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Old 11-26-2008, 05:43 PM   #1
Stephen Flamm
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SS Squat

I would appreciate feedback on the following work set, done at 222 lbs.:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1F-P4Azn7pI (wfs)

I noticed a few things that need to be addressed right away, but I'm curious to find read what others have to say. I am one month into SS, which I began immediately after attending Rip's cert. I have yet to miss a rep, though I can tell I am getting close. My squat has always been very weak relative to my DL, and even more so when compared to my presses. Form has always been an issue.

Specifically, at 6', 200 lbs. (up from 194 at the start), my most recent work sets have been performed at:
BS: 222
DL: 335
PC: 170
BP: 242
SP: 150

Thanks again for all of the feedback.
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Old 11-26-2008, 10:04 PM   #2
Michael Francis Romano
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Re: SS Squat

looks good to me actually. Watch the back rounding, though, it looked like it was getting pretty substantial by the end of the set. Try and upload a video from the front though if you are really concerned about your form: we might be able to tell a bit more that way. Good luck with the workouts man.
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Old 11-27-2008, 08:47 AM   #3
Andrew Kent Johnston
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Re: SS Squat

Did you know that you can post your videos on Rip's forum and he'll critique them for you? However, in your case I can tell you for sure what he'll say: your knees are going forward at the bottom, which means your posterior chain is loosening, which is bad. By the looks of it this is because you are not pushing your knees out. Push your knees out as hard as you can (it will feel weird at first) and this should fix it and give you better hip drive out of the hole).
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Old 11-27-2008, 08:50 AM   #4
Andrew Kent Johnston
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Re: SS Squat

And actually I think your lower lumbar extension is fine. Crossfitters seem to be obsessed with lumbar extension, to the point of overextension.
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Old 11-27-2008, 08:04 PM   #5
Stephen Flamm
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Re: SS Squat

Yeah, I've worked on the lumbar extension and I'm pleased with where I am now. The knees forward was indeed the major issue I noticed, causing forward movement of the bar as I come out of the hole. These squats are heavy - PRs - and I've only noticed this problem with true PRs (form is solid up to about 205 now). I'm going to see how 225 goes tomorrow with renewed focus on the knees-out and then consider a reset.

Thanks for your input. Any other glaring faults?
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Old 11-27-2008, 08:43 PM   #6
Robert Callahan
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Re: SS Squat

The knee movement did not look too bad to me, there will be a little movement with heavy weight. After watching the video a few times I think you may be leaning over too much which is leading to the loss of lumbar stability. You need to take a deep breath and puff your chest out before you squat and keep it puffed up the whole time. You also need to work on keeping an "active hip" It is kind of hard to describe over the internet, but if you have the CF journal Rip just put an article about it out and you will probably get more out of reading that than anything I could say. Good luck, keep lifting heavy

-Robert
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Old 11-27-2008, 09:23 PM   #7
Stephen Flamm
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Re: SS Squat

Robert,

Thanks, I just read Rip's new journal article - another insightful look at an aspect of the squat. It makes sense, and applying it to an airsquat felt right, and had the side effect of jamming the knees out without much thought. We'll see how that mental cue, along with a deeper held breath, goes tomorrow. I'll report back...

Last edited by Stephen Flamm : 11-27-2008 at 09:28 PM.
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Old 11-29-2008, 05:42 PM   #8
Andrew Kent Johnston
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Re: SS Squat

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Originally Posted by Robert Callahan View Post
The knee movement did not look too bad to me, there will be a little movement with heavy weight. After watching the video a few times I think you may be leaning over too much which is leading to the loss of lumbar stability. You need to take a deep breath and puff your chest out before you squat and keep it puffed up the whole time. You also need to work on keeping an "active hip" It is kind of hard to describe over the internet, but if you have the CF journal Rip just put an article about it out and you will probably get more out of reading that than anything I could say. Good luck, keep lifting heavy

-Robert
The knees forward was actually quite significant, and will be a problem as it results in slack hamstrings. I used to have the same problem and when I got it fixed my squat improved quite dramatically, as for being bent over, that usually results from having a relatively long limb to torso ratio, which I have, and I think you have. I was told by Rip on my squat video to lean over even farther than you are, as it facilitates hip drive and keeps tension in the pos-chain. In fact I have seen Rip tell many people to lean over further, but I don't know if I've ever heard him someone to lean back. If your feet and knees are in the position prescribed, and your weight is over the centre of your feet, than whatever angle your back is at will be correct. My wife, who is built like a T-Rex (long torso, short limbs) has an almost vertical spine when she squats. I am the opposite and am bent right over, because of my anthropometry. As a result I am a very good deadlifter while my squats are significantly lighter (1RM squat 150kg, 1RM DL 230kg).

By the way, the knees out problem will happen (as Robert quite rightly points out) at a heavier weight until your adductors strengthen. The reason they come on the heavy weight is because of weakness in the adductors which can't support the weight, contrary to popular misconception, it is NOT the result of weak ABductors. That is why you can keep the knees apart at lighter weights but not at heavy ones.

Once you nail the knees forward problem you will find you have reached squat Nirvana - my squats took off, and even at 1RMs now my knees don't budge, which allows complete efficiency in hip drive.

I don't mean to be argumentative, but knees forward is the cardinal sin of squatting and must not be tolerated.
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Old 11-29-2008, 07:30 PM   #9
Stephen Flamm
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Re: SS Squat

Robert and Andrew,

I went ahead with my work sets at 225 on Friday, completed all of my reps, and though I don't have video, the squats felt the same. I focused on cramming the knees out with varying success once things got heavy. After this session and re-watching the above video (and a few others I have), I've noted a few things...

1. I'm pretty happy with the back angle, for two reasons; first, I do have a relatively short torso, and second, Rip personally worked with me at the cert until I could squat with this angle consistently. I will say, however, that I'm continuing to work and concentrate on maintaining extension throughout the squat b/c I do occasionally feel a very slight collapse which sometimes might appear as a more angled back.

2. There is a definite and obvious correlation between the concept of active hips, knees out, and a reduction of forward knee drift at the bottom. Definite and obvious.

Now I'm just wondering if it would be best to continue with linear progression while simultaneously trying to fix the knees and adductor strength, or if I should reset now to a weight at which the form is perfect (around 210) and work back up. Any thoughts or experiences are welcome...

p.s. - I didn't submit the video to Rip's forum b/c I thought the main problem was too obvious, and Rip's a busy man.
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Old 11-29-2008, 08:04 PM   #10
Robert Callahan
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Re: SS Squat

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Originally Posted by Stephen Flamm View Post
Now I'm just wondering if it would be best to continue with linear progression while simultaneously trying to fix the knees and adductor strength, or if I should reset now to a weight at which the form is perfect (around 210) and work back up. Any thoughts or experiences are welcome...
Meh, if you are still finishing sets and had Rip work with you on form, I would just keep adding weight as long as your making progress.
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