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Old 03-11-2009, 01:09 PM   #1
Stacey Greenway
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Angry squat woes

First of all, thanks for the great book, Coach Everett: once Iíve gotten generally stronger on all the basic lifts, I fully expect to transition into more Olympic lifting.
Iíve been talking to Glenn about some squat form issues, and he recommended that I post here, as you all are broadly knowledgeable and well experienced. Iím posterior-chain dominant as hell, which causes me to goodmorning the squat out of the hole (Ripís low-bar squat). Having backed the weight down considerably, I was able to improve my form so that I was no longer shooting my hips as much. Nevertheless, now that I've approached 200 lbs. again I've started shooting my hips once more. This happens every time I approach 200 lbs (consequently, as my deadlift has gotten closer to 300 lbs., I've also began to shoot my hips on the last couple of reps of my worksets).

http://www.vimeo.com/2889068 (me nearing 200 lbs.)

I am absolutely trying like hell to squeeze my chest up and keep from doing a goodmorning, but it isn't working. I've followed Rip's Starting Strength program to the letter, but this just keeps happening. At this point (and although Rip would probably beat me for it), I'm thinking that some more direct quad work would help immensely. In case it will help you to make a recommendation, I should tell you that I spent a lot of time crouched in what martial arts practitioners call the "horse" stance (feet wide, toes turned out to fourty-five degrees, hips set down and back) for the six years that I studied karate. I would consider myself, beyond a shadow of a doubt, immensely posterior-chain dominant. Also, I don't know if this might affect my low-bar squat or not, but my legs are abnormally long relative to my torso, so much so that I've had to resort to sumo deadlifting per Rip's recommendation.

I told Glenn that I was thinking of doing high-bar squats in place of the low-bar because theyíre considered sort of a "middle" between the low-bar and front squat varieties, so that while allowing me to handle more weight than the front squat, it should still get me more into my quads than the low-bar squat. Glenn in turn said that I should introduce front squats into my routine, as they will force me to use my quads, or else Iíll dump the bar.

So what Iíve done is this: more or less continued doing the Starting Strength program, but started alternating high-bar back squats and front squats on an A/B schedule; Iíve reduced the weight on the back squats to one that allows me to do ďperfectĒ form, but my main focus has become adding weight to the front squats every time that I do them.

What do you all think of this approach? Thanks in advance,
Stacey

Last edited by Stacey Greenway : 03-11-2009 at 01:14 PM. Reason: including video link
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Old 03-11-2009, 01:25 PM   #2
Brian Lawyer
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stacey Greenway View Post
So what Iíve done is this: more or less continued doing the Starting Strength program, but started alternating high-bar back squats and front squats on an A/B schedule; Iíve reduced the weight on the back squats to one that allows me to do ďperfectĒ form, but my main focus has become adding weight to the front squats every time that I do them.
I like this idea. That is kind of how I have been training. I am currently on a split schedule like this.

day 1: Snatches and CJ's
Day 2: strength
Days 3 and 4: rest
Day 6: Snatches and CJ's
Day 7; Strength

My strength days always start with either a Front squat or a back squat. Then I'll do something overhead (i.e. push press, various jerks, snatch push presses). Finally, I will finish up with some sort of pull .
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Old 03-11-2009, 01:36 PM   #3
Robert Callahan
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Stacey in that video do you have the bar in high or low bar position? It appears like it is low bar and if this is the case your form looks fine. A low bar position will require a further inclined torso to keep the barbell over your center of gravity (mid-foot). This in turn stretches the hamstrings out and allows more posterior chain involvement. You can try and force a low bar back squat to look like a high bar back squat, but you will only be able to accomplish this at light weights as at heavy weights you will either fail, or uncontrollably go back to good low bar back squat form.

Lets see some video of your high bar back squats, or front squats. If your hip drive is occurring in these two exercises, then you need to do some fixing, otherwise though I don't see the problem.
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Old 03-11-2009, 01:44 PM   #4
Dave Van Skike
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Stacey, I think those squats look very legit, the hip shooting is not excessive adn that's not as big a GM as it may feel like. I'm not an Oly lifter but I'd say find a squat stance and style that works for your body and your goals and just run with it. For people with long legs, a wider stance usually helps regardless of bar position. This has certainly been the case with me and a medium width stance with medium low bar is what I can make work. Front squats can be really hard for people with long femurs but they also work all the things that need working so Your idea of alternating makes a lot of sense to me.

If Low bar is working for you, I think you'd do fine to just keep working them use front squats and box squats to move things along.
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Old 03-13-2009, 09:01 AM   #5
Stacey Greenway
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Post squat woe addendum

Thanks for the responses, everyone.

Robert, that's a low-bar squat you see in the video, and while I understand that this requires a more dramatic inclination of back angle, my concern is with what's happening on the way up: hips shooting, which means that the knees extend, but the bar doesn't really travel up all that much, and then the back, glutes and hams have to finish the job all by themselves.

David, the shooting of the hips isn't the worst I've seen either, but the problem gets more pronounced at even higher weights, and what's probably more important is that, because I'm steepening my back angle, increased torque is being applied to the low back, so that after a while of squatting this way, the low back starts to become REALLY sore and tender and starts to sort of get a pulled, overstretched feeling (not good).

I'm going to do high-bar squat again today, so I'll get some videos of them posted, plus some of my most recent front squats for you all to look at.

Thanks again.
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Old 03-13-2009, 01:04 PM   #6
Robert Callahan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stacey Greenway View Post
Robert, that's a low-bar squat you see in the video, and while I understand that this requires a more dramatic inclination of back angle, my concern is with what's happening on the way up: hips shooting, which means that the knees extend, but the bar doesn't really travel up all that much, and then the back, glutes and hams have to finish the job all by themselves.
The reason your hips are shooting up though is because you are trying to keep a much to vertical back angle. This is putting the bar slightly behind your balance point (mid foot) and so when you start to stand back up your body is forcing you into the correct balanced position in order to finish the move. If you set a low-bar back squat with significant weight with too vertical a back angle you will always either a) have your hips shoot up to bring the bar forward or b) fail the rep.

You cannot expect a low-bar back squat to look like a high bar back squat. They each have unique form and therefore a unique look and trying to turn one into the other will only cause problems.

This is why I recommended getting some footage of front squats and high bar back squats. Your hips shooting up in either of these two lifts would indicate a problem but in the video you posted it was just your body correcting a mechanical error you tried to create (too vertical back angle).

Hope that makes sense
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Old 03-13-2009, 01:15 PM   #7
Dave Van Skike
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stacey Greenway View Post
David, the shooting of the hips isn't the worst I've seen either, but the problem gets more pronounced at even higher weights, and what's probably more important is that, because I'm steepening my back angle, increased torque is being applied to the low back, so that after a while of squatting this way, the low back starts to become REALLY sore and tender and starts to sort of get a pulled, overstretched feeling (not good).
this just sounds to me like you're working hard, and may be on a bit of a plateau progress wise.. If you can fix it by squatting a different way while still making meaningful progress that's a smart call.
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Old 03-15-2009, 12:21 PM   #8
Stacey Greenway
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Post vids for comparison

Okay, a bit of follow-up:

I'm posting three vids, the first is a set of high-bar squats done at a "comfortable" weight, and these are probably the best I've been able to do, form-wise, having managed to eliminate most of the hip shooting artifact from my form:

http://www.vimeo.com/3645545
*vimeo keeps acting stupid, saying that this video is temporarily unavailable, so this link may or may not work for you at certain times and I may have to upload it elsewhere*

The next videos are my high-bar squat (prior to backing the weight down and trying like hell to eliminate "shooting") and my front squat respectively:

*both can be viewed in 'HQ'*
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PM2yUoTRxVU
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hJQRsRABz9o
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Old 03-15-2009, 01:50 PM   #9
Kevin Perry
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Stacey,

When you rise from the bottom of the squat are you pushing through your heels? It looks fine overall although how is your glute activation? Im wondering if perhaps your not actively engaging your glutes which may be causing you to do some weird hip shooting.
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Old 03-15-2009, 03:38 PM   #10
Garrett Smith
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More sets of low reps at the highest weights you can maintain the type of form you're after. No failure on these, or even going to exertion realms that "wreck" your form.

Practice your form, then start experimenting with higher weights.
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