THE CONSTANT-TENSION SKATER SQUAT...

Burn out your legs with this slow, tortuous, delightful squatty thing. It's easier per rep than the Dead-Start style we do in Month 1, but brutally, metabolically effective when you do it right. Keep your reps to 15 unless you have a good reson to do otherwise.

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HOW TO CONSTANT-TENSION SKATER SQUAT:

START TALL! – on one leg, with your standing leg locked-out, actively pushing the heal of that leg through the floor and tensing through your thighs and glutes.

SPARE LEG RESTING ON A MAT – or bench, or table, or child, or whatever else you can find to help you balance.

PULL SPARE LEG BEHIND YOU – the first move is to get the non-working leg behind you out the way, (with the knee bent), then…

SIT BACK INTO A SQUAT – and lower yourself down.

TAP THE KNEE ON THE FLOOR – or nice soft mat if you’re smart, or simply go as low as you can control without tapping if you don’t have suitable mats/cushions.

STAND BACK UP – then you use your leg strength to drive smoothly back up to standing tall…all the way back to lock-out at the knee, extended hip with your foot back on the bench.

EMPHASISE CONTRACTION AT THE TOP – but don’t just be happy to be there; tense your bum and quads hard and show-off that top position. You gotta do that every rep! — don’t take a second of relaxation on these please. It should be murder at both ends.

REPEAT! – These are best done for high reps. As most people will tell you, these aren’t fun at all, but you probably want to be the person with legs that can do this.

WHICH PROGRESSION?

Well it's a bit simple this one really. You go as low as you can while performing 15 perfect reps. The lower the platform you tap your knee on, the harder. The higher the platform you use for balance, the harder. Test at both ends. Remember, the top of the move should be at least as hard as the bottom of the move!

HOW YOU PEOPLE MESS IT UP...

YOU LOSE RHYTHM — probably by being too ambitious. Or by just chilling in the middle of it because it’s hard. But you mustn’t! Constant tension, constant rhythm please.

YOU DON’T GET STRAIGHT — Check yourself out at the top of the move, often, that ‘straight’ leg... it ain’t straight. You need to feel BOTH your glute and your quads contracting at the top — the knee has to be locked-out, otherwise you're not getting as much out of the move as you should be.

YOU CAN’T TAP AND GO — Part skill; part strength. If you can’t do it, keep practicing and shorten the range of motion (higher mat or thing) until you get it right.

YOU LIFT YOUR HEAL — Squat strength is delivered by pushing your heal down through the floor.

The fix: again, don’t go lower than you can control, then work on your ankle and hip mobility if that’s what’s stopping you.

YOU HAVE EXCESSIVE HIP SHIFT — If your hip wobbles to the side too much on these, if it looks all over the place, you’ll want to tidy it up. Too much sliding and crazy hips could lead to injury. Make it easier until you have better control.

WICKED CUES!

STRETCH THE BUM. SQUEEZE THE BUM – at the top of the move, you gotta squeeze your bum hard. At the bottom we really want to sit back into the squat and maybe even feel that hbum stretch. It’s difficult to feel, but work towards feelings the muscle fibres of your glute (and possibly hamstring) stretch on the way down. It will be harder work, but you’ll have better control.

PUMP THE LEG – One if my favourite cues for high-rep work. Focus on the leg ‘pumping up’ — filling with more and more blood with every rep. Every bit of burning you can feel, embrace it! Imagine your body filling that leg with more and more blood -- fresh oxygen every rep. The more, the better.

FEEL THE THIGH ‘BREAK’ THE SQUAT – as we push you on these, and they get tough, you might end up wanting to just drop and tap the mat with your foot and come straight back up. But we don’t want that. We want ‘constant tension’, (the clue is in the name). So a useful cue is to try to feel the quads ‘kick in’ and slow the squat down just before you hit the mat. If you learn to feel for that, you’ll have more control.

THE MAT IS RED HOT! – You have to touch it, but you wouldn’t really wanna be there for long, would you?!

MOVE AROUND THE KNEE – imagine your knee is fixed in space. Then as you try to ‘work around it’, you might find it helps to encourage the right mechanics.

HANDS FORWARD. KNEE BACK!
More stretch in either direction usually means more control!

JUST GET ON WITH IT!
Sometimes you can dread these so I thought this might help! Don’t dread it, don't build it up in your head. Just get it done!

WHY DO IT TO YOURSELF?!

LEGS LOVE HIGH REP WORK – whether you do or not, the odds are that your legs will adapt fantastically well to high rep work. So, unlike most of the stuff in this programme, we insist that you do 15 reps per leg (as soon as you can handle it anyway).

THEY WILL MAKE YOU A BETTER ATHLETE – Balance. Strength. Control. Endurance. It helps them all.

TIME-UNDER-TENSION MATTERS and with all of our other one-leg squat variations, you get a little bit of rest between reps. Not with these though. With these, we control and adhere to constant tension, delivering a powerful unrelenting stimulus to all the muscle fibres in your legs.

ALTERNATIVES...

I put so many single-leg squats in The Strength Sessions Programme because it is unlikely you’ll need alternatives.

Most people can do them, they cause very few injuries relative to other things, they can be done pretty much anywhere and they are easily scaled from very easy to very hard.

But if you really can’t do them, I suggest one of these (in mild order of preference as always):

--> ANY BILATERAL SQUAT

--> EXTRA KETTLEBELL SWINGS

--> DEADLIFTS

--> BIKE INTERVALS

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