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View Full Version : D. Coaching vid SS - LBBS vs HBBS


Brian Lawyer
02-14-2009, 02:13 PM
I finally got some squat video for Digital Coaching. This is our lunch break workout. The client we are working at has a little workout room with several contraptions, but among them was a squat rack which was all we needed.

I wore these nike pants with a white stripe down the side because I thought it would make my squat depth easier to judge on camera but it actually made it worse. The pants were really baggy so while the line at the crease of my hip is accurate the line around my knee is actually sagging way below the top of my knee cap. I am pretty sure these are legit squats though, not necessarily ATG, but the crease in my hip is below the top of my patella.

This is the end of about a one month strength cycle during which I used the Starting Strength Low bar back squat method. From here on out I am focusing on pure O'Lifting and will only be using HBBS. The third set below was my attempt at HBBS.

Set 1, 5 x 360lbs using Starting Strength Low bar technique
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9eX9yWxseo

Set 2, 5 x 360lbs using SS LBBS
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BmNGMIpE8ys

Set 3, 5 x 315lbs using High bar Positioning - These do not at all look like the pictures I have seen of HBBS on the CA WOD homepage. I'd appreciate any advice on these. Maybe it was just because I was doing them after the above LBBS that my body couldn't make the adjustment.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-gwTFo7Ax-A

Dave Van Skike
02-14-2009, 03:31 PM
honestly, the only visual difference is that you're clearly getting depth on the high bar and not the low bar..depth would be OK in some federations of PL but not the strict ones. If you are going to exploit low bar you need to get your feet wider...in fact I don't really think bar placement is that big of a deal until you figure out foot placement and hip drive.. do you box squat?

high bar looks more natural for you. I'd stick with that unless you want to compete in PL, or just work your feet out and don't worry about the bar for now.

Robert Callahan
02-14-2009, 03:46 PM
Strong effort. Stance for the Low bar definitely needs to be wider. Maybe an inch or two out for each foot. And the toes need to be pointed out more so you can really shove those knees out and get the adductors involved. Other than that though they look pretty solid.

Tell your spotter friend to get out of there though. If you fail you have the safety bars in the rack. The last thing you need on a heavy squat is some guys hands on you distracting you from driving the weight on your shoulders. And worse case scenario you come close to failing, he helps you, and then you never know if you could have done it yourself.

Donald Lee
02-14-2009, 04:44 PM
You definitely should go light for high bar squats until you get comfortable. If you want to exploit the full benefits of high bar squats for your Olympic lifting, you need to go ATG. Cheating in depth because the weight is too heavy will not be helpful for your OL.

Dave Van Skike
02-14-2009, 05:24 PM
I want to clarify my earlier statement and point out where I disagree with some other posts. I do think the last set of squats was deep enough.. and none of them were what I'd consider egregious or "cheating". all of these looked to be solid efforts near your 5RM and that's pretty good. There is a reason why you have 3 judges in competition..... everyone shaves depth at some point on a limit level squat.

ATG. ...I don't intend to be a prick but this "ATG" thing must die. "ass to ground" is only significant to anonymous youtube posters, BB.com regulars and the WOD mainpage comments..... there is pretty deep and deep enough to suit your purposes, you were not on target for the first, but maybe only a wee little dip away from the second.....if you are pushing your squat for it's own sake, there is much to be gained by not holding yourself to absolute squat perfection...perfect is the enemy of good...Frankly, I see some things in your squat that plague me, lack of hip flexibility to really open up on the low bar style is taking about 30-40 pounds away from you. . ...a little hip work and wider stance would benefit me as well.

As for spotting, if your spotter is experienced, a back spot is totally legit, especially at those weights which were challenging but not grinders by any stretch. I don't care what Rip says many many PL gyms have of people spotting thsi way. it's not ideal but it's better than no spotter. I spotted a guy this morning who was squatting to a box with 405 on the bar and 250 pounds of band tension. For him that's warm up weight but gives you a lot of confidence when someone has your back.

if you are good at bailing out of a squat forward, bumpers are nice and pins are better but I'd take a spotter over both any day of the week. A little motivation and being ready to take 5-50 pounds off the bar when needed is nice. Also, your spotter should be commended for his impeccable squat shoe style, squatting in loafers is sooo diesel

Donald Lee
02-14-2009, 06:07 PM
I want to clarify my earlier statement and point out where I disagree with some other posts. I do think the last set of squats was deep enough.. and none of them were what I'd consider egregious or "cheating". all of these looked to be solid efforts near your 5RM and that's pretty good. There is a reason why you have 3 judges in competition..... everyone shaves depth at some point on a limit level squat.

ATG. ...I don't intend to be a prick but this "ATG" thing must die. "ass to ground" is only significant to anonymous youtube posters, BB.com regulars and the WOD mainpage comments..... there is pretty deep and deep enough to suit your purposes, you were not on target for the first, but maybe only a wee little dip away from the second.....if you are pushing your squat for it's own sake, there is much to be gained by not holding yourself to absolute squat perfection...perfect is the enemy of good...Frankly, I see some things in your squat that plague me, lack of hip flexibility to really open up on the low bar style is taking about 30-40 pounds away from you. . ...a little hip work and wider stance would benefit me as well.

As for spotting, if your spotter is experienced, a back spot is totally legit, especially at those weights which were challenging but not grinders by any stretch. I don't care what Rip says many many PL gyms have of people spotting thsi way. it's not ideal but it's better than no spotter. I spotted a guy this morning who was squatting to a box with 405 on the bar and 250 pounds of band tension. For him that's warm up weight but gives you a lot of confidence when someone has your back.

if you are good at bailing out of a squat forward, bumpers are nice and pins are better but I'd take a spotter over both any day of the week. A little motivation and being ready to take 5-50 pounds off the bar when needed is nice. Also, your spotter should be commended for his impeccable squat shoe style, squatting in loafers is sooo diesel

For general strength development, there's no reason to have to go to full depth in the Olympic squat. I'm just assuming that Brian wants to use the squat as an assistance exercise for his OL.

George Mounce
02-14-2009, 06:21 PM
ATG. ...I don't intend to be a prick but this "ATG" thing must die. "ass to ground" is only significant to anonymous youtube posters, BB.com regulars and the WOD mainpage comments..... there is pretty deep and deep enough to suit your purposes, you were not on target for the first, but maybe only a wee little dip away from the second.....if you are pushing your squat for it's own sake, there is much to be gained by not holding yourself to absolute squat perfection...perfect is the enemy of good...Frankly, I see some things in your squat that plague me, lack of hip flexibility to really open up on the low bar style is taking about 30-40 pounds away from you. . ...a little hip work and wider stance would benefit me as well.

I agree 100% on a BS. I disagree 100% on a C&J or snatch.

Derek Maffett
02-14-2009, 06:29 PM
Biggest thing I'm seeing here is depth (HB, I think the others have commented on the LB enough). It's actually not just the fact that you don't have full butt-to-ankles depth here, but I believe I've been seeing the same thing in your other videos. You seem to be consistent about not hitting that position. I'm certainly not about to scoff at that kind of weight for the squats, but you need to reinforce the movement pattern of the full ROM squat for your weightlifting.

Like George implied though, I'm more concerned about carry-over into your regular lifting than a not-quite-full ROM HBBS with 315lbs.

Brian Lawyer
02-14-2009, 06:42 PM
This response is for my buddy Robert. See general response to all other contributors below this one. But I did have a little humor below regarding "spotting".

Strong effort. Stance for the Low bar definitely needs to be wider. Maybe an inch or two out for each foot. And the toes need to be pointed out more so you can really shove those knees out and get the adductors involved. Other than that though they look pretty solid.

Thanks for feedback Robert.

Only reason I wouldn't want to try a wider stance is because right now I only have two foot positions, pulling and recieving. Pulling = feet under hips, Recieving (squatting) = feet at shoulder width. I had a problem for the longest time of recieving the clean and snatch in too wide of a position so I definitly don't want to do anything to exagerate that problem.

That being said, next time I do SS LBBS I may play around with widening my stance. That could be a little while though because I am packing that particular style of squats away in my tool chest for a few months so I can strictly focus all my training around O'Lifting support.

Tell your spotter friend to get out of their though.
That is my buddy I was telling you about who I am trying to reverse his bodybuilding brainwashed mind. He comes from the kind of gym where they help each other out on the last rep and second to last rep on every exercise. You know, stand there and help each other curl and stuff. :)

Last time we worked out I had to tell him to sit on a bench like 10 feet away from me so he wouldn't touch me during squats. Personally, I am of the school of thought if a spotter places his hand on the bar it automatically doesn't count. He got pissed at me cause he was squatting and I didn't help him up with 185lbs. I just let him drop it on the pins. But he can bench a grip. Here he is benching 315lbs x 4 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ccqzs0jdsw&feature=channel_page.

Brian Lawyer
02-14-2009, 06:56 PM
I appreciate all the feedback!!

Regarding Depth: You guys are talking about depth quite a bit. I realize I am not getting the ATG squats but is there any question that those are legitimate squats?? As in, crease in hip drops to below parallel with top of Patella. That was all I was shooting for on LBBS. I am purely focused on STRENGTH for those sets.

I need you guys to keep me honest not just stroke my ego like my buddies I was working out with...hahaha...j/k Nate and Tony if you read this.

Regarding squat style I am going to try to get some footage of a pure HBBS workout this week. I think I can do better if I warmup and re-set my brain and nervous system to think HBBS. I think because I did that last set for video purposes after several warmup and work sets of SS LBBS, my brain couldn't make the adjustment to HBBS. That is why my butt was still going out backwards instead of sitting straight down.

For my HBBS from now on, I am definitly shooting for full ROM, ATG, sitting my butt on Ankles squats from now on. I'll cut the weight drastically if I have to. My only worry is I believe when I attempt to get real deep, I sometimes just let go of all tension in the bottom which wreaks havoc on my hip flexors. Which leads to my last question below.

Regarding Hip Flexors: Do any of you all see anything in there that would clue you in on why my hip flexors are constantly sore....I think they have been better over the last couple weeks. but they still get sore quite a bit even when my quads and everything else is recovered.

Derek Maffett
02-14-2009, 07:15 PM
The squats seemed legit enough to me. I'm just talking about getting used to butt-to-ankles and developing strength through the full ROM.

You definitely shouldn't be losing tension at the bottom of the squat. You should hit the bottom more or less softly and bounce right back up. Squatting in dive bomber mode is just going to get you hurt.

Brian Lawyer
02-14-2009, 07:28 PM
The squats seemed legit enough to me.
Thanks Derek. Did you get my edit above about not stroking my ego...haha. I think I was typing that as you were typing your response.

George Mounce
02-14-2009, 07:51 PM
I can tell you all the soreness I had left when I quit stopping short of full depth and learned to use the stretch reflex correctly.

Dave Van Skike
02-14-2009, 08:06 PM
I agree 100% on a BS. I disagree 100% on a C&J or snatch.

I don't have enough experience with olympic lifting to know whether it matters how deep you squat for that... a clean or a snatch is as deep as it need to be and a squat is as deep as it needs to be. I'm not terribly proficient in either but I remember them as distinctly different lifts.

Dave Van Skike
02-14-2009, 08:19 PM
Personally, I am of the school of thought if a spotter places his hand on the bar it automatically doesn't count. He got pissed at me cause he was squatting and I didn't help him up with 185lbs. I just let him drop it on the pins.

Doesn't count for what? Are you getting paid for your reps?

Of course there is a big difference between the bro culture of cheat curls and bounced bench presses and legit safe spotting but I can tell you if someone pulled a stunt like that in in my gym, whether it was a 185 pound squat or a 405 squat they would be removed...quickly, permanently and quite a bit worse for wear.

I take spotting kind of seriously. I can honestly say the BIGGEST change in my training in the last year came from getting with a group of people that can A) spot competently and safely B) know that it's worth pushing to technical failure.

glennpendlay
02-14-2009, 08:54 PM
Brian,

For what its worth, I thought those squats were pretty darn good. Yeah, if you were in the gym with me, I would be encouraging you to get a bit more depth, but I wouldnt be worried too much about it. I also think that your hip flexor pain might go away a bit if you learn to utilize the stretch reflex a little more in the bottom. But really, nice squats.

glenn

Brian Lawyer
02-15-2009, 09:30 AM
I also think that your hip flexor pain might go away a bit if you learn to utilize the stretch reflex a little more in the bottom. But really, nice squats.
Hey Glenn, What about the Shoes?? So any advice on utilizing the Stretch Reflex??

FWIW, I don't know if you have been following all the threads we have had going on this forum related to HBBS vs. LBBS, but I am changing over to HBBS from now on. I want to start getting in that nice deep upright torso position I always see pictures of on the CA WOD.

I take spotting kind of seriously.
If you are purely doing sets across of 5 reps and your spotter touches that bar then to me that is the equivalent of a missed rep. Just like if you missed a snatch or C&J.

I should have qualified my HSO on "spotting" by saying that spotting is definitly a must for bench. Also, if you are specifically doing a workout that requires a spotter. For example, you intend to complete 5 reps of Bench plus 2 assisted reps.

But as strong as my buddy Tony is, you really think he would have been much help getting 360lbs off of me if I blew out a knee or a quad or something.

Brian Lawyer
02-15-2009, 09:46 AM
To all contributors:
Robert and Dave both think I could go a little wider for the LBBS. I value Robert's opinion on LBBS because I know he has been to Rip's Seminar before and has been around Crossfit for a while.

My thoughts are this wider stance would be most beneficial with the LBBS and I should stick with my shoulder width stance for Olympic lifting purposes. On the other hand, should I try kicking out my stance a little bit on HBBS and Front squats to see if that helps my hip flexor problems.

Here are the relevant post:
Stance for the Low bar definitely needs to be wider.

...lack of hip flexibility to really open up on the low bar style is taking about 30-40 pounds away from you. . ...a little hip work and wider stance would benefit me as well.

Only reason I wouldn't want to try a wider stance is because right now I only have two foot positions, pulling and recieving. Pulling = feet under hips, Recieving (squatting) = feet at shoulder width. I had a problem for the longest time of recieving the clean and snatch in too wide of a position so I definitly don't want to do anything to exagerate that problem.
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Dave Van Skike
02-15-2009, 10:31 AM
i won't belabor the point..i'm not talking about "assisted reps" i don't know anyone who actually does that..having good spotter will allow you to push yourself in ways you won't without one. Yes, having someone there to take 25-50 pounds off if you're on the verge of getting stapled is a huge advantage.

Aaron Gainer
02-15-2009, 09:18 PM
Whatever your full depth is for a high bar squat with an empty bar, it should be duplicated on the heavier lifts. As long as your as low as your flexibility allows and not stopping short of rom, then its a legit squat!!!

Brian Lawyer
02-16-2009, 09:45 AM
RE: Stretch Reflex:
What should I feel for? Coaching cues? Reading materials? etc. I really want to start working deeper ROM but I don't want to "collapse" at the bottom and I want to learn how to utilize my "stretch reflex" better.

...You definitely shouldn't be losing tension at the bottom of the squat. You should hit the bottom more or less softly and bounce right back up. Squatting in dive bomber mode is just going to get you hurt.

...I also think that your hip flexor pain might go away a bit if you learn to utilize the stretch reflex a little more in the bottom...

Brian Lawyer
02-16-2009, 10:30 AM
... Also, your spotter should be commended for his impeccable squat shoe style, squatting in loafers is sooo diesel

Dave me and my workout friend at work, who was with filming during the above videos, were just reading over the thread and my friend pointed out that little nugget above. We were both ROLFLMAO. We recommended to Tony he ought to just lift in his loafers as they would provide better support than his Air Nike shoes, or whatever he had. He was a little paranoid that we would catch him on camera but I assured him no one would notice....

Derek Maffett
02-16-2009, 12:18 PM
RE: Stretch Reflex:
What should I feel for? Coaching cues? Reading materials? etc. I really want to start working deeper ROM but I don't want to "collapse" at the bottom and I want to learn how to utilize my "stretch reflex" better.

Main thing you're probably going to be worried about here is back arch. Losing it is pretty much equal to "collapse."

Think of it as a compression of power, almost pushing yourself into the floor and gathering up all the energy that you possibly can for a monumental and totally righteous standing action. Let your desire for great justice burn in your heart and the moment the deceitful barbell thinks it has won by pushing your thighs into your calves and burying you alive amongst the shrieks and agony of failure, show him the mighty strength of your spine which never fell to the assault. Organize every muscle in your body to follow the example of your spine and STAND! Defeat the weight! Do not allow your rear to sink back and towards the floor. Do not allow the charismatic leader of your muscular brigade to fall, letting the standard of your army, your own inspiring visage, to bow down and taste the cold, unforgiving dirt. Gather all your power and give hope to the poor people of this world. Chest held up high, you must turn the tables on your enemy and march forward (up in this case) no matter what.

Go forth! Conquer! Win.

So, was that inspiring or what? You're totally psyched now and have the right imagery to boot! So what are you waiting for? Go forth and show your awesomely magnificent devotion to Justice!

Brian Lawyer
02-16-2009, 12:40 PM
Main thing you're probably going to be worried about here is back arch. Losing it is pretty much equal to "collapse."
Losing my back arch is not so much a concern with me. Check out that activating TA thread I started. I have been more concerned lately with hyper-extension causing unnecessary soreness or tightness in my low back.

This quote below is great! I'll have to print and review before my next set of squats.

Think of it as a compression of power, almost pushing yourself into the floor and gathering up all the energy that you possibly can for a monumental and totally righteous standing action. Let your desire for great justice burn in your heart and the moment the deceitful barbell thinks it has won by pushing your thighs into your calves and burying you alive amongst the shrieks and agony of failure, show him the mighty strength of your spine which never fell to the assault. Organize every muscle in your body to follow the example of your spine and STAND! Defeat the weight! Do not allow your rear to sink back and towards the floor. Do not allow the charismatic leader of your muscular brigade to fall, letting the standard of your army, your own inspiring visage, to bow down and taste the cold, unforgiving dirt. Gather all your power and give hope to the poor people of this world. Chest held up high, you must turn the tables on your enemy and march forward (up in this case) no matter what.

Go forth! Conquer! Win.

So, was that inspiring or what? You're totally psyched now and have the right imagery to boot! So what are you waiting for? Go forth and show your awesomely magnificent devotion to Justice!

Brian Lawyer
02-18-2009, 12:37 PM
I just found a thread on rippatoe's Q&A on strengthmills regarding Hip flexor soreness. His response to the gentleman asking the question was that it is a form and technique problem for which the answer is on page 45 of his book, Starting Strength.

I am not sure if I buy into that answer. I have reviewed that page in his book several times which basically says there are two causes to hip flexor pain, (1) knees traveling too far forward (remember we are talking LBBS here not HBBS for which knees forward is acceptable) or (2) collapsing at the bottom.

From the tone of Rip's response, he seemed pretty confident those are the only two reasons anyone's hip flexors would ever be sore and if your hip flexors are sore you are a moron for doing squats wrong.....

I can tell you all the soreness I had left when I quit stopping short of full depth and learned to use the stretch reflex correctly.

,,,Do any of you all see anything in there that would clue you in on why my hip flexors are constantly sore....I think they have been better over the last couple weeks. but they still get sore quite a bit even when my quads and everything else is recovered.

Ben Fury
02-18-2009, 01:28 PM
Regarding Hip Flexors: Do any of you all see anything in there that would clue you in on why my hip flexors are constantly sore....I think they have been better over the last couple weeks. but they still get sore quite a bit even when my quads and everything else is recovered.

Are you stretching them?

If so, how? THAT'S the video I need to see. Not your squat.

If you're not stretching them, why not?

Brian Lawyer
02-18-2009, 02:27 PM
Are you stretching them?

If so, how? THAT'S the video I need to see. Not your squat.

If you're not stretching them, why not?

Ben, This problem also goes back to another thread in flexibility you and I have been discussing regarding AIS. Below is the answer to your above question. Tell me which of the below you would like to see video of and I will take one for you.

Warmup: Up until a couple weeks ago, I generally do an elaborate, approx 10 minute, warmup which incorporates various styles of lunges (i.e. lunges with twist, backward lunges, side lunges), various glute bridges (i.e. glute bridge single leg, or marching) some rotational work (lying supine with knee or leg rotating the lower half of torso from side to side), and so forth. I quit this a couple weeks ago because the STarting strength Routine I had been doing requires several Squat warmup sets starting from just the bar at 45lbs and working up to my work sets. As a result, I cut out my elaborate warmup routine and traded it for 5 minutes on the C2 rower.

During workout: Between sets of squats I usually do this one stretch where you are on one knee in a lunge position and lean torso forward to stretch hip flexor while keeping torso nice and tall. I never stretch and hold during a workout, but I do reps with about a 1- 2 second hold of about 5 reps on each leg.

After workout: Not necessarily immediately after a workout but on recovery days I do the static stretch and hold similar to the during workout stretch above except I'll put my foot on a bench so it hits my quads and hip flexors.

Ben Fury
02-18-2009, 02:33 PM
Tell me which of the below you would like to see video of and I will take one for you.

During workout: Between sets of squats I usually do this one stretch where you are on one knee in a lunge position and lean torso forward to stretch hip flexor while keeping torso nice and tall. I never stretch and hold during a workout, but I do reps with about a 1- 2 second hold of about 5 reps on each leg.

After workout: Not necessarily immediately after a workout but on recovery days I do the static stretch and hold similar to the during workout stretch above except I'll put my foot on a bench so it hits my quads and hip flexors.

Yeah, let's see those two, please!

George Mounce
02-18-2009, 06:04 PM
Ben, This problem also goes back to another thread in flexibility you and I have been discussing regarding AIS. Below is the answer to your above question. Tell me which of the below you would like to see video of and I will take one for you.

Warmup: Up until a couple weeks ago, I generally do an elaborate, approx 10 minute, warmup which incorporates various styles of lunges (i.e. lunges with twist, backward lunges, side lunges), various glute bridges (i.e. glute bridge single leg, or marching) some rotational work (lying supine with knee or leg rotating the lower half of torso from side to side), and so forth. I quit this a couple weeks ago because the STarting strength Routine I had been doing requires several Squat warmup sets starting from just the bar at 45lbs and working up to my work sets. As a result, I cut out my elaborate warmup routine and traded it for 5 minutes on the C2 rower.

During workout: Between sets of squats I usually do this one stretch where you are on one knee in a lunge position and lean torso forward to stretch hip flexor while keeping torso nice and tall. I never stretch and hold during a workout, but I do reps with about a 1- 2 second hold of about 5 reps on each leg.

After workout: Not necessarily immediately after a workout but on recovery days I do the static stretch and hold similar to the during workout stretch above except I'll put my foot on a bench so it hits my quads and hip flexors.

I like the rower (I do 2-3 minutes) but I also do a dynamic range of motion warm-up following that. You might want to add that to your warm-up.

Here is a vid: http://www.performancemenu.com/exercises/videos/dromsDemo.mov

Brian Lawyer
02-23-2009, 09:17 AM
Only reason I wouldn't want to try a wider stance is because right now I only have two foot positions, pulling and recieving. Pulling = feet under hips, Recieving (squatting) = feet at shoulder width. I had a problem for the longest time of recieving the clean and snatch in too wide of a position so I definitly don't want to do anything to exagerate that problem.


Robert, I discounted your advice real quick on widening my stance but after further analysis, I think I may be recieving the Clean, Snatch, and doing OH Squats with a slightly wider stance then how I am setting up for those Back Squats.....I haven't decided for sure yet.