Breaking it down: The Suitcase Squat

Sunday’s workout had a different variation the squat in it and I had some requests to expand more on this great move and why it’s a must for your training program!

“Functional” is a word thrown around all the time in the fitness world, and honestly, it kind of drives me nuts.  Why do we have to label a workout program as functional?  One of the main goals of exercise is to function better so isn’t working out in general always functional?  But if we get to root of where that label comes from, it is aimed at an exercise such as the Suitcase Squat.  What is more applicable to everyday life then having to pick up something heavy off the ground?  And that is the primary goal of this exercise!

Here are the keys to performing it with success!

  • You will start with a more narrow squat stance, feet positioned about shoulder width apart.  Imagine if you were picking up a suitcase, you wouldn’t have your legs positioned out wide like a sumo squat.
  • The weight you select needs to be heavy enough to challenge you, but not pull you out of balance or make it impossible to maintain proper squat form.
  • I like to feel my shoulder blades driving down towards my back pockets and my rib cage pulled slightly down.
  • As you lower into the motion, it is ok for your chest to drop forward more than a normal squat, in fact this squat in many ways is similar to a traditional dead lift.
  • Because the weight will be pulling you to one side, you will need to focus on maintaining your stability and not rush the motion.
  • And as always, make sure squeeze the glutes when you reach the top of the motion!

The beauty of this exercise is that it forces on anti rotation/lateral motion due to the weight pulling you to one side and you resisting.  That engages the core and challenges the nervous system like no other!  The mirror is always a great place to start when adding these into your program so you can watch closely at how symmetrical you are.  But eventually, taking away the visual reference is also a good choice so that you can rely on your own body to help you find the correct motion.

Enjoy this great variation!


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