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Old 04-08-2015, 02:13 AM   #1
Eddie Paz
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Default High Bar Squats, and Vertical Leap

Hello Greg, and all.

I am sorry for the long post but I want to ensure you get all the relevant information.

I was competing and olly lifting a few years ago and I injured my hip. I saw a lot (doc, physio, osteo, got MRI) and was cleared anything serious but it persisted, and would only act up on a deep squat. As a result I got back into basketball for a while.

I am now at the stage where I can lift again, and I am slowly making my way back up. However, my priority has changed to improving my vertical leap. In the weights room I am primarily interested in the squat and power clean and jerk (cleans for vertical leap, power cleans due to my hip (I can break parallel but I would prefer not to in a dynamic movement) and the jerk as it is my favourite olympic movement)

My numbers are going up on my power clean and jerk and I am happy enough with my form. I would also like to say that I have bought your book and DVD

My high bar squats were going well until I posted a form check (on another site). Everyone was horrified at my bar placement and said it was on my c-spine. I tried to lower it and it has given my a huge amount of pain though my shoulder as it feels like it is on my bone. I can lower it again to my upper arms, but it hurts my shoulders and wrists. It also causes my to tilt forward which makes my hip twinge far more noticeable. This is more of a low bar squat, as I understand is not ideal for this type of training.

I am really struggling understanding high bar squats, and I think I must have missed something serious.

Here are my videos:

The original bar placement. I have to say the neck is gone on that shirt.


The placement that caused me pain like the bar was on the bones of my shoulders

My questions are:
1) Which of these, if any, is the correct bar placement? Given page 53 of your book I would say the first one, but I have been assured I am incorrect. It has also occurred to me I might lack the muscle mass to keep the bar off my c-spine?

2) Would front squats be a better alternative? I am very confident in my form, my concern is that it would not result in the same strength and vertical leap.

And just generally any pointers you could give me with the high bar squat.
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Old 04-08-2015, 02:45 PM   #2
Blake Barnes
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1) Well it looks like it should be more like the first video but if you can get something in between those two then you should be fine. If you pinch the top inside edges of the shoulder blades there should be a little "shelf" with your traps to put that bar on. I know you said you don't have the muscle mass to take the weight off of the bone but try to do that and elevate the shoulder blades as well to take some pressure off.

Also, your upper back is a bit rounded so try to remember to keep your chest up and back arched throughout the movement (this may also help with bar placement).

If it helps you can bring your elbows down more underneath the bar and be sure to bring your thumb around to the front side of the bar as this will naturally help maintain good posture.

2) If the problems persist then there should be any problem with just doing Front Squats although (like you said) you won't be getting the most out of your leg/torso strength.
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Last edited by Blake Barnes; 04-08-2015 at 02:54 PM.
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Old 04-14-2015, 01:28 AM   #3
Eddie Paz
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Hi Blake,

Thank you so much for your input.

I have gone back to the drawing board and last night squatted 3 sets of 90kg

They felt great, to me, and I am curious if you think bar placement is correct

I think the second set had a better angle so I will start with that:


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Old 04-14-2015, 10:14 AM   #4
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It looks better but on the first video it still looks like your upper back is rounding just a little bit. The second video looks even better. Think about keeping that upper back arched as much as possible throughout the movement.
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