Exercise of the Week: The Drop Squat

The Drop Squat

One of the biggest issues I see during the transition between the countermovement of a jump and the upward drive of a jump is the adduction of the knees (the knees coming together).  The same issue can be seen in inexperienced lifters during a squat pattern, loaded or unloaded.  The problem with this faulty movement pattern is the direction of force applied to the ground.  When the knees come together the line of force is actually horizontal and vertical.  The result is a decrease in jump height and decrease in the weight one can move in a squat.

Typically, this occurs due to a few reasons: ignorance in proper jump or squat mechanics, inadequate strength in the glutes and/or external rotators, and/or improper muscle activation of the glutes and external rotators.

There are multiple reasons I like the drop squat as a warm-up or an activation drill before a squat or a jump workout.

  1. It is a simple exercise to learn and complete.
  2. Little to no equipment necessary
  3. Teaches proper squat pattern
  4. Teaches proper deceleration pattern
  5. Activates the glutes and posterior chain
  6. Works on speed of counter movement or eccentric phase
  7. Can be progressed easily for more advanced athletes – adding a kettlebell or dumbbell in a goblet hold

Key points to execution:

  1. Start with a few pause squats (mini-band around the knees) and separate the band with the knees and hold for 3 seconds.
  2. Stand tall, split the feet shoulder width apart as fast as you can as you thrust your arms forward (If feet flare out slightly this is ok if the knees stay in line with middle toe).
  3. Focus on separating your feet as quick as possible while separating the band with the knees as you drop.
  4. Stick the “landing” and do not let the hips drop below the knees, or the knees to pinch.
  5. Can be done by thrusting the arms back as in a true countermovement, just remember to keep the spine in a neutral position.

As a warm-up: 2 sets of 8 – 10 reps, 30 seconds in between

As an activation drill: 1 set of 4 – 6 reps before main exercise