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Exercises Movements, technique & proper execution

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Old 03-02-2009, 10:13 PM   #1
Jeff Belyeu
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Squat Depth

I have done a couple of searches and read some interesting threads, but have not exactly found what I was looking for. I am doing the CFSB, and as part of that, doing low bar back squats. I am wanting to get full ROM, so I am going very deep. As part of this, I think I am keeping an upright torso, which is (I think) counter to part of the reason for doing low bar squats. So, where is the trade off between range of motion/depth, and back angle. I think I start with putting my hips back, and then lower with the same back angle, but then for the last six inches I guess, my butt comes in and my back goes more vertical. Should this depth only be for air squats, and/or high bar squats? Should low bar back squats stop X inch(es) below parallel, and high bar or air squats go into a third world squat? Thanks in advance.
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Old 03-03-2009, 12:06 AM   #2
Dan Donche
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Re: Squat Depth

You should be able to go to full depth on every variation of squat. Perhaps on the squats you're having trouble getting down all the way you can focus hard on pushing your knees apart. That'll allow your hips the room they need to get where you want them.
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Old 03-03-2009, 10:38 AM   #3
Jeff Belyeu
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Re: Squat Depth

I am getting to the bottom, I am just going more vertical during the last few inches. Then when I come up, I am staying vertical. If I come part way up, and then try to put my hips back, I seem to lose momentum, and it seems strange to have the hips in, push them back, then bring them in again all in the upward motion of the squat.

I thought that part of the low back squat was to have you push your hips back, incline the back forward, and bring the lower back and hamstrings more into the movement.

Are you saying I should go to full depth in a low bar back squat, and keep the back angle? If so, do I need to shove the knees way forward to balance this out?
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Old 03-03-2009, 10:47 AM   #4
Paul Rivers
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Re: Squat Depth

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Originally Posted by Jeff Belyeu View Post
I think I start with putting my hips back, and then lower with the same back angle, but then for the last six inches I guess, my butt comes in and my back goes more vertical. Should this depth only be for air squats, and/or high bar squats? Should low bar back squats stop X inch(es) below parallel, and high bar or air squats go into a third world squat? Thanks in advance.
On a back squat, you only need to break parallel a little. There's no need to go 3 or 4 inches below parallel, especially not at the expense of lumbar tightness or what you describe above.

If your hips are coming in at the bottom, that's not good. Your knees are likely coming forward too, and you're probably losing all the hamstring tension, and the drive up probably really lacks hip drive and becomes more a quad exercise.

Rippetoe's new Starting Strength DVD shows him correcting several people with similar and related faults. That may be money well spent for you.
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Old 03-03-2009, 10:58 AM   #5
Steven Webster
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Re: Squat Depth

Past a certain point my butt rounds because my hamstrings are holding my knees back. Increasing the angle so that my legs are tucked more into my torso results in a rounded back. Everything has to relax to get the angle. Instead of getting a more acute angle so that the torso and leg are tucked in the shins take some of the slack, so the back doesn't have to shift anymore and the hamstrings don't pull so much.

Try for full depth but for you, if the rounding occurs and the knees slip forward, you'll lose all your power springing back up, which is very bad. Test out your depth with various box heights. Alternatively lie flat on your back and bring your knees to your shoulders, noting exactly where your hips come away from the floor in order to force the angle.

I hope I just made sense... at least that's what I gather from your post.
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Old 03-04-2009, 07:35 AM   #6
Alexander Kornishev
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Re: Squat Depth

when squat depth is a concern I like this picture:
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Old 03-04-2009, 11:44 AM   #7
Jeff Belyeu
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Re: Squat Depth

Alexandar's pic is more to the point of my question. I was thinking that getting full range of motion was to go completely down. When I do this, I believe I am keeping the arch in my back, but I think I am too vertical in the bottom of the squat. If you are too vertical, then this takes the hamstrings out of the exercise (to a large degree). So, is there a point where you need to stop your descent so that you keep your back angle and hamstring activation? I am now thinking the answer is yes.
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Old 03-04-2009, 01:08 PM   #8
Brian Lawyer
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Re: Squat Depth

Alexandar's pic is of a pretty famous Olympic lifter. I don't know his name but I have seen plenty of video of the man. That being said, he is training for O'Lifting and therefore using High bar position, keeping his torso as upright as possible, and going to a depth that his hamstrings actually bounce off his calves. Basically he is trying to mimic the Clean Squat but instead of using Front Bar position he's going with a HBBS to add a little more weight in hopes that it will transfer to his O'Lifts. That guy has one goal in mind, Train for O'Lifting.

So with that mouthful being said. This is my personal opinion. LBBS is a strength exercise. I would go to proper squat depth, defined by Rippatoe as crease in hip below or parallel with top of patella (knee). I wouldn't go any more or any less than that and focus on gaining strength. Adding 5 to 10lbs a week on your back squat.

On the other hand if you want to go ATG squat, and you are fond of Snatches and Clean and Jerks, switch it up to the HBBS Upright torso knees forward squat. I think you will benefit from either one.

Last edited by Brian Lawyer : 03-04-2009 at 01:10 PM. Reason: grammar
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Old 03-04-2009, 01:14 PM   #9
Jamie J. Skibicki
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Re: Squat Depth

Jeff,

what are your goals?
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Old 03-04-2009, 01:36 PM   #10
Brian Lawyer
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Re: Squat Depth

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Originally Posted by Jamie J. Skibicki View Post
Jeff,

what are your goals?
Thanks Jamie! That was what I was trying to communicate in my above response. Different squats for different goals.
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