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Old 10-26-2009, 08:34 PM   #1
Sam Padula
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Low bar back squat

Here are a couple clips from tonight's Starting Strength session. The camera phone wouldn't record more than about 16-20 seconds so there are only a couple reps from each set. Self critique: back gets a little horizontal at times (due to hips rising first from the bottom), head could be looking down a bit more, and the reps on the second video appear an inch or two high but the second rep of the first video shows good enough depth (I think) so if all reps were at that depth, then nothing to worry about. Maybe not though, its just hard to tell from the video. Weight was 215 lbs. at a bodyweight of around 150.

First two reps of second set of 5 at 215 lbs.:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M7xX-m6BWtI WFS

First three reps of third set of 5 at 215 lbs.:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zKTYFud6WxE WFS

I actually failed the next rep on that third set because I was too loose and fast on the way down and hit the safety pin with the bar, so I just set it down rather than risk injury. Any comments and tips are appreciated.
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Old 10-26-2009, 09:39 PM   #2
Robert Callahan
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Re: Low bar back squat

its a little hard to tell, but in the second video your stance looks just a tad wide, narrowing it up just a little may help.

also you are letting your chest cave just a little too much, focus on keep your chest up on the way down.

Honestly I think the biggest problem I see is that you only weight 150lbs. Eat more and gain 40lbs and you will find lifting 315 is just around the corner
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Old 10-26-2009, 09:54 PM   #3
Sam Padula
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Re: Low bar back squat

Yeah the stance may be a little wide, I'll try narrowing it up a bit next time. And the chest caving is definitely a problem, guess its time to tighten things up a bit more and maybe take Rip's advice for those who shoot their hips first, actually think about leading with the chest in order to counteract the extreme angle and even it out to a good hip drive. I'm always afraid I'll be too vertical with my back angle and won't be able to get good hip drive, but I think I've overcorrected for that problem and will need to exaggerate the chest up cue.

And since I've gotten back to college I'm doing work on my meal plan and I'm up around 15 pounds in the last two months from around 135-ish. My work sets for squats have gone from 155x5x3 to (almost) 215x5x3 today. Haha 190 would be somethin' else, but I'm definitely looking for more weight. Thanks for the help!
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Old 10-28-2009, 05:30 PM   #4
Robert Callahan
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Re: Low bar back squat

out of curiosity, how tall are you?
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Old 10-28-2009, 06:13 PM   #5
Sam Padula
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Re: Low bar back squat

About 5'8 or 5'9, 19 years old. Thinking about goal bodyweights for my height?
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Old 10-28-2009, 06:36 PM   #6
Oliver Gould
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Re: Low bar back squat

Your torso needs to be tighter. Take a big breath, hold your chest open actively and brace your abs/lower back hard. It will help.
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Old 10-28-2009, 07:26 PM   #7
Sam Padula
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Re: Low bar back squat

Good cues, ever since the weight on the bar got past about 200 lbs. I have really been forced to figure out the breathing aspect of the squat (just received the Starting Strength book in the mail today). Here are the mental cues I use before I begin each descent: big breath and squeeze, force elbows up and try to think about touching the tips of my elbows together behind me (same as opening the chest?), then send the hips back and squat. What do you think? I will think about bracing my abs more, and honestly I feel like if I just force myself to stay more vertical than I think I need to be throughout the whole movement, it will get me to a more desirable back angle.

If I may do a little self criticism, part of this is what I've suspected to be avoidance of my weak anterior chain. By leaning forward more, my knees don't have to go as far forward as they should in a correct squat. By not moving my knees as far forward, I think I am putting less emphasis on my anterior chain and quads, and even more emphasis on the PC, especially the back as you can see from my videos above. For reference, my front squat is only about 150 lbs. for sets of 5, whereas I'm doing 215 for back squats. My best deadlift about a month ago was 300 lbs., so I feel like my anterior chain needs to catch up and I need to achieve more balance and all my movements will improve. Hence, I have officially "f***ed with the program" and put three sets of five front squats on Wednesdays in the place of back squats. After barely getting 200 for two ugly sets of 5 before adding the front squats, I have broken through a little bit and gotten to 215 as seen above, so I feel like its helping. Slower progress (only 10 pounds per week instead of three 5-pound jumps), sure, but I feel the need to become more balanced. Any thoughts? Am I overthinking things? Thanks again for all the feedback.
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Old 10-29-2009, 11:27 AM   #8
Ben Sparks
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Re: Low bar back squat

Once I got my legs figured out, 2 simultaneous cues really helped me convert to a low-bar from a high bar.

As soon as you start up out of the hole, tell yourself to both lift the weight with the back of the waistband of your shorts and to cram your neck into the bar. That should engage the PC while also straightening and tightening the torso.
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Old 10-29-2009, 01:43 PM   #9
Sam Padula
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Re: Low bar back squat

Cram the neck into the bar. I like that. I will definitely try that when I hit my squats tomorrow, along with the hip drive cue with lifting the weight by your waistband. Great cues, thanks a lot and I'll post tomorrow after I try 'em.
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