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Exercises Movements, technique & proper execution

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Old 11-07-2008, 01:24 PM   #1
Brian Lawyer
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Various Squat Topics

First I was looking for a coaching cue to help me correct the problem out lined below. Second I was wondering if someone can explain the difference between an Olympic Lifting Back Squat versus a Starting Strength back squat.

My problem:
When doing heavy sets the weight starts to pitch forward over my toes. All my warmup sets feel great but once I get to my work sets (i.e. 4 and 5 reps) I notice this problem as I am coming up out of the bottom position. In other words, the weight shifts from heels/balls of my foot to toes. This is an exaggeration, but I almost feel like I end up doing a super heavy Good Morning to finish out the rep.

Last edited by Brian Lawyer : 11-07-2008 at 01:31 PM.
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Old 11-07-2008, 05:12 PM   #2
Scott Allen Hanson
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Re: Various Squat Topics

Brian,

For best results, try to post a vid to the Digital Coaching thread. It sounds like you may be struggling to lift your chest/torso with heavy weight from the bottom. Really try to focus on driving your hips up out of the hole first to maximize hamstring involvement. Yes, you'll feel bent over, but resist the temptation to lift your torso prematurely.

You might also try some assistance exercises like glute ham raises or reverse hypers to strengthen your lower back if you think this is the issue.

RE: Olympic vs SS back squat. In my understanding, its primarily about the position of the bar, low on ridge of scapulae for SS/Rippetoe, higher on shoulders for Oly. Bar position directly impacts the other mechanics. High bar requires a more upright torso to keep the weight centered over your frontal plane. This results in less involvement of the glutes and hamstrings and more work by the quads.
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Old 11-07-2008, 05:27 PM   #3
Brian Degenaro
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Re: Various Squat Topics

Ehh... rising out of the hole in an olympic squat is mostly all glute power. There is a huge de-emphasis on hamstring involvement in high bar squats, but the glute involvement stays the same. It might be even more because the hip is taken through a greater range of motion.
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Old 11-07-2008, 07:00 PM   #4
Derek Maffett
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Re: Various Squat Topics

Scott, I was actually getting the impression that his hips were shooting up too fast compared to the chest. Video would sort that all that out, though, so I second that idea.

High-bar involves the bar higher up on the shoulders and a mostly upright torso. Low-bar involves a bar position that is lower down on the shoulders, a more inclined torso, and particular emphasis on hip drive (though with the chest rising at about the same rate out of the hole). Low-bar will also be only below parallel, whereas high-bar is rear-to-ankles.
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Old 11-07-2008, 07:05 PM   #5
Donald Lee
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Re: Various Squat Topics

In addition to what everyone said, with the high-bar, your knees are free to travel forward. If you do a full squat, you go ATG. Otherwise, you go just below parallel. The glutes and quads are developed more than the hamstrings.
With the low-bar squat, the emphasis is on moving your hips back; hence, not as much forward knee travel.

If you read Rip's CrossFit Journal articles and Greg Everett's squatting article at Performance Menu, you should understand the differences.
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Old 11-07-2008, 07:09 PM   #6
George Noble
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Re: Various Squat Topics

If I'm not mistaken Rip also calls for a slightly wider stance than Oly squats (Rip's is ~heels shoulder width apart). This, combined with the knees out position stretches the adductors and allows them to function as a hip extensor.
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Old 11-07-2008, 07:11 PM   #7
Scott Allen Hanson
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Re: Various Squat Topics

Good point Derek. It also occurred to me that Brian could be losing lumbar and/or thoracic extension on the way up, which would be very bad. Video, Brian.

Brian G., thanks for the clarification on the high bar squat glute involvement.
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Old 11-07-2008, 08:01 PM   #8
Brian Lawyer
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Re: Various Squat Topics

Quote:
Originally Posted by Derek Maffett View Post
Scott, I was actually getting the impression that his hips were shooting up too fast compared to the chest. Video would sort that all that out, though, so I second that idea.
Yes, Someday I will have a sweet gym set up in the garage with a digital video camera. In the mean time I go to the local health club which I am sure doesn't allow video cameras. Even if they did, I think our video camera is from the early 90s so it would be some science project to get that video on the internet.

Here's the dilema I can go lighter, which for me is around sets of 5x275 or 5x295, and my form feels great. The problem is I don't think I am challenging my body enough at these weigts. So in order to make any progress I have to stack on 315 or more but then I feel like I compromise my form.

Derek, I was thinking what you said. I think I need to work on making sure my chest is rising at the same pace as my hips. I think the hips are getting up faster than my chest which is causing the weight to go forward.

I've been going to an O'Lifting coach to work on Snatches and C&J's. I had him check out my squat form and he gave me the thumbs up but I haven't had him watch me go really heavy on a 5 rep max lift. I will probably have to do that. I also want to be sure I am going deep enough on the heavy lifts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by George Noble View Post
If I'm not mistaken Rip also calls for a slightly wider stance than Oly squats (Rip's is ~heels shoulder width apart). This, combined with the knees out position stretches the adductors and allows them to function as a hip extensor.
George,I think it is the opposite. You are right that Rip calls for a shoulder width stance but I think Olympic lifters are about wider stances. I could be wrong.
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Old 11-07-2008, 10:02 PM   #9
Derek Maffett
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Re: Various Squat Topics

Olympic squats tend to be narrow stance, though exact width varies between athletes. Too wide and the knees start to torque at the bottom of the squat.

The weightlifting coach should probably be able to help you out, even if low-bar squats aren't really used for Olympic weightlifting. Professional coaches are always a better deal than the Digital Coaching section anyways.

I get the impression that I may have had a similar problem once, but I didn't use low-bar for very long (which also means I had little time to get my form down).

Last edited by Derek Maffett : 11-07-2008 at 10:04 PM.
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Old 11-08-2008, 08:08 PM   #10
Brian Lawyer
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Re: Various Squat Topics

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Originally Posted by Scott Allen Hanson View Post
Good point Derek. It also occurred to me that Brian could be losing lumbar and/or thoracic extension on the way up, which would be very bad. Video, Brian.

Brian G., thanks for the clarification on the high bar squat glute involvement.
No my lumbar and thoracic curve is fine. I wouldn't be popping off reps with 315+ lbs if it wasn't. I'd be screwed if I lost lumbar curve with that much weight on my back. Take a look at my avatar. That is basically what I look like when the bar is on my back. I also finally got my breathing down as well. I was having trouble with the valsalva maneuver (i.e. holding deep breath throughout the lift). Mainly due to the deeply imbedded habit of breathing out when pushing the weight up. Something I had been taught since the 8th grade.

I am going to catch a power lifting class at one of my local crossfit affiliates in the morning. I'll tell the coach my problem and have him analyze it. I'll report my findings back to you guys.

Last edited by Brian Lawyer : 11-08-2008 at 08:11 PM.
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