Weightlifters live and die by the strength of their squats. On Jun. 8, 2022, World silver medalist and Tokyo Olympian Martha Ann “Mattie” Rogers posted a big back squat to social media — 190 kilograms (or 418.8 pounds), which she revealed to be an eight-kilogram personal record.
More impressive still, Rogers also attached an accompanying video of her previous best effort in the back squat exactly two years prior, where she hit 171 kilograms, or 376.9 pounds. She capped off her Instagram post with something of a tell-all about her squat training and how far she’s had to go to put weight on her barbell.
Speaking on what it took to bump her back squat up almost 10 full kilograms, Rogers noted in her post caption:
“I am a notoriously “bad” squatter, (or very efficient lifter) and prior to 2020, I hadn’t improved my squat (from 170 kilograms) in about four years. Back squats are still my absolute least favorite thing to do most days, but an eight-kilogram personal record on the day is nothing to be mad at.”
Why Weightlifters Squat
As the 26-year-old competitor noted, Rogers isn’t exactly a self-described squat specialist. Although the sport of weightlifting judges strength in the snatch and clean & jerk, Rogers (and just about every other Olympic lifter out there) utilizes the back squat as one of her primary accessory movements for general leg strength.
Strength & Posture
A surplus of leg strength is helpful for any weightlifter who needs to stand up a heavy lift on the competition platform. As such, athletes like Rogers spend plenty of time in the squat rack during their weightlifting workouts.
The high-bar back squat allows Rogers to build up her leg strength while also mimicking the upright, vertical torso that is integral to stabilizing a barbell overhead. For that reason, most weightlifters aim to build and maintain a strength reserve through plenty of high-intensity, low-rep squats.
“Efficiency” in Weightlifting
Rogers made a point to note that she considers herself a “very efficient” lifter. Colloquially, efficiency in weightlifting refers to how well an athlete can translate their general leg strength, usually measured by the back or front squats, to their capabilities in the snatch and clean & jerk.
According to the International Weightlifting Federation‘s (IWF) athlete database, Rogers’ competition bests are a 111-kilogram (244.7-pound) snatch, and a 140-kilogram or 308.6-pound clean & jerk, which she hit in April 2021.
With her max squat in early 2021 presumably lower then than it is now, Rogers is right — her “eight-foot-long legged” frame doesn’t make squatting easy. However, she clearly knows how to efficiently utilize her leg strength on the competition platform.
Squats to Success
The two-time (2019, 2021) IWF World silver medalist is hard at work preparing for her next competition. As of now, Rogers is confirmed to appear on the platform as a 76-kilogram athlete at the 2022 USA Weightlifting Senior National Championships, per the preliminary entry list.
Senior Nationals are to be held from Jun. 25 to Jul. 3, 2022, in Las Vegas, Nevada, and will feature America’s upper echelon of weightlifting talent — Rogers included. We’ll see if she can translate her newfound leg strength to success on the big stage.
Featured Image: @mattiecakesssss on Instagram
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