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View Full Version : Squat & humility check!



Morgan McPherson
03-22-2011, 10:08 AM
Last week I posted a video of me squatting, in order to get some feed back. A lot of people commented that I should focus on pushing my butt back, and keeping my legs more perpendicular to the ground. I became frustrated because I felt like there was a lack of real direction. I was in fact looking for what weaknesses people could see. Someone suggested that I try putting the bar higher on my traps, because I was squatting close stance.

Here is my background: I used to train at a real gym, the owner was very difficult to be around, so we switched back to a mainstream gym. When I was training with gear at the real gym and did a push/pull competition. After I left there, out of practicality, I switched to raw training and doing 531. I have moved out of state, for school, and now train at a YMCA or the super ghetto gym at the school. As time went on I moved my squat stance in, switched back to my old olympic lifting shoes, and just never really felt comfortable squatting any more. The funny thing is, with 531, my deadlift made huge progress. I felt like something was just not adding up.

The other night we squatted, and I decided to place the bar high and go for that suggestion. My second weight was 315, I got a single. It felt like crap, and I was frustrated. Then I had a moment of humility! I thought "I'll throw back on my chucks, take a wide stance, and see how it goes." Mind you I have not squatted like this in many months. I did 275x3, and it felt great! So I thought, "I'll take 315 again." The first one is a little high, but the other two were deep, this was a huge success over the single I had just done. Plus, I felt great squatting like that. Here is the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YvmlyvWKIEQ

Then I figured I would go for 355, which was my 3 rep weight for that week. The first one is almost parrallel, the second one is high. Here is the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2WJXFhxGkWU Squatting wide is just so much more comfortable.

I am going back to wide stance!

Thanks for the advice, sorry for my argumentativeness.

joey54
03-22-2011, 11:03 AM
Not hitting depth with either weight. Drop 50 lbs, keep working On what you are doing and build back up. Work on a better unrack too.

Niko_El_Piko
03-22-2011, 11:19 AM
I agree with Joey. Besides that, try to place the elbows BELOW the barbell. Remember that when you hit the lowest portion of the squat, your first move or guide when you go up is the head, followed by the chest, hips and then the legs.

byronsru24
03-22-2011, 01:00 PM
Not hitting depth with either weight. Drop 50 lbs, keep working On what you are doing and build back up. Work on a better unrack too.

Your not even close to proper depth. So I agree completely...drop the weight about 50lbs and focus on hitting proper depth while keeping your technique solid.

mchicia1
03-22-2011, 02:19 PM
Your not even close to proper depth. So I agree completely...drop the weight about 50lbs and focus on hitting proper depth while keeping your technique solid.

Thats a little harsh, he is definitely close...he isn't THAT high. A couple more inches and hes at legal depth.

byronsru24
03-22-2011, 02:27 PM
Thats a little harsh, he is definitely close...he isn't THAT high. A couple more inches and hes at legal depth.

To me an inch is close...a couple inches is not. I'm not a depth nazi by any means either, but I'm just giving honest feedback as I see it.

theBarzeen
03-22-2011, 03:29 PM
To me an inch is close...a couple inches is not. I'm not a depth nazi by any means either, but I'm just giving honest feedback as I see it.

His 315 squat ( the second one, which looked the best) was maybe an inch or so away from getting a generous white light at most multi-ply meets ( where I compete)

the 355 ( the first one) was maybe 2" away from a white light.... the second one you know is high.


notice: I didn't say parallel or breaking..... just that it would be close enough to where a generous judge might give it to you. Outside of the single ply feds where any doubt in a judges mind red lights a lift, most meets give a tie to the lifter.... if the judge can't quite tell they'll usually give it to a lifter. Especially if it's the guys first meet or if it's a kid lifting.

It's hard to tell with baggy shorts on too.... the material looks thick enough to where it might bunch up at the hip and make you look like you are not getting down as far as you really are.

Here's the big one:

ready?

It doesn't matter at all if your gym lifts are buried or 6" high. It's a gym lift and doesn't count for anything. If you can go do it on the platform then that is all that matters. Good for you for handling the weight in the gym, it'll make you stronger so you'll do better in a meet. Just make sure you have an honest idea of where // is when you get to a meet and you're good.

byronsru24
03-22-2011, 04:14 PM
His 315 squat ( the second one, which looked the best) was maybe an inch or so away from getting a generous white light at most multi-ply meets ( where I compete)

the 355 ( the first one) was maybe 2" away from a white light.... the second one you know is high.


notice: I didn't say parallel or breaking..... just that it would be close enough to where a generous judge might give it to you. Outside of the single ply feds where any doubt in a judges mind red lights a lift, most meets give a tie to the lifter.... if the judge can't quite tell they'll usually give it to a lifter. Especially if it's the guys first meet or if it's a kid lifting.

It's hard to tell with baggy shorts on too.... the material looks thick enough to where it might bunch up at the hip and make you look like you are not getting down as far as you really are.

Here's the big one:

ready?

It doesn't matter at all if your gym lifts are buried or 6" high. It's a gym lift and doesn't count for anything. If you can go do it on the platform then that is all that matters. Good for you for handling the weight in the gym, it'll make you stronger so you'll do better in a meet. Just make sure you have an honest idea of where // is when you get to a meet and you're good.

I was only referring to his 355 set. I'm not being a dick, but if he wants honest feedback, then he needs to sink those squats on that 355 set more. And I'm sure its only going to get worse as he puts more and more weight on the bar. Some guys can get away with squatting higher in training then they do at meets, but in most cases when I see this it leads to reds and/or bombing on meet day. I wouldn't want to have to rely on a "generous judge" to give me a white on a squat.

mike95763
03-22-2011, 05:00 PM
The squats look better. They are a little high, but that is relatively easy to fix. I squat alone and to make sure I hit depth I use a box that I know is about a half inch below parallel. As soon as I touch the box I know I can start coming up. I would try something like this if you don't have someone to call your depth. Still, depth is pretty easy to fix raw and an inch or two really isn't that big a deal as long as you can get depth come meet time.

byronsru24
03-22-2011, 07:51 PM
The squats look better. They are a little high, but that is relatively easy to fix. I squat alone and to make sure I hit depth I use a box that I know is about a half inch below parallel. As soon as I touch the box I know I can start coming up. .

I train alone also, and this was something I used for a long time when I was raw squatting. Real good suggestion

joey54
03-22-2011, 08:29 PM
His 315 squat ( the second one, which looked the best) was maybe an inch or so away from getting a generous white light at most multi-ply meets ( where I compete)

the 355 ( the first one) was maybe 2" away from a white light.... the second one you know is high.


notice: I didn't say parallel or breaking..... just that it would be close enough to where a generous judge might give it to you. Outside of the single ply feds where any doubt in a judges mind red lights a lift, most meets give a tie to the lifter.... if the judge can't quite tell they'll usually give it to a lifter. Especially if it's the guys first meet or if it's a kid lifting.

It's hard to tell with baggy shorts on too.... the material looks thick enough to where it might bunch up at the hip and make you look like you are not getting down as far as you really are.

Here's the big one:

ready?

It doesn't matter at all if your gym lifts are buried or 6" high. It's a gym lift and doesn't count for anything. If you can go do it on the platform then that is all that matters. Good for you for handling the weight in the gym, it'll make you stronger so you'll do better in a meet. Just make sure you have an honest idea of where // is when you get to a meet and you're good.

Great points. Here is the thing though, homeboy first posts videos asking for help. When he gets the best answer, he is upset because he was looking for people to provide him with target areas to work. The target area to work is improving the squat. This is the thing a lot of people do, and I don't mean to single out the op. Westside/conjugate/weakpoint training is awesome and produces great lifters. However, some feel these principles apply to them when they do not. Some people's weak points are simply they are weak and need to improve their overall strength.

Anyway, enough ranting, I am sure many will disagree with this. Again dude didn't like the advice given, then mentions how he has solved the problem and states his final two squats were deep. Not deep at all. Feel the advice given here warrants the post.

OP certainly has a base to work with and has a lot of potential to improve. Just needs to put in the work.

theBarzeen
03-23-2011, 12:35 PM
Great points. Here is the thing though, homeboy first posts videos asking for help. When he gets the best answer, he is upset because he was looking for people to provide him with target areas to work. The target area to work is improving the squat. This is the thing a lot of people do, and I don't mean to single out the op. Westside/conjugate/weakpoint training is awesome and produces great lifters. However, some feel these principles apply to them when they do not. Some people's weak points are simply they are weak and need to improve their overall strength.

Anyway, enough ranting, I am sure many will disagree with this. Again dude didn't like the advice given, then mentions how he has solved the problem and states his final two squats were deep. Not deep at all. Feel the advice given here warrants the post.

OP certainly has a base to work with and has a lot of potential to improve. Just needs to put in the work.


Fair enough.... and that honestly sounds about right. It's so common that any video posted turns in to an argument about depth that I kind of jumped the gun on that one. My bad.

And I agree, if this is the case, and this is how the OP always squats I would do work at or below // to bring up that weak point. Most people cut raw squats because they don't have the power to come up if they take it down any deeper ( or the weight gets to their head and they wimp out... I'll assume that's not the case here)

so yea, put in the work and make sure every set from your first to your last is in.

Morgan McPherson
03-24-2011, 06:10 PM
There have been a lot of comments, some I like, some I don't. :) I clearly stated that the 355 squats were high. No one even mentioned that the camera is below me, and slightly behind. I know I hit depth on the second and third 315, like I previously stated. I don't think the other squats were as high as they look, but I could be wrong, and I am cool with that. I know the angle is crappy, but it was all I had. I will try and get a better angle next time. My main question continues to be, where am I weak, what do I need to do to fix this?

Any time you are going for something near a max, there is going to be a breakdown in form. Solving that breakdown is the process of targeting where the weak areas are. If I drop 50lbs and do a perfect squat, what does that teach me about my weaknesses? At least two of the 315 squats were to depth, even if the angle is a little wonky. So if I go up 40lbs and form breaks down, and I can't hit depth, what can I learn from that? In the "So you think you can squat?" it is clearly stated that form breaks down near 100%, being able to target the weaknesses and spot where the squat is going wrong is what helps someone to improve.

@Joey: Seriously, what point is there in saying someone is overall weak and that they need to work on that?! That doesn't do anything to help me in the least. Some of the tips given before were so general they were impossible to follow. Things like "setup looks weak", what about the setup looks weak? Is my back not tight enough? My head not up? Is my chest down? Etc. Also, I would love to know what your numbers are. If I am overall weak, and need to work on that, tell me how you did it. I am not being sarcastic, I would really like to know what you have accomplished.

Thanks for the feedback people.

Morgan McPherson
03-24-2011, 06:13 PM
Here is a great quote from J.L. Holdsworth, that I think sums up what I looking for.

"Every lifter has a weak link that limits his strength. As a coach, our most important job is to identify that weakness and bring it up so it isnít a limiting factor. This can never happen if all you are doing 80 percent of the time is the (technique). In the Conjugate System, 80 percent of the time is spent bringing up weakness, not doing the competition lift. A perfect example of this from my training is when I deadlifted 760 pounds in a meet. Six months later I pulled 804 pounds without doing one conventional deadlift from the floor between meets. What I did was work on my weaknesses and get a lot stronger."

byronsru24
03-24-2011, 06:59 PM
So if I go up 40lbs and form breaks down, and I can't hit depth, what can I learn from that? In the "So you think you can squat?" it is clearly stated that form breaks down near 100%, being able to target the weaknesses and spot where the squat is going wrong is what helps someone to improve.

If you are squatting raw, there is no reason to not hit depth, unless you have a flexibility issue, or unless you are training above depth for a certain reason. If it isn't one of these two things, then odds are after that struggle with the first rep of 355, your mind knew your body wasn't capable of a 2nd rep at that depth, so you cut it high. You aren't the first one to do this, and I assure you, your far from the only one. I was guilty of it myself back in the day as well. That isn't a knock on you, its calling it as I see it




@Joey: Seriously, what point is there in saying someone is overall weak and that they need to work on that?! That doesn't do anything to help me in the least. Some of the tips given before were so general they were impossible to follow. Things like "setup looks weak", what about the setup looks weak? Is my back not tight enough? My head not up? Is my chest down? Etc. Also, I would love to know what your numbers are. If I am overall weak, and need to work on that, tell me how you did it. I am not being sarcastic, I would really like to know what you have accomplished.

Thanks for the feedback people.

I consider myself weak and I squatted 470 raw at my recent meet. Again, its not a knock if someone calls you weak, its them being honest given by what they've seen, trained with, and been exposed to. I wish I had let my ego aside when I was weaker and focused on hittin depth consistently, rather then worrying about how much weight is on the bar, or what my "weak points" were.

I'm sticking by my initial statement, which goes w/ what Joey said:

Lower the weight
Hit consistent depth

The strength will come. Until you get the depth issue fixed, and your technique at that depth solid, there's no point in worrying about "weak points". A good friend of mine who is also an elite lifter, said "I figure everything on me is weak, so my plan is to make everything strong. If I don't have an all time record, I'm weak".

This is from a guy who pulled in the mid 7's @ 18yrs old.



Here is a great quote from J.L. Holdsworth, that I think sums up what I looking for.

"Every lifter has a weak link that limits his strength. As a coach, our most important job is to identify that weakness and bring it up so it isnít a limiting factor. This can never happen if all you are doing 80 percent of the time is the (technique). In the Conjugate System, 80 percent of the time is spent bringing up weakness, not doing the competition lift. A perfect example of this from my training is when I deadlifted 760 pounds in a meet. Six months later I pulled 804 pounds without doing one conventional deadlift from the floor between meets. What I did was work on my weaknesses and get a lot stronger."

I agree with everyone having a weak area. IMO, right now yours is hitting depth with your top set. He is also speaking of an elite level lifter who has had years and years of training behind him. If you neglected or overworked something for that long, it goes without saying that it'd make a bigger impact if you stopped neglecting or overworking said body part/movement/whatever it might be.


And just to add something here....there are different ways of letting someone know how to correct things. When I first started posting on the forums, Richard Tbaggins helped me out a ton with technique and programming. He doesn't take the kinder softer approach to constructive criticisim. He falt out told me "your bench technique fucking sucks"...and "your squat technique sucks"...guess what? It did.....so I sucked it up, and did what I had to do to make it better. Right now you got people giving you advice, you can take it or leave it...again, not a knock on you.

joey54
03-24-2011, 07:33 PM
There have been a lot of comments, some I like, some I don't. :) I clearly stated that the 355 squats were high. No one even mentioned that the camera is below me, and slightly behind. I know I hit depth on the second and third 315, like I previously stated. I don't think the other squats were as high as they look, but I could be wrong, and I am cool with that. I know the angle is crappy, but it was all I had. I will try and get a better angle next time. My main question continues to be, where am I weak, what do I need to do to fix this?

Any time you are going for something near a max, there is going to be a breakdown in form. Solving that breakdown is the process of targeting where the weak areas are. If I drop 50lbs and do a perfect squat, what does that teach me about my weaknesses? At least two of the 315 squats were to depth, even if the angle is a little wonky. So if I go up 40lbs and form breaks down, and I can't hit depth, what can I learn from that? In the "So you think you can squat?" it is clearly stated that form breaks down near 100%, being able to target the weaknesses and spot where the squat is going wrong is what helps someone to improve.

@Joey: Seriously, what point is there in saying someone is overall weak and that they need to work on that?! That doesn't do anything to help me in the least. Some of the tips given before were so general they were impossible to follow. Things like "setup looks weak", what about the setup looks weak? Is my back not tight enough? My head not up? Is my chest down? Etc. Also, I would love to know what your numbers are. If I am overall weak, and need to work on that, tell me how you did it. I am not being sarcastic, I would really like to know what you have accomplished.

Thanks for the feedback people.

I do a simple 5x5 routine since I tore my bicep in September. Far from the strongest person on the board by any means. Here are two videos of my squats though. Nothing to brag about, but maybe they can convey what I am saying better than writing it here. Good luck with your training.

BQly8TFL-e4

On that one I didn't keep my chest high enough in the hole and had to re-adjust on the way up. Reason why, not strong enough to handle that weight yet.

This one was from a few weeks ago. I get loose on the unrack a tad, and again need to keep my chest up. Also, keeping the bar to low, so I brought it up recently to get my elbows under the bar. Hit it for 3 today, no video though. Will do 5 sunday and take a video. You can check it in my log if you want.

8zBhFCwJecM

Hitting depth is never a problem for me because in training I always use weights I know I can hit depth with and progressively add weight. I don't worry about weak points, because I am weak all over. My goal is to squat better each week and make each rep look the same. Maybe I am missing out on something, but beginners and intermediates like ourselves do best keeping things simple.

Sensei
03-24-2011, 08:09 PM
Fwiw, I agree completely with Joey. I love WS. I'm a huge fan - always have been. But, the problem with a lot of beginner-intermediate raw lifters is that they start seeking THE magic accessory exercise that's going to fix all their problems, when the problem might simply be they need to spend more time under the bar...

It can to happen to you. It can happen to me. It can happen to everyone eventually.
l5W2IpVMw0E

I'm pretty sure Dave Tate said the same thing in one of his articles.

The weight is heavy for you... period. If you got stapled to the bench with a heavy weight, we could theorize where the weakness is, or we could just say "Well, you need to get stronger". It's the same with your squat - if you had gone much deeper, I don't think you would have risen with it. Well, you need to get stronger. If you need accessory exercises for that, I would offer "squats below parallel", and/or "low box squats", and or "squats w. chains, below parallel".

On the depth issue... Morgan, a lot of us here who comment on depth have actually competed in a PL meet or two and KNOW how judges view parallel - you can argue it if you want but... Anywho, the first rep w. 355 is legal in some "looser" feds, it is 1-3" high for others. The second rep is a quarter squat.

byronsru24
03-24-2011, 08:31 PM
On the depth issue... Morgan, a lot of us here who comment on depth have actually competed in a PL meet or two and KNOW how judges view parallel - you can argue it if you want but... Anywho, the first rep w. 355 is legal in some "looser" feds, it is 1-3" high for others. The second rep is a quarter squat.

Thats where I was comming from as well. It depends on what federation you want to compete in, but depth is #1 priority for you IMO. And Morgan, just so you don't think I'm some guy making off the wall comments, yet I squat high myself:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XNrmALd2bN0

I practice what I preach, and I call it as I see it. It took me awhile to work up my flexibility to squat to that depth, so if thats an issue I got some things that could help you out.

Sensei
03-24-2011, 11:26 PM
I'm pretty sure Dave Tate said the same thing in one of his articles.
Morgan,
This says it better than I could: http://www.t-nation.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance/bustin_ass_101

joey54
03-25-2011, 08:07 AM
Thanks Borris, your post and article really nail the point I was trying to convey in a much more eloquent way. Morgan, the comments about one being weak are not an attack on you in any sense of the way. Simply put, don't overthink this stuff. Grip the bar hard, stay arched, unrack the bar, let it sit on your back for a count, take one step back, take another back, big air,squat down to break parrallel, and stand back up. Drop your working weights down significantly and each week add weight. Maybe do something like the 5x5, that has you squatting 3 times per week. Just start very light. You'll surprass where you were in no time if you are consistent, honest with yourself, and work hard.

Niko_El_Piko
03-28-2011, 11:23 AM
Great points. Here is the thing though, homeboy first posts videos asking for help. When he gets the best answer, he is upset because he was looking for people to provide him with target areas to work. The target area to work is improving the squat. This is the thing a lot of people do, and I don't mean to single out the op. Westside/conjugate/weakpoint training is awesome and produces great lifters. However, some feel these principles apply to them when they do not. Some people's weak points are simply they are weak and need to improve their overall strength.

Anyway, enough ranting, I am sure many will disagree with this. Again dude didn't like the advice given, then mentions how he has solved the problem and states his final two squats were deep. Not deep at all. Feel the advice given here warrants the post.

OP certainly has a base to work with and has a lot of potential to improve. Just needs to put in the work.

Again I absolutely agree with Joey.
No judge in a serious meet will give him a white light, letīs be honest.
Besides the proper form issues I mentioned, I think he needs to work his overall leg strength.
Squat low bar, high bar, front, are a must. But if you intend to work your squat with a wide stance, then you must really grow a posterior chain very strong.
Low box squats made a great difference to me. Romanian DL and GHR (even if you donít have the proper bench, doing them lying down the floor controlling negatives are great posterior/glute exercise), and very heavy arched back Good Morning will put enough work to skyrocket your squat.

theBarzeen
03-28-2011, 09:57 PM
Any time you are going for something near a max, there is going to be a breakdown in form. Solving that breakdown is the process of targeting where the weak areas are. If I drop 50lbs and do a perfect squat, what does that teach me about my weaknesses? At least two of the 315 squats were to depth, even if the angle is a little wonky. So if I go up 40lbs and form breaks down, and I can't hit depth, what can I learn from that? In the "So you think you can squat?" it is clearly stated that form breaks down near 100%, being able to target the weaknesses and spot where the squat is going wrong is what helps someone to improve.


Thanks for the feedback people.

A breakdown in form is different than what happened. If you had hit the hole and then pitched forward on the ascent and had to good morning it up, that'd be a break in form. If your knees came in or popped forward that'd be a break in form. If your back rounded out and you lost it forward that's a break in form.

Don't take it as someone trying to be a jerk to you ( they might be, but lest hope nobody on here is)
Cutting a raw squat high isn't a break in form. It's either a mental thing where you were afraid of the weight, or you felt like you wouldn't be able to come up with it if you took it deeper. Since you have to take it deeper in a meet then you need to work your strength out of the hole.

I know it's a gym lift, it really doesn't matter if it's to depth or not. I know that camera angles can make a lift look better or worse and I'm not trying to say anything about that. But you didn't "break form" causing a missed lift other than cutting the squat high..... if that's your trouble spot just work the snot out of it.

Squat below //
squats with a pause in the bottom
squats where you deload at the bottom to a pin in a rack or to a low box

This is what I'd do if this were my trouble spot..... or since I lift multi-ply I'd just call Rudy for another ply in my briefs or suit...... either way.