Progressing and Regressing the Squat

by Kevin Carr |  Date Released : 17 Apr 2017

How We Progress the Squat

1) Assisted Squat

The assisted squat is a great place to start for someone who’s never squatted, is coming off an injury or is simply too weak to do the exercise correctly.  Here are two different variations of the assisted squat that we teach during the Certified Strength Coach Certification (CFSC).

TRX Assisted Squat

This is a great first progression because it provides the most support. Coach the client to have loose hands on the handles and only use as much support as they need. It should not appear like they are "waterskiing" from the TRX.

Cook Band Assisted Squat

The Cook Band provides assistance but doesn't allow the athlete to hang off and use their upper body. The stretch of the band gives the most support at the bottom of the squat where it is needed most.

2) Squat Press Out

Once the client squats to parallel without assistance, the Squat Press Out can be used to begin building core stability in the squat pattern. I often use this as an introductory progression for clients who score a 2 on the FMS deep squat and as a warm-up drill for clients who will be squatting with load later on during the training session.

Cue them to reach the ball out slowly as they lower into the squat. The anterior reach will allow them to sit back into their hips and get their chest up tall while in the bottom of the squat.

3) Goblet Squat

Goblet Squat with Heels Elevated to High Box

We use this regression of the goblet squat for clients who cannot reach a 12-inch box without posterior tilting their pelvis or lack enough ankle mobility to keep their heels down.

Goblet Squat

This is the main squat progression we use for the majority of clients at MBSC. Our adult clients will train the goblet squat at a variety of different tempos and loads over the course of their programs.

4) Double Bell Front Squat

For clients that outgrow the goblet squat we progress to the Double Kettlebell front squat to progressively load the client

5A) Offset Kettlebell Front Squat

The offset squat can provide serve as a variable motor skill challenge for clients that may be looking for a challenge but are not suited for an increase in load.

5B) Front Squat

For athletes who are going to be Olympic lifting or those who are better suited for increased bilateral loading we use the front squat at our terminal bilateral squatting pattern.

The squat is a fundamental human movement that everyone should be able to do.  However, not everyone has to load it the same. Having a solid, well thought progression that is adaptable to every client will allow you to get everyone squatting whether it be with a TRX or a Barbell.

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Kevin Carr

About the author: Kevin Carr

Whether he is working as a coach or therapist, Kevin’s goal is to help you move better so that you can excel at the activities that make you happy.

Kevin has already amassed a wealth of experience in the field of sports performance and personal training while working at Mike Boyle Strength and Conditioning in Woburn, Massachusetts. Working with everyone from US Olympians looking for a competitive edge to the Average Joe or looking to shed some pounds and get healthier he has helped countless clients move better and live healthier lives.

In addition to receiving a Bachelor Degree in Kinesiology from The University of Massachusetts-Amherst and a License in Massage Therapy from Cortiva Institute- Watertown, he is also credited with the completion of numerous continuing education certifications including FMS, SFMA, NKT Level 1 and 2, FRC, FAPP, Pn1, and PRI.

Kevin can be contacted at

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