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Maintain the Squat

Hello my friends,


Have you ever heard Gray Cook say; “maintain the squat, train the deadlift”?

why should we listen to this? – keep reading to find out 🙂


The Bottom Position of the Squat

is one of the first positions our bodies learn as babies.

How infants developed physically start with gripping, reaching, rolling, then crawling.

And at some magical point he or she crawls or rocks backwards with their feet flat on the ground until the majority of their weight is over top their feet.

The infant could perhaps stand up with help from an adorably tiny chair, but on their own accord infants at this stage do not have enough strength/stability to stand up.


In the mean time they spend a lot of time just sitting in that position.

Eventually, along with the help of a myriad  different “assistance exercises” (playing with blocks, crawling, pulling mom’s hair) the infant will develop enough strength, coordination and balance to stand up.

What is important to understand is that not everyone gets there in the same way or at the same speed, but we do all end up in the same place.


The main take away of all this is?  –  Why do we pay attention to these evolutionary stages;

  1. Use them to assess at what level or posture movement dysfunction occurs
  2. Have a starting point for a corrective strategy (the best part is that the assessment can also be used as the corrective)
  3. Understand that all human bodies go through evolutionary stages, what differs is in HOW we get there.



The Deadlift :like the lion, is king.

Especially in today’s seated (sedentary) lifestyle.

The very musculature that is warped by our desk jobs, are trained out of their dysfunctions by the execution of good Deadlift .

On average what ever we can squat, we can Deadlift – but this is not true the other way around.

The unique use of the entire musculature and ideal mechanical advantage allows us to Deadlift heavier than we can squat -> For this reason alone, the Deadlift will always produce a greater strengthening effect.

That is to say, as your Deadlift numbers go up, your squat numbers will too.


in the human developmental sequence, what you will see is an infant squat down – get a good grip – then instinctively stick their hips up to effectively Deadlift the object off the floor instead of squat it.

The developmental sequence shows us once again  the truth of Gray’s words.

It appears that humans developed the mobility and stability requirements for the squat first, but instinctively utilize the Deadlift pattern for lifting.

No one is saying don’t Squat, just that you don’t have to use it as a strength exercise all that often. I would suggest using the Squat in a phase after a high volume of Deadlift as a way to keep up general strength without taxing the Deadlift pathway.

Maintain the Squat.

Train the Deadlift.



Squat Maintenance

Remember how I said that infants spent a lot of time just hanging out in the bottom of the squat?

With this in mind it will not surprise you to find out what my suggestion for maintaining the squat is:

How To Maintain Your Squat

> Accumulate a 1 minute bottom position hold

> Work up to a 5 minute bottom position hold

Important Note!

the bottom position must be PERFECT

  • tight pelvic floor
  • hip flexors and glutes engaged
  • chest proud, neck relaxed
  • breathing not labored

How to “Accumulate” a 1 minute bottom hold:

– a spectrum of movements to help you get a better Squat bottom position

  • supine “baby” position
    • lying on back with either your feet on a wall or you are holding your knees. The idea is to isometrically contract as hard as possible for 10s at a time (makes sure you breathe)
  • quadruped rocking
    • hands and knees position. Engage the upper and lower body and connect them with the trunk. push your hips back to your ankles, then pull your hips to your hands. The idea is to keep a flat, neutral spine throughout.
  • crawl
    • kinda obvious; hands and knees, opposite arm and leg moving at the same time.
  • rocking back into bottom position of squat
    • once you can hold a good bottom position do 3 sets of a 20 second hold with some crawls and rocks during the 1 minute of rest. The idea is to crawl/rock into the bottom position (like an infant would) and hold a tight position (remember the infant has to really work hard to stay in that position)
  • Walking squat holds
    • walk around and every 10-20 seconds squat down, hold for 5-10 seconds, squat back up. shake out and keep walking around. Stay loose.


I hope this helps you think if not makes you think.

All the best,

your friendly neighborhood trainer 😉