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A-Z of Program Design – Squat Performance

CPDs: 1.5

The squat exercise is a fundamental lift within strength and conditioning and performance training, improving an athlete's ability to generate greater ground reaction forces and to produce higher torque magnitudes at the ankle, knee and hip, all of which contribute significantly to acceleration, maximal sprint, vertical jump performance and more. However, the performance of a squat and all its variants requires optimal ankle, knee and hip mobility, trunk stabilisation and strength, lumbopelvic control, and potential technique modifications depending on individual biomechanics.

Therefore, the aim of this short course is provide performance coaches with a greater understanding of the squat mechanics, including potential mobility restrictions and stability limitations, individual anthropometrics which may affect squat performance, and training strategies which can be implemented to squat movement quality.

Furthermore, squat periodisation and how to improve squat strength performance is also explored, providing detail on linear vs undulating squat periodisation, block periodisation, accentuated eccentric training, cluster training, squat variants, squat assistance exercises and overall program structure.

Suggested Pre-requisite

  • CIMSPA: L3 PT
  • PD:Approval: L3 PT

Aims and objectives of course:

  • Explore the kinetic differences between high-bar and low-bar back squats and front squats, and how the differences in mechanical advantage and moment arms at the ankle, knee and hip joints differ between these classic squat variants.
  • Describe the function of the ankle and foot when squatting, and what evidence-based strategies can implemented to improve ankle dorsi flexion and foot mechanics in athletes and general populations.
  • Explain how individual femur – tibia ratios and limb lengths can affect squat performance.
  • Explore hip function when performing a squat, how hip mobility, stability and individual hip anthropometrics effect squat performance.
  • Describe squat spinal mechanics and how coaching cues, focal point and strengthening interventions all contribute towards improvements in squat spinal kinematics.
  • Be able to implement evidence-based programming strategies to improve squat performance including linear vs undulating squat periodisation, block periodisation, accentuated eccentric training, cluster training, squat variants, squat assistance exercises and overall program structure.

Author Bio


Thomas Stringwell is the founder of Your Gym Sports Performance Ltd, an education provider that specialises within the fields of strength and conditioning and sports science. He’s an accredited strength and conditioning coach with the UKSCA and currently provides performance consultancy services across a range of sports including rugby union, rugby league, soccer, handball, boxing, mixed martial arts, BMX supercross, strength sports and Youth Athletic Development.

He holds an MSc in Sports Biomechanics (Loughborough University), a 1st class honours degree in Sport and Exercise Science (Manchester Metropolitan University) and a Certificate in Education teaching degree (Huddersfield University), with future ambitions of completing a PhD within the field of motor learning, constraints-based learning and non-linear pedagogy.

He has a real passion for education and coach development, having both coached and taught within the fields of strength and conditioning and health and fitness for over a decade. He’s a lifelong strength sport enthusiast, having competed both in Olympic Weightlifting and Powerlifting at a national level, with a genuine drive to support and educate coaches throughout our industry.

Your Gym Sports Performance prides itself on educational excellence, providing evidence-based education to aspiring sports and fitness professionals, whilst supporting practitioners throughout their coaching journey. Our Strength and Conditioning educational pathway enables sports and fitness practitioners to progress within their professional arena, providing coaches with the necessary skill set to apply performance training within their current practice. We aim to inspire and motivate coaches to develop as professionals, creating a lifelong learning experience that assists practitioners beyond the completion of their course, whilst raising the standard of sports performance education within the health and fitness sector.