Tip: Altitude Landings to Improve Squatting Mechanics

With the squat, you want to break from the knees and hips at the same time. This plyo drill can teach the correct movement pattern and fix bad patterns.

When initiating the decent of the squatting movement, too often we see athletes breaking too much from the knee rather than breaking from the knees and hips simultaneously.

Breaking too much from the hips limits the ability to achieve full depth and engage the posterior chain (glutes and hamstrings) effectively. Training with this flawed movement pattern for too long will make it more difficult to change that movement pattern at a later stage.

A simple and effective exercise to teach athletes to break from the hip and knees are altitude landings. Normally these are used as one of the early exercises in a plyometric training progression to learn how to absorb forces effectively. But here, altitude landings can be used as a training tool to make the athlete aware of how to break effectively from the hip and knees.

You can use it with beginner athletes as one of the first exercises in their strength training program to learn the correct movement pattern from the start, or you can complex altitude landings with your back or front squats to reinforce the movement pattern for advanced athletes.

During this drill, the height of the box is of secondary importance, whilst the focus should be on proper technical execution. Choose a box that allows you to drop comfortably, which is usually a box height between 30-60 centimeters.

Christian Bosse is a strength-and-conditioning specialist who has developed some of the world's strongest athletes. He prepared competitors for medal success at the Olympic Games in London (2012) and Rio (2016). Christian is currently working with athletes in preparation for the Olympic Games in Tokyo (2020). Follow Christian Bosse on Facebook