked up to 275 for his 3 singles.

Today he low-balled his first few attempts, then on the way back up the ladder he finished the day with a set of 10 at 205 lbs. Check it out.

By the looks of it, 225 might have been a possibility. Either way, he's not too far off.

Recommended reading: The Z axis

Coach's Corner: Arches w/Mr. Carey

We had a really small turnout on Tuesday's max effort back squat, but I used the opportunity to pay extra attention to what was going on with the feet.

Everyone did their squats without shoes on so they could get a better feel of when their arches were collapsing or when they were keeping it in tact. Mr. Carey was kind enough to show his feet to the world.

Much like Shakes, he did not do a great job of showing us what bad reps look like, but if you look closely you can see the back of his arch collapse by his heel. On the next three, there it literally no change through the movement. This means his knees were out, tension was maintained in the hips, and carried upstream to stability in the spine. For this worout he stayed at 135-lbs. and did anywhere from 5-8 reps each set slowly and trying to control every centimeter of the movement.

Keeping a stable foot position is critical to high-speed movements like jumping and running, but when starting off this principle is best practiced through squatting. More to come.

From the Vault: Moving up and The Feet

In October 2015 I did the Moving up... or not post that gave a good glimpse of what I look for when coaching back squats - in specific, whether to move an athlete up in weight, keep them where they are, or drop them down. Over time, I have refined this coaching technique; things I might have let go before I don't anymore and other things I have been less picky about. In the post referenced above, I used Collin and JZ as examples. Here's what they looked like:

Looking back on it now, I still would have called it the way I did. Also, I shared this with the Martins from Brand X and they said they would have as well. While this standard has stayed the same, Kelly Starrett brought up another one in last week's MWOD episode that also reminds me of a former video/post.

Coach's Corner: For All Things Pokemon and Foot Related

Looking at the arch in your foot is a great way to tell exactly what is going on upstream with the hips. We have avoided a lot of barefoot stuff recently 1) because of the weather and 2) because I have been looking for increased ROM and intensity. But I think for the next few weeks, especially for squatting, we are going to do a lot of barefoot work to help you guys get a better sense of what good torque feels and looks like. Look for a post coming soon on more specifics (I planned on one with Shakes this morning, but her lack of ability to perform bad form made it virtually worthless).

Beast Mode: Goobers Gone Good

On Friday's 3 RM Back squat, we had Summer 2016 alumni Conor Fitzgerald, Josh Ellsworth, and Kenny Jensen in attendance at the 5:30 session. They all had a great day squatting and topped out their 3 RM at 135 lbs.

Remembering what they looked like in the Summer, I was really impressed with how they did on Friday. Keep up the good work kids!

Beast Mode: The Other Hopkins + New Editorial Alert

This past weekend Coach T and I had the opportunity to speak in front of 200+ high school, college, and professional strength coaches from around the country... twice. Once in the auditorium and once in the weight room. I have an editorial coming out tomorrow at 12 noon that actually wrote its way into my ongoing Building a Champion series. It is called Reflections of a Dropout in Sparta (A Short Story). It's 4,500 words long, so it might be a little much for the tl:dr crowd.

If you don't feel like reading words, the complete videos from our presentation are part of the post so you can just watch them if you'd like.

While Hadley Hopkins has been getting a lot of attention from her consistency and workouts at the gym recently (see the post below), every day she walks in with a little chihuahua puppy by her side named Erik, who also happens to be a sophomore at Cousino. If any of you remember Rene Shelton from the OG Champions Club days, Erik has her build; long limbs that his coordination hasn't quite caught up with yet.

But I'd say from maybe middle of January till now, Erik might be our most improved athlete. He's still a scrawny little guy, but his movement control has really developed well. I stand by what I said earlier about him being a future JZ with a little less strength and a little more endurance. Their builds at this stage were very similar.

Last Thursday, Erik did his 5 rep max back squat at 75 lbs, and while the weight doesn't seem like a lot, they were slower reps and the control of the movement is going to set him up for heavier lifts in the future. Check it out his last set - this one dropped down to 65 lbs.

Keep up the consistent attendance Erik. You'll see it pay off soon!

Beast Mode: Aaron Sexton

Champions Club veteran Aaron Sexton has been a lot of things for us. First he was a chunky 7th grader. After that he was a pooping dog who could run really fast. Then he was a taco. And lately he's been in constant competition with Arlene for the Best Dancer award.

But the one thing Aaron has never been is consistent. Two good days, three bad ones; one week on, one month off. Considering this is arguably our most athletic kid in the gym, this has always been a major annoyance for me. But 16 might be the year for this Junior; we've had a few good talks about how serious he could be about his baseball future, and just last night him, his mom, and sister sat down after the 7 pm session to get the whole family on board with the Zone meal plan. His attendance has also picked up in September, so hopefully that is a sign of things to come.

During yesterday's 1 RM back squat we were very picky about what knee-wobbles but as long as they stayed still we let people move up as heavy as they could go. Aaron's knees used to buckle in at heavy weights, but I was very happy with how his form held up yesterday. Take a peek.


Sure 220 lbs is a pr, but I think I am actually more impressed with his missed lifts than his made ones. When I see a failed lifts from you guys that looks exactly like your successful ones, that's a sure sign that these good habits are becoming permanent. And hopefully this means Aaron is following the Kavanaughs, the Banets, and the JZ like that move well without me coaching them. If that is the case, and his nutrition is on point, then he might be ready to avenge his wiffleball debacle on that fateful Fall 2013 day...

Beast Mode: Reggie

Reggie Ellsworth has been patient in progressing his squat and deadlift due to mobility issues. As the range of motion increases, so does the weight. Last Friday, that weight turned out to be 225 lbs. for his 3 rep max.

So far this Summer, his consistency has really increased - along with Arlene. I see nothing but good coming for Reggie.