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Exercises Movements, technique & proper execution

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Old 07-13-2009, 09:25 AM   #1
Steven Webster
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front squat: no more passing out for me! FYI

Just over a year ago I started training front squats seriously. As the weights got heavier I started to feel light headed and seeing stars. On some attempts I would pass out during the repetition come around at the top then go for others, at which point I experienced the sensation of weightlessness. One day I attempted a heavy set and on the first rep I passed out and as I came around realized I had over 100kgs on my shoulders and it was rolling off. The weight clattered to the pins, I tried walking back but couldn't feel my legs and toppled over. This really knocked my confidence.

I posted a thread shortly afterwards on a site where people are really experienced front squatters. The conclusion was that I was holding the bar too close to my neck cutting off the air supply. Also breathing against a closed airway can result in loss of blood pressure. Hydration was also brought up, but this did not fix the problem.

At some point I worked out what was happening even though I still don't fully understand it. My flexibility not good enough to front squat. Not only was I coming onto my toes, which is definitely bad for the knees, but my spine was bending forward with heavy weights and the pressure on it was leading to loss of consciousness.

After working on my flexibility and really keeping perfect form I can finally squat right down without forward lean and keeping the weight on my heels. My squat is on the rebound and I'm no longer afraid to lose consciousness during the set.

It's really a mystery that this isn't more common- maybe I'm the only one, and I hope it doesn't happen to anyone else.
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Old 07-13-2009, 01:57 PM   #2
Robert Callahan
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Re: front squat: no more passing out for me! FYI

Most likely you were not cutting off your air way, a good squat has you not breathing already.

What you were actually doing was pressing the bar against your neck pinching your carotid artery. This cuts off blood flow to your brain and can result in lightheadedness as well as fainting.

In fact this does happen to Olympic weightlifters on occasion, and I have seen it happen in person. A lifter will clean a weight and receive it slightly too high on the shoulders and as they stand up and lift their elbows the weight gets pushed against their neck. They usually stand up, start to get set for their Jerk and then just go limp and fall over backwards. It is at times like this that you are thankful for bumpers, because that is the only thing that prevents the weight from crushing the athlete.

This is why if after the clean you feel lightheaded you ditch the weight... immediately.
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Old 07-13-2009, 03:53 PM   #3
Thomas Green
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Re: front squat: no more passing out for me! FYI

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Originally Posted by Robert Callahan View Post

In fact this does happen to Olympic weightlifters on occasion, and I have seen it happen in person. .
I saw this happen at a meet once, before I knew that it was fairly common. One of the scariest moments of my lift, I thought the girl had a heart attack or something.
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Old 07-13-2009, 11:20 PM   #4
Steven Webster
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Re: front squat: no more passing out for me! FYI

Didn't Aimee Ananya smash up her spine a while back and get into hula hooping or was that video 'rebuilding Aimee' a silly joke?
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Old 07-13-2009, 11:51 PM   #5
Robert Callahan
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Re: front squat: no more passing out for me! FYI

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Originally Posted by Steven Webster View Post
Didn't Aimee Ananya smash up her spine a while back and get into hula hooping or was that video 'rebuilding Aimee' a silly joke?
lol, it says you are in the UK aren't you guys all about tong and cheek humor over there??




ps it was a silly joke well the hula hooping was, she did have stress fractures in her spine that she is just now getting fully back from i believe...
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Old 07-14-2009, 04:24 AM   #6
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Re: front squat: no more passing out for me! FYI

Ok, well, I knew some of it was funny; it was a bit stealthy.

So, if the spine bends quite a lot it can't make a person unconscious? There must be an answer to this. Maybe a few factors come into play.
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Old 07-14-2009, 08:28 AM   #7
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Re: front squat: no more passing out for me! FYI

That sounds a little strange to me! I always thought it happened because the bar was putting pressure on the arteries in the neck.
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Old 07-14-2009, 03:24 PM   #8
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Re: front squat: no more passing out for me! FYI

maybe post some video of you squatting before when you would feel faint and then now with the form you use not feeling faint?
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Old 07-14-2009, 11:19 PM   #9
Steven Webster
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Re: front squat: no more passing out for me! FYI

Isn't this a bit like asking me to fall off my bike after I've just learned, or drinking a bottle of vodka after I've been clean for 6 months? I would also have to work hard to reduce my hard earned flexibility.

Well lets see about getting some footage. I'm going to try get some up fairly soon. Hopefully my techy friend can help me out on that score.
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Old 07-15-2009, 09:48 AM   #10
Robert Callahan
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Re: front squat: no more passing out for me! FYI

I didn't mean to purposefully squat with bad form again. I meant that you should check and see if you have any old video of yourself BEFORE you fixed your form.
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