A monster squat could mean two things – either a badass squat that involves moving some serious weight, or one that resembles an undead creature pulling itself out of the earth. Poor squat form is not only ugly to look at but also dangerous, especially as the weight gets heavier. If you’ve got a monster squat of the negative sort, maybe all you need is another kind of “ugly” to get you out of your rut.
One of the most common mistakes I see with the back squat is a poorly set upper back. Thoracic spine extension is a crucial part of the back squat because it allows you to keep the load in the proper position to avoid a loss of balance and a breakdown in mechanics. Bailing a squat by stepping out is one thing, but you don’t want to have it staple you into the ground.
Despite its odd name, the Frankenstein squat is an effective squat variation that teaches the importance of proper torso alignment and positioning. Due to its somewhat precarious setup, any imperfections will be instantly highlighted, providing a great amount of feedback to a lifter even if he/she is training alone.
Location and equipment courtesy of TripleFit
Proper activation of the core and pelvic musculature is required for the Frankenstein squat to be performed properly. As the lifter opens up at the hips and begins to sit in between the legs, a loss of control can result in the pelvis tilting anteriorly and the weight shifting to the heels instead of remaining over the mid-foot. Premature rising of the hips on one side will also result in the barbell being displaced. In that respect, squatting in this manner can also be a good way to drill proper sequencing of the movement.
The Frankenstein squat can also be used to improve quad activation in the squat. Long-limbed individuals tend to get more hamstring, glute and lower back activation out of regular squats, but the Frankenstein squat’s upright posture forces the legs to do most of the work. Perfect for those who lack the flexibility to perform the front squat!
Whether with an empty barbell or with load, the Frankenstein squat can be a squatter’s best weapon when it comes to correcting movement faults or weak links. Performing it from a dead-stop at the bottom position is also a great way to build strength “out of the hole”, which is where most lifters lose their squats. Don’t worry about the weird stares you might get at the gym – it’s far better to get weird looks than to have to suffer a weirder-looking squat!