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Clint Harris 08-16-2012 01:19 PM

Yet another "starting strength" and "how's my back squat" thread.
Yet another "starting strength" and "how's my back squat" thread.

This is me doing some backsquats. Have a look and see if there's any tips/advice for me. There's a whole series in there. (These are as work friendly as watching random guys doing backsquats on youtube can be. A few "slides" in there I use a 4 letter s-word to describe how I felt or such, but there is no major profanity or anything that would frighten adults)
Also, don't be fooled by my youtube handle, there is none of that; but I did split a pair of shorts one time - that's not on video - it's kind of a unique distraction when you have a barbell on your back. I'm sure my one weirdo subscriber is disappointed .... probably should have thought of a more mature handle.

I used to HBBS but have started to do LBBS - setting the bar under my traps (there's like a groove formed there when I "flex" back - below my traps and in shoulders).
I'm still trying to workout some of the kinks.
They are all side on views and no front-on - I could try to get some, I do try to push knees out all the time and generally have been told I do a good job. There's the odd rep (especially when heavy/tired) where I mess it up and a knee may come in, but I do usually detect that and fix it on the fly, or the next rep - you can usually see from the side anyway.

My 1rm is 300# and I've only ever done that once - worst form ever too - 90% good morning and I'm sure resembled Dave Castro's infamous DL. I usually max at 285 so was pretty stoked to surpass this weight. (lots of mental games to do so too). 285 was my typical max as anything else over this I'd usually fail at. Prior to starting this program, I did BS about once every couple of months.
I also do presses, DL, power cleans, and bench, with assistance weighted dips, weighted situps, chin-ups and good mornings (other than during BS) in the A/B type format.
A = BS, SP, PC, GM, chins
B = BS, BP, DL, dips
and I always do weighted situps.

I also do my CF wods (CFNE programming) and try to be smart about rest and weights for that too ... but I often f that up and waste myself. I typically "Start Strength" in mornings and will wod in afternoon - so often during the week 2 days is a 2-a-days. But I also will just do SS as my workout just as often. I will typically "rest" Sun and at least another day per week - generally Thurs and often Sat too. My 2nd WOD and even some of tuesday I'll got really light and turn it into pure metcon with no brutal strength component.

I felt like when I started SS I'd often be on my toes on the way down and always start squat with my knees. I feel like I've reined that in better and are trying to start more with hips and be back more. Pitching forward does not happen as much as it used to, but still occurs. Bar path has also improved. I'm not sure if I need to get my knees and hips back more or not.
My eyes are also looking at a spot 20 feet out in front of me at the floor, but I think my head is not following suit … my eyes may stay the same, but my heads breaks back when it's heavy.

Anyway, whatever. Please feel free to say anything you'd like. Like and subscribe ... yea, whatever, don't care about any of that nonsense :)

I'm continuing to post these up on a regular basis ... until I get bored of doing so. My schedule is typically M/W/F but sometimes, F becomes a Saturday. Life may also get in the way and I may have 3-4 days in between a workout.
At the moment, I have some 255-295 vids up. I reset weight after the 295 as although I didn't fail, I didn't want to mess myself up either and I can try again in a few weeks. I've reset back to 262 pounds which I did yesterday - I was pretty beat up that day, even stretching was hard, and as a result, every lift I did that day was a challenge. The 262#BS looked like I was trying to lift 350#.


Robert Fabsik 08-16-2012 08:07 PM

Re: Yet another "starting strength" and "how's my back squat" thread.
Overall looks like you are putting in good hard work.

Depth is really solid.

I'd note 3 things that aren't horrible but to continue to work on.

1.) Looks something you still lean/fall forward a little. Keep the weight midfoot.

2.) Sometimes you seem a little loose and almost fall into the bottom. Some can master this, others they lose all their tension and when sets get tough they can't dog'em out because they are used to loose and fast.

3.) Some of your rougher reps in your 262 sets (ironically not in your 295 sets) look a little bit like a good morning which maybe shows you need more back work to catch up with your hip strength.

I was a little confused because I thought I saw a max of 300, but you did 295 for 5?

Clint Harris 08-16-2012 08:48 PM

Re: Yet another "starting strength" and "how's my back squat" thread.
Hey Robert, thanks for the feedback.

I've definitely working on the weight forward (even lifting toes during warmups). I also notice in some vids that my right heel pops up a little on some reps. It's the same foot I've had some Achilles problems (it is better, I'm running again) so I think I need to work on that flexibility too. Interestingly it's also the side that I'll lean over too or will roll inwards on too. Weight back/off ties/on mid-foot is one thing that's constantly in my thoughts. I feel it's gotten better. Before I started taking videos (with lighter weight) I could feel the pitch forward happen big time - was like down, pitch forward, catch it and stabilize, then drive up. I had addressed this through feels but then in the 255 vids I noticed the pitch forward still occur - so I'm trying to work on it. Especially when I start ... trying to think back and down, rather than just down.

I thought it looked as if I was loose falling into the bottom too. It is something that I try to do, but feel like I do keep tight, but as you point out, the video shows it's potentially soft and out of control. I toy with this idea as it often feels better to not do this but then it doesn't feel as if I hit depth. I do like the stability of the "no bounce" though. I guess this is a work in progress, One thing I notice is that often, I do the bounce on the very next rep I felt like my depth was questionable. It seems easier or better to do with FS or HBBS - that may not be true in a technical sense but for me right now, it feels that way. I feel like it does help me ... but if I also pitch forward at the same time, or knees don't stay out, a scary rep can occur - especially when heavy.

That 262 set was terrible and I shouldn't have been in the gym. I wasn't rested. The Monday I did the 295 set and was crushed. Then on Tuesday I did a WOD (30-20-10 PC/Ring Dips) and I went at it pretty hard - that also crushed me. So Wednesday, I was tired. I even stood in the gym before I started thinking I shouldn't be here because jumping rope to warm up was tough. But you know, I was there and could tough it out .... bad idea. Live and learn. I'm chalking that set up to experience, but certainly highlights some weaknesses. My lower back was tired that day too. I have incorporated good mornings and weighted situps to try and strengthen this area up, it is making a difference. Slowly but surely. On another note, to show just how tired I was. I also did press that day too. It was also a weight where I had reset lighter. The last time I did 130x5x3 it was fairly easy. I had just done 5/4/4@145 last time. This time I did 131 and struggled with them all. On my third set, I didn't even get one the first time I tried, then waited a minute and barely, just barely got 5. I had nothing. (I'll be going up by 4# for press now, rather than 5).

For my weights. On Jan 12, 2012 I tested out a 300# BS - worst rep in history, it would have made the 262 set look perfect. Then in May I only managed 285 in a CF total and it was a struggle too. I hadn't done much squatting, other than in wods or cleans, in between those times. Then 6 weeks ago I decided to start starting strength. My first weight was 225# - somewhere between 75-80% of my 1RM - thinking it was something I knew I could start with and get some form work in before it got too heavy. 5 weeks later, after adding 5# everytime I went in and some soul searching telling myself I could do it, I got through 3x5 of 280, then 285, then 290, then 295. Was pretty happy and was dying to go for the 3x5x300 but figured I'd hurt myself, so reset to 262 (added the 2 pounds just so I'd be lifting different weights this time).


John C Corona 08-17-2012 05:04 AM

Re: Yet another "starting strength" and "how's my back squat" thread.
I had a longer reply typed yesterday but my power died cause of storms here....anyway, I love the handle!

My main thing is the coming forward, that you already knew about. Maybe you want to arch your back harder, to get more butt backness. Your warmup sets were worse than your work sets. Those warmup sets are VERy important in solidifying what you will do when weight is heavier, so accept nothing but perfect form when the weight is lighter.

I also thought you werent staying tight. I feel like one should see the lifter take a big breath each rep. Im one of those guys that exaggerate that inhale, with cheeks puffing out to lock it in. When I do not exaggerate it, I feel that rep isnt as good as when I do exaggerate it, therefore I coach people to do so.

I dont usually post here, cause others are so much better at pointing out things, but I thought Id try. That "oh s**t" rep on the last set of 295 I am surprised you got it. Nice work, and nice're going to kill that PR.

Clint Harris 08-17-2012 11:32 AM

Re: Yet another "starting strength" and "how's my back squat" thread.
OK thanks John. Guilty as charged with not giving the warm-ups their due. I'm just going through the motions.
Will try the back and exaggerated breath too.

Also, I was milliseconds away from dumping that rep ... but it magically started moving again. I'd say if I were using bumpers and no cage, that barbell would have been dumped.

Eric R Cohen 08-27-2012 04:36 AM

Re: Yet another "starting strength" and "how's my back squat" thread.
In the sets of 275 you are starting the movement with your hips and knees at the same time. This is whats getting you forward.
You need to send the hips back at the very start of the squat. Think about how you would close a car door using your butt.
Hips first, knees second.
(i only watched that set)

Richard Colon 08-27-2012 02:07 PM

Re: Yet another "starting strength" and "how's my back squat" thread.
It looks like you have a hybrid squat as that being the case, you will have mixed results, depending on what your goals are (specific to the Back Squat).

You seem to be doing a High Bar Back Squat but are calling it low bar because you think the bar is lower on your back.

For a low bar back squat, go with a wider stance, lose the Oly shoes (you don't want the raised heel) and go with a flat shoe like converse or some dc/skater shoes (vans, etc.) Just look at your videos. Your shins are no where as vertical as they should be for a LBBS. Not even close, on any of them. This is because you aren't sitting back as much. You should feel more hamstring (posterior chain stuff) in the LBBS and the position of your knee and your quad shows me that your squats are very much HBBS.

If they are HBBS, then your elbows are way too far back. They need to be tucked under you more to keep your chest upright a lot more than it is. This will also help with sitting down between your legs. This is where your Oly shoes will help.

You should have more of a lean forward with the LBBS because that is what balances out the massive load that starts with the hips way back, it balances the vertical shins and balances the "lowness" of the bar on your back.

Not bad on the squats, but you seem a bit in between both worlds. I am no pro at them but I've studied it and done enough of both LBBS and HBBS that they look and feel VERY different to me. Yours do not and I feel like you won't progress as efficiently because you are intending to do one type of squat but your body mechanics are not cooperating.

Don't call it a LBBS just because the bar is low on your back. There are many more changes than that. What exactly are you going for? Obviously to increase your Back Squat right? Do you want a better transition for Front Squats and Olympic Lifts? Are you looking to simply give yourself the highest 1RM possible? Do you feel more comfortable doing one type vs. another (knee issues, flexibility issues, etc?). Do you know that your weakness is your hamstrings?

Ryan Redding 08-27-2012 04:06 PM

Re: Yet another "starting strength" and "how's my back squat" thread.
This may be redundant as i haven't read every response. You are right, your knees are initiating your squat, which is pretty much the epicenter for everything else going on. Push your hip back. I kind of think of it as trying to keep my knees in place and rotating around them. not the most precise thing but it helps me. be that as it may, essentially, because you're initiating with knees forward rather than hips back, you're moving forward onto your toes, and you're heels are raising off the floor, which you can see around 0:44. i would also imagine that you're knees are moving inward as well, but i can't be sure. push them out, especially as you stand.

because you're forward, on you're toes, the bar path follows. it essentially dives forward as you go down, then forward again as you come up, which you can see around 1:30. the bar path turns into a triangle of sorts. interestingly enough, on the very last rep, you semi-correct the knee forward fault as you're coming out of the bottom. the weight gets heavy for you're previous technique, you can't pivot around your forward knees, so you pull them back, get the shin closer to vertical, and you stand up. it's kind of like a string is pulling your knees back, and that's an imagine i try to think of as i squat. also, on that last set it seems that you're hyper-extending you're trunk coming up out of the bottom of the squat, but that's secondary.

things to think about maybe.

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