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Old 09-23-2008, 11:57 AM   #1
Dave Van Skike
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Default Getting a Big Rack?

Looking for guidance on improving the front squat rack. I've been working my front squat fairly consitently for a couple three weeks in hopes of driving it towards an interim goal of a 405 single. I'm able to pretty much double my old max (335) but as soon as I push a little past it (340) I lose the rack at the bottom.

I've tried some work in the power rack with walk outs up to 455 but last week had a minor blackout at only 425. I've also tried more rows and chins, in fact the net effect of all the fornt squat work over the last month is that my strict pullup numbers are at an all time high for my BW, but my Front Squat is flat.

Any suggestions? Keep in mind I'm not an Oly lifter and the front squat is one of the main movements I'm trying to drive up for strongman, so suggestiosn like "do more front squats" while slightly applicable are not super useful.
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Old 09-23-2008, 12:32 PM   #2
Arden Cogar Jr.
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First off - awesome title to the thread. Had me going.

Second, to work on the rack, I prefer to do rack work from a dead stop.

I learned my groove on the rack for a front squat by doing 585+ setting the pins a little below the chest.

Sounds to me like you're losing it at the bottom. I think you need to do some dead stops out of the rack from the bottom position.

You've got tons of leg power, so that's not the issue. The issue is keeping your elbows high and your torso upright near the bottom.

Therefore, work that range from a dead stop and you'll get it.

Remember two things when you're coming out of the hole -
1) up with the elbows first - drive up with your elbows
2) head up proud.

That's what I remind myself of when I'm in the hole with a heavy weight.

Good luck and go heavy.

All the best,
ARden
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Old 09-23-2008, 12:47 PM   #3
Dave Van Skike
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arden Cogar Jr. View Post
First off - awesome title to the thread. Had me going.

Second, to work on the rack, I prefer to do rack work from a dead stop.

I learned my groove on the rack for a front squat by doing 585+ setting the pins a little below the chest.

Sounds to me like you're losing it at the bottom. I think you need to do some dead stops out of the rack from the bottom position.

You've got tons of leg power, so that's not the issue. The issue is keeping your elbows high and your torso upright near the bottom.

Therefore, work that range from a dead stop and you'll get it.

Remember two things when you're coming out of the hole -
1) up with the elbows first - drive up with your elbows
2) head up proud.

That's what I remind myself of when I'm in the hole with a heavy weight.

Good luck and go heavy.

All the best,
ARden
Awesome. That's perfect, I was thinking completely in terms of holding the weigth up, not where the weight was the hardest. Bingo! Don't tell anyone...westside is a dirty word at my gym but I've been toying with DE squats once a week..Maybe I'll alternate SSB low box squats with deadstop front squats and see where that takes me.
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Old 09-23-2008, 01:34 PM   #4
Mike ODonnell
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Damnit.....I was sold on the title.....and so not what I thought.....shessssh.
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Old 09-23-2008, 01:42 PM   #5
Arden Cogar Jr.
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Originally Posted by Dave Van Skike View Post
Awesome. That's perfect, I was thinking completely in terms of holding the weigth up, not where the weight was the hardest. Bingo! Don't tell anyone...westside is a dirty word at my gym but I've been toying with DE squats once a week..Maybe I'll alternate SSB low box squats with deadstop front squats and see where that takes me.

glad I could help. good idea on the low box squats. I think that will help a lot too. Have fun.

All the best,
Arden
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Old 09-23-2008, 11:01 PM   #6
Gavin Harrison
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Dave,

A thread over at CF recently where Glenn Pendlay suggested that doing a lot of powerlifter style squats (targeting and obtaining a dominant posterior chain), might hurt front squats, since as weight gets heavy the body will probably put itself into its strongest position naturally, which, if you have a dominant PC will be leaning forward a lot... causing you to drop the bar.
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Old 09-24-2008, 06:11 AM   #7
Allen Yeh
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585...Holy......
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Old 09-24-2008, 11:59 AM   #8
Dave Van Skike
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Dave,

A thread over at CF recently where Glenn Pendlay suggested that doing a lot of powerlifter style squats (targeting and obtaining a dominant posterior chain), might hurt front squats, since as weight gets heavy the body will probably put itself into its strongest position naturally, which, if you have a dominant PC will be leaning forward a lot... causing you to drop the bar.

Sounds reasonable...but what a non-Oly lifter to do? not back squat? Oly back squats don't drive any of the lifts I do better than front squats and Back Squats drive almost everything else. I'm squarely in the Rippatoe camp...squat in a way that allows the highest load over the full range of motion. I know Oly lifters do it differntly and that makes sense for them..for me the PL style squat flat out works. The only thing I'd consider replacing it with is zerchers which I do with even wider PC dominant stance than a PL style squat.
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Old 09-25-2008, 11:54 AM   #9
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Like Arden said, it's not an issue of leg strength for you (presumably, although it may be that you're not as solid in such a quad-dominant position), it's torso stability, and maybe the actual rack position. How solid is the bar on your shoulders? Can you remove your hands without the bar from sliding at all?

Are you really sitting into the squat at the bottom, or are you trying to FS with your ass back like you would in a BS? Does your torso bend forward at the bottom, do you elbows drop, both?

If you can get some video, or even photos, it would be a big help figuring out exactly what the problem is.
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Old 09-25-2008, 12:57 PM   #10
Dave Van Skike
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Like Arden said, it's not an issue of leg strength for you (presumably, although it may be that you're not as solid in such a quad-dominant position), it's torso stability, and maybe the actual rack position. How solid is the bar on your shoulders? Can you remove your hands without the bar from sliding at all?

Are you really sitting into the squat at the bottom, or are you trying to FS with your ass back like you would in a BS? Does your torso bend forward at the bottom, do you elbows drop, both?

If you can get some video, or even photos, it would be a big help figuring out exactly what the problem is.

The rack position is feels fairly solid but I'll bet I can't take my hands off the bar at anything over 90% plus. So i'm really not staying totally upright, my elbows are staying high but the torso I think is what's caving. It really feelsl liek its tought to keep the bar racked and elevated at heavy weights. I've choked myself out a couple times doing rack work.

I probably am sitting back a little much becuase is notice that when I think to widen my stance I do a lot better. I't seems like it's primarily a torso drop issue, right about mid back is where it breaks forward. Same place I break on heavy zerchers, at 405 I'm pretty upright, as soon as I hit 425, the hips take over adn it's a fight to stay upright.

The thing that's weird is that I only feel it at 90% plus, I never even notice it at lower %.

Thanks. I'll try to run a vid or pics next f.squat day.
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