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Gabe Rinaldi 03-09-2007 11:05 PM


All good points worth considering. I'll give low bar squats a try during a training cycle later in the year when I train for OWL.


Guest2 03-10-2007 03:06 PM

yes, the observations are tricky... the high bar BS is the reigning variation, but are the europeans stronger than us because of it or despite it? we all do high bar BSs too, and we're still weak. also, training over time becomes very dogmatic--so convention can certainly not be used as a primary rationale for employing any particular method--just as a starting point for investigation. Observing any commercial gym to find the ideal weight loss methodolgy would result in a determination that 1hr of agonizingly low intensity walking and 20 minutes of high-rep, low-intensity isolation machine resistance work is the most effective approach--everyone on this board knows that to not be the case.

i think really the bottom line is this: how can we increase strength as much as possible without compromising the technique we need to perform the lifts? likely the answer is similar to how we develop greater and greater metabolic conditioning, i.e. by focusing on developing greater strength, and later applying to further our metCon efforts. likewise, cycling through training periods of fundamental strength development with maintenance of technique followed by periods of training in which the lifter performs the sn/cj with greater frequency, volume and loading while maintaining the greater strength built in the previous cycle. in that stepwise fashion, the lifts themselves should continue to improve at the greatest rate over the long term (even though it's extremely frustrating for most lifters to not be attempting or making max effort sn/cj for any extended period of time).

i forget now who it was, but he made a point clear that for any sport, initially the participation in the sport itself is adequate stimulus for gains. as the athlete progresses, however, more non-sport training must occur to push further gains because the sport itself is no longer able to provide any significant stimulus. in the case of weightlifting, consider doing nothing but snatch and clean and jerk--it would be possible to make gains, but how can you overload a movement with that movement? if you can snatch only 100kg, you can't just decide in one cycle to wokr 105 for doubles to get your snatch up. instead, you have to rely on related movements with which you can attempt to overload the movement, e.g. squats, pulls, etc. since the legs/hips are responsible for such an overwhelming majority of the power needed for the lifts, squats alone can sometimes be adequate addition to sn/cj (as is the seen in the basic 'bulgarian' training). but most lifters will require more than this, particularly in the US where few of us have been pulled into an athletic program at very young ages by the state and had the opportunity like gymnasts to spend years developing remarkable strength foundations.

Glenn Pendlay 03-18-2007 10:10 AM

Couple of things...

First, I dont know that the statement that Casey is as strong as Rezezadeh but with insufficient technique is really fair. Of course, Casey is clean and jerking 35 to 45kg less than Rez, and Rez is "known" for being somewhat of an anomoly, someone with ugly technique but unbelievably strong. Shane Hammon told me that Rez was the strongest person he had ever seen, and having stood by Rez in the chow line at worlds (he is as huge in person as he looks on video) and watched some of his lifting/training in person, I can vouch for the fact that he is just plain STRONGER than would be normal for even a world champion OLer. The guy is a beast.

Instead, you could compare, say, Kolecki and Murphy. Both compete at 94kg. Kolecki was lifting world record weights in the clean and jerk, weights in the 230kg range, with a front squat of about 230kg. Robert Murphy is an american lifter who trains at the OTC, he has a front squat of 280kg and an OL style back squat of 300kg. His best clean and jerk is 200kg. Murphy is as strong, probably STRONGER than the best in the world at the strength exercises, but not at the competitive OL lifts. He is much stronger at all squatting movements than Kolecki, but does it translate into the same clean and jerk or snatch numbers?

Or, you could compare Pisarenko, my favorite superheavy, with Casey B. Several coaches and lifters who were active in Pisarenko's day report that he had "weak" legs. It was reported by Taranenko that one week he MISSED a 260kg back squat on Monday, and clean and jerked the weight on Friday. He was incredibly effecient. And yes, Casey B can back squat more than 260kg, though I am sure his front squat and pulling power are not where Pisarenkos were. And of course his lifts are not either.

Alexiev, who clean and jerked over 260kg, was very dismissive of those who struggled with high squat poundages. In one article he stated that he did not squat with over 270kg, and called the 300kg + squatting efforts of others on the soviet team "wasted effort" because heavy back squats did not carry over to the Olympic lifts.

None of this means that I am against squatting hard and heavy and trying pretty hard to get the body stronger if you are a competitive OLer or any other sort of athlete. What I am against, is the oversimplification of a fairly complex issue.

I also am not a fan of the underlying assumption of a whole argument not being examined... As I see it, in this case this underlying assumption is that low bar squats can and will make you stronger.

If this is the case, why are the squat numbers of various OLers who high bar squat actually HIGHER than what in my opinion ANY powerlifter can achieve without powerlifting equipment? Take away the suits and knee wraps, and taranenko, dimas, aranda, etc, with their supposedly inferior high bar style, can and do squat the same or bigger weights than the best powerlifters of their weight classes.

Why also do powerlifters like Fred "Dr. Squat" Hatfield advocate that much of the training for the squat done by even competitive powerlifters be high bar squatting... because in his words, high bar squatting is better for building strength, while low bar squatting is better for displaying strength.

Why did some of the BEST powerlifting squatters in the pre-canvas suite era (canvas suites change the lift so much there is little to be learned by comparing the training for a canvas suite squat and one without it) like Kirk Kirwaski and Ed Coan train their squats with high bar squats in training when not close to a meet... The period when strength is built, and not the period where you practice displaying it?

I am not against the low-bar squat, not at all. I have done quite a few of them myself. I also will say up front that I dont think an athletes choice of squatting style, low bar or high bar, will be the main determining factor of his success in any sport, even OL! I do think that there is a lot more to this "argument"... it is just not as simple as it is being made out to be.

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