Converting to powerlifting form: Squat, Bench
I have been seeking to convert my shoulder width squat and elbows flared benchpress to proper powerlifting forms. I have a few questions that I hope some of you may be able to answer.
1. From Dave Tate's article to squatting big, he says that the elbows should be pulled down, shoulder blades pulled together and chest puffed out. I can do the last two fine, though I feel a bad strain on my shoulders when I try to keep my elbows down. I setup in a standard powerrack, so my hands have to be inside the rack and cant be wide. This makes it essentially impossible to do lowbar squats, as I have to have my elbows pushed way back and up, not down and pulling the bar across my back. What do I do? Highbar squats work for now, though I would like to get the lowbar for so I can hold more weight later. (Which is more common or easier? Highbar or lowbar?).
2. I seem to be relying on my quads on the upwards movement, even though my feet are about 1/2 inch from the edge of the inside of the rack. Any sort of tips here? I can Good Morning 185 lbs for 10 reps, though my max squat is about 285 wide. I try spreading the floor, which works to an extent, though I still feel like I rely on the quads too much. Time to get to work on some serious box squats?
3. Any tips on learning technique? I work out at a university gym, where no one does squats right at all (even narrower olympic style squats).
I can widegrip, elbows flared, flat backed, shoulders unpinched, 245 lbs. Whenever I try to do a elbows in, arched, shoulders pinched press and stall, I flop back to the flat back/elbows flared etc. and push it through. To me, it feels like I'm lowering the bar too low towards my feet (even though its lower chest upper abs). I have been working hard on my triceps and have seen a good increase in size and some strength, but now I need to improve my form so I can push some big weight.
1. How do I improve the lat strength to help in my bench?
2. Do I grip wide enough so that my elbows and wrists are perpendicular while the bar is on my lower ribcage (90 degrees), or so that the wrists are closer to my head than my elbows (less than 90 degrees)?
3. How do you develop a good arch? I try to arch as best I can, keep my glutes flexed, feet (well, toes) planted, and shoulder blades pulled together. When it comes to pressing the weight though, I feel very awkward and can't push much at all. Any thoughts?
I have improved over the last few months, though I want to make sure that I can do these things right from the start. Any resources, videos or thoughts will be welcomed. I looked through the threads and found some good information, but I would really appreciate any fresh perspectives. Thanks.
Weight: 150 lbs