Air Squat

Teaching the Air Squat

*teaching* a movement is a brief explanation of what the client is about to learn for the first time in On Ramp, or review in a class setting. It’s only 1 minute to prevent you from talking too much, keeping the clients engaged, and giving them just enough to safely begin moving.

  • Fluency & eye contact: your confidence determines the clients trust with you. If they don’t trust you, they don’t feel safe. 
  • Describe the movement stance, grip, & starting position
    feet under shoulders, arms stretch above the eyes, gaze ahead and tight core
  • Describe ~3 important points of performance: 
    1) Hips hinge slightly (maintains flat foot/balance)
    2) chest is upright (maintains spinal position)
    3) squat hip crease below the knee. 
    *more can be communicated during the *coaching*. 
  • Additionally, remember to show the movement at speed. Clients will imitate what you do. 

Coaching the Air Squat

*Coaching* a movement is a thorough examination of class, moving on your cues while simultaneously looking for faults and improving their positions. The clients will feel safer having participated in guided review, but you will learn the strengths and weaknesses to provide better coaching tips for individuals.

  • Fluency & eye contact: your confidence determines the clients trust with you. If they don’t trust you, they don’t feel safe. 
  • Communication: the clients need to know what to do and when to do it with a purpose.
  • TRIAGE: how to organize your thoughts when educating a whole-group environment

Are they doing the right movement

Air squat is hard to do the wrong movement, but for example, someone will bring the bar to a front rack when walking out of the cage for overhead squat. This is incorrect movement all together. The rest of the class has been asked to walk out of rack station, so you need to swoop in quickly, ask the client to re-rack the bar, and you show the safe way to get the bar out of the rack.

Now the whole class is ready for skills.


The class is ready to move and in their starting positions!
In general:
Tell everyone a cue – cue them “ready and…”- scan the room for the cue you just gave. Did they do it? If yes, go to the next cue, if no, cue again to see more people or go to MICRO fix.

EXAMPLE SERIES OF CUING THE AIR SQUAT: Stance, grip, position, is first.

1) “your feet are under the shoulders” –
look at everyone’s feet. Micro fix when needed.
2) your arms are stretched above the eyes” – look at everyone’s arms. 
3) “when I say squat, squat full range and I’ll tell you when to stand”

4) “tighten your core, ready and squat.”
The first rep is a practice rep – if someone wasn’t listening or did the wrong thing, you’ll catch it here.

5)Begin to cue points of performance: as a rule of thumb – give them a cue, and check to see if they did it. If you didn’t see everyone, do 2-3 more and stand in a macro view from the side of class.

6) “This time, notice if your hips hinge to initiate the descent, ready and squat”
Did everyone’s hips move before knees bent, you may need to do 2-3 more to see class. 

7) EXAMPLE MACRO FIX- you notice someone’s heels coming up when they held the bottom of the squat, and their stance is indeed wide enough. when you cue the entire class again, “this time, sit your hips back to stay on your heels/flat foot”, “ready and squat….hold….wiggle your toes. And stand” You’re looking to see if everyone is in their heels.

EXAMPLE MICRO FIX- cuing the whole class did not fix the person who wasn’t staying flat footed. When everyone is at rest, walk to the client and say, “your heels are coming up off the floor, this time, (show it as you talk it) lean forward more to stay in your heels.”

Stay with the client, “ready and squat,” did they do it? If yes, let them know good job. If no, provide additional help. Get 5# plates to place under the foot and possibly widen the stance more with more forward lean.

Adhering to sports standards

It’s a delicate matter to discuss range of motion and sports standards.

Warm ups and skill work should be taken seriously by the coach. It’s a time for you to learn about your clients, how they’re feeling, and what they are capable of.

Sometimes you’ll notice a client cringe when performing a movement – they didn’t tell you before class that they are feeling bad pain. It is certainly their responsibility but we can go the extra mile by *noticing* them. Perhaps they didn’t want to be a burden, perhaps their ego didn’t want to scale down.

Scaling is essential for long-term success. When in doubt, always scale.

If a client is capable of squatting full range in skills, then they should be kept to the standards.

I reference basketball a lot. Just because you spent the energy to run the ball down the court, it doesn’t mean you get a point in the basket for trying. CrossFit is measured by range of motion, safe technique, and performance.

Measurable Accuracy is a crucial part of the CrossFit sport experience.


If someone cannot squat, there’s a variety of options. most importantly, we want to do our best to maintain the integrity of the movement and intensity. you wouldn’t substitute jump ropes for squats because it’s a different intensity & different body part.

You may substitute, glute bridge on the floor, lunges, step ups, bulgarian split squats, etc. depending on the severity and need of the client.

Additionally, look to the next day or two’s programming to make sure the movement is not redundant.

If you are totally lost, for cardio pieces to core work like abmat situps and on a strength day partake in another lift like deadlift or shoulder press.