Should An Athlete Look Up When Squatting?Jun 17, 2022
Photo Credit: Li Sun
10 Year Transformation Challenge: Coaching Neck Position in the Squat
The NSCA previously encouraged coaching the squat with the cue “eyes up”.
The reason was to prevent athletes from segmentally lifting the hips and then basically doing a good morning to finish the lift.
They have since changed their position to encourage using a neutral neck position (right side pic).
Why the change?
Excessive cervical hyperextension and excessive cervical flexion may be compensatory movements for lack of thoracic extension or tendency to extend the lumbar spine, respectively.
These positions can increase lumbar compressive forces leading to some athletes having low back pain under load.
The neutral neck position encourages a ribcage position that establishes and maintains greater Intra-abdominal Pressure.
If an athlete is unable to maintain this neutral position, it may be due to poor neuromuscular control, strength or stability insufficiency, or poor mobility.
Other cueing for your athlete during a squat is to have their point of focus for gaze to be either straight ahead or slightly upward. A slightly upward gaze may help an athlete to lead their ascent with their head and chest instead of hips and help prevent excessive forward trunk flexion. A gaze that is directed too high or too low may place unnecessary torque on the spine.
Doesn't that contradict the change to neutral neck position!?
There is a dissociation from gaze and head position. While gaze might be slightly upward, the neck should still remain in that neutral position. Gaze can be corrected and adjusted with verbal and visual cueing.
Other cues for coaching the squat:
Support & Courses Available
Ready for more support about nutrition to help you prep for the CSCS exam? Join our Facebook Group “Strength and Conditioning Study Group” here.
Ready for even more? Our 24 module CSCS Prep Course has coaching concepts & cues completely laid out for you with even more content than what we’ve provided here, plus chapter quizzes to help you pass the NSCA exam, click the link here to check it out.
Stay connected with news and updates!
Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.
Don't worry, your information will not be shared.
We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.