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Thread: Squat Rx routines?

  1. #1
    Constantly Improving Decent's Avatar
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    Squat Rx routines?

    First of all, Sensei/Boris is the man. The Squat Rx series has some of the most informative vids I've seen anywhere.

    Turns out I've been "GM'ing out the hole" for the past year now. I've already injured my lower back once doing that, and I don't want to repeat it. So my question is are there any routines you've developed to go with these exercises?

    Specifically, I'm interested in trying:

    one legged deadlifts
    wall squats
    step back lunges
    wide legged squats

    I'm not sure the best place to add them to my split, how many sets/rep is best for each, or which shouldn't really be done on the same day.


    Also, my hips aren't even flexible enough for me to squat as low as you are in these videos. How often do you recommend doing those power rack stretches, and butterfly stretches?

    Last question. I'm going to replace back squats with front squats for a while, to prevent leaning forward all together. Since I'll be using less weight, should I try to do them twice a week, or load up on some of those other leg exercises above?

    Thanks
    "To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing."
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Sensei's Avatar
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    Decent,

    Thank you. As far as the exercises you've listed, except for one-legged DLs which were a primary exercise once while rehabbing an injury, I use them as auxiliary lifts. None of them are really "load em up and crank em out" exercises. Wall squats are more of a drill than an exercise. Doing 1-4 sets of 6-10 reps with one or two exercises is probably going to be good.

    I stretch a lot - except for when I was in grad school, I always have. Now, during the Olympics, I'm stretching daily while watching TV. I've been meaning to do a short video going through the stretches I do the most - I'll try to get on that in the next few weeks. The ones I do the most are hamstring stretches, hip flexors, IT band, wrist, and shoulder/pec/lat stretches.

    Do you squat high-bar or low-bar position? If you squat low-bar, you shouldn't be so worried about forward lean, just losing arch.
    A child does not learn to squat from the top down. In other words, he does not suddenly make a conscious decision one day to squat. Actually, he is squatting one day and make the conscious decision to stand. Squatting precedes standing in the developmental sequence. This is the way a child's brain learns to use the body as the child develops movement patterns. Therefore, a child is probably crawling, rocks back into a squatting position with the back completely relaxed and the hips completely flexed, and stands when he has enough hip strength. This approach makes a lot of sense and can be applied to relearning the deep squat movement if it is lost. -Gray Cook
    Lifting Clips: http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=johnnymnemonic2
    Blog: http://squatrx.blogspot.com/

  3. #3
    Constantly Improving Decent's Avatar
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    Thanks for the response.

    I squat high bar. I may try the low-bar position instead of going to front squats. I'm really proud of the progress I made and I'm in no rush to drop the weight down. I may mix them together.

    For wall squats, I don't even understand why I can't do them. I stand 6-8" from the wall, and I can't lower myself to parallel without my knees touching the wall. I've tried widening my stance, nothing. I'm 6' tall, nothing freakish. My legs just won't open wide enough for me to "sink" into the hole. My knees naturally go forward to keep balance. First I thought it was flexibility, but I can get into that position when holding on to the rack. If I even try to let go of the power rack, I start to fall back. So I can't even squat like that with no weight at all, much less with a barbell on my back. Very strange.
    Last edited by Decent; 08-12-2008 at 09:14 PM.
    "To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing."
    - Timothy Ferriss

    "Trying to get everyone to like you is a sign of mediocrity."
    - Colin Powell

  4. #4
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    It's not strange. You have an image of a straight-backed squat in your head, which is incorrect. The only reason you're falling backwards is because you're not leaning over enough.

  5. #5
    I wannabebig!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sensei View Post
    Decent,

    Thank you. As far as the exercises you've listed, except for one-legged DLs which were a primary exercise once while rehabbing an injury, I use them as auxiliary lifts. None of them are really "load em up and crank em out" exercises. Wall squats are more of a drill than an exercise. Doing 1-4 sets of 6-10 reps with one or two exercises is probably going to be good.

    I stretch a lot - except for when I was in grad school, I always have. Now, during the Olympics, I'm stretching daily while watching TV. I've been meaning to do a short video going through the stretches I do the most - I'll try to get on that in the next few weeks. The ones I do the most are hamstring stretches, hip flexors, IT band, wrist, and shoulder/pec/lat stretches.

    Do you squat high-bar or low-bar position? If you squat low-bar, you shouldn't be so worried about forward lean, just losing arch.
    id be interested in those stretching videos.

    id be interested in what you would think are really good stretches to increase shoulder flexibility the most.

  6. #6
    Constantly Improving Decent's Avatar
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    I'm not going by the image in my head. I'm looking from the side in the mirror.

    My only alternative to not falling back or holding onto the rack is leaning forward into a GM. That's what I'm trying to avoid.
    "To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing."
    - Timothy Ferriss

    "Trying to get everyone to like you is a sign of mediocrity."
    - Colin Powell

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    What? My point is that you envision a correct squat as having a vertical back, when it doesn't. You're falling over backwards because you refuse to lean further forward--this is not a GM, but rather a correct squat.

  8. #8
    Constantly Improving Decent's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kastro View Post
    What? My point is that you envision a correct squat as having a vertical back, when it doesn't. You're falling over backwards because you refuse to lean further forward--this is not a GM, but rather a correct squat.
    so you're saying the Squat RX videos are showing incorrect form? he's tilted slightly forward to keep the barbell from sliding down his back obviously, but he's certainly not "leaning forward into a GM." That's what I'm currently doing, and what I'm trying to prevent.
    "To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing."
    - Timothy Ferriss

    "Trying to get everyone to like you is a sign of mediocrity."
    - Colin Powell

  9. #9
    Senior Member Sensei's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Decent View Post
    so you're saying the Squat RX videos are showing incorrect form? he's tilted slightly forward to keep the barbell from sliding down his back obviously, but he's certainly not "leaning forward into a GM." That's what I'm currently doing, and what I'm trying to prevent.
    I don't think that's his point. He's simply saying that there must be some foward lean - the weight must be centered over the foot.

    A video of what you're doing would be helpful. To be honest, I don't think being able to do the wall squat is going to solve all your problems anyway. Don't feel like you MUST do the wall squat drill - the purpose of the drill is to promote tightness and arch but it's just a drill.
    A child does not learn to squat from the top down. In other words, he does not suddenly make a conscious decision one day to squat. Actually, he is squatting one day and make the conscious decision to stand. Squatting precedes standing in the developmental sequence. This is the way a child's brain learns to use the body as the child develops movement patterns. Therefore, a child is probably crawling, rocks back into a squatting position with the back completely relaxed and the hips completely flexed, and stands when he has enough hip strength. This approach makes a lot of sense and can be applied to relearning the deep squat movement if it is lost. -Gray Cook
    Lifting Clips: http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=johnnymnemonic2
    Blog: http://squatrx.blogspot.com/

  10. #10
    The Flyfisher rbtrout's Avatar
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    Correct squat form, according to Rippetoe is having a lean forward of up to 45 degrees. Low bar position really helps with squatting. With me, the heavier the weight got, the more I realized that I had to get the bar off of my neck and let it go lower.

    I've had to re-train myself twice on correct squatting form over the years. This is a lift (like all the big ones) that requires concentration on your form and keeping good form through the entire movement or you injure yourself. Don't look downward as it can make you have a tendency to round your back. Concentrate on sticking your belly out (arching your back), keeping your knees out going up and trying to push your heels through the floor. This really helped me.

    As far as the other exercises goes, I do a few sets of front squats on leg day. Then stretching throughout the week of hammies, quads and lower back have helped quite a bit.
    Last edited by rbtrout; 08-13-2008 at 11:45 AM.
    Give chalk a chance.


    49 years old

    665 squat
    700 deadlift
    325 bench

  11. #11
    Constantly Improving Decent's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sensei View Post
    I don't think that's his point. He's simply saying that there must be some foward lean - the weight must be centered over the foot.

    A video of what you're doing would be helpful. To be honest, I don't think being able to do the wall squat is going to solve all your problems anyway. Don't feel like you MUST do the wall squat drill - the purpose of the drill is to promote tightness and arch but it's just a drill.
    so it's okay if my knees shoot forward as long as my back doesn't lean too far down? (I've never had any type of knee pain, but I don't want to do anything that will invite it either)

    I'm going to try the low bar position tomorrow. I'll probably do a few extra warm-up sets to get the hang of it, and I'll report back.

    Thanks
    "To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing."
    - Timothy Ferriss

    "Trying to get everyone to like you is a sign of mediocrity."
    - Colin Powell

  12. #12
    Senior Member Sensei's Avatar
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    If you're squatting w. a high bar position, you need to squat more upright and your hips cannot drive backward with an upright position. If your hips don't move back, your knees have no choice but to go forward (and out). Is that bad for your knees? I don't think so, but it's debatable. IMO, if you are maintaining tension and 'spreading the load' throughout the body and not letting it build up in your knees and lower back, your knees are reasonably protected.
    A child does not learn to squat from the top down. In other words, he does not suddenly make a conscious decision one day to squat. Actually, he is squatting one day and make the conscious decision to stand. Squatting precedes standing in the developmental sequence. This is the way a child's brain learns to use the body as the child develops movement patterns. Therefore, a child is probably crawling, rocks back into a squatting position with the back completely relaxed and the hips completely flexed, and stands when he has enough hip strength. This approach makes a lot of sense and can be applied to relearning the deep squat movement if it is lost. -Gray Cook
    Lifting Clips: http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=johnnymnemonic2
    Blog: http://squatrx.blogspot.com/

  13. #13
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    I tried the low bar position for the first time yesterday. The weight felt more "aligned" throughout the movement, and I was actually able to squat better with weight than without. I guess it helps keep balance.

    It also forced me to keep my chest wide. I've never felt that tight in my upper body before, even when trying.


    The only two downsides were wrist discomfort (this should go away with practice, I assume), and I kept shooting backwards. lol I'm not really used to having the weight there, so I'd drive up from my heels and had to take a step back twice. I'll get the hang of it though.

    Thanks for the videos again, and the input.
    "To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing."
    - Timothy Ferriss

    "Trying to get everyone to like you is a sign of mediocrity."
    - Colin Powell

  14. #14
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    for low bar, wrists should stay completely straight throughout the entire movement?
    "To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing."
    - Timothy Ferriss

    "Trying to get everyone to like you is a sign of mediocrity."
    - Colin Powell

  15. #15
    Senior Member Sensei's Avatar
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    I've used a thumbless grip for as long as I can remember and I hold the bar at the base of the palms. Wrists are pretty straight throughout.

    Not my best form, but I think you can see my right wrist pretty well throughout the sets in this video:

    Video
    Last edited by Sensei; 08-21-2008 at 11:00 PM.
    A child does not learn to squat from the top down. In other words, he does not suddenly make a conscious decision one day to squat. Actually, he is squatting one day and make the conscious decision to stand. Squatting precedes standing in the developmental sequence. This is the way a child's brain learns to use the body as the child develops movement patterns. Therefore, a child is probably crawling, rocks back into a squatting position with the back completely relaxed and the hips completely flexed, and stands when he has enough hip strength. This approach makes a lot of sense and can be applied to relearning the deep squat movement if it is lost. -Gray Cook
    Lifting Clips: http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=johnnymnemonic2
    Blog: http://squatrx.blogspot.com/

  16. #16
    Constantly Improving Decent's Avatar
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    thanks, I'll see if thumbless helps remove the wrist strain


    random question that has nothing to do with this thread: did your calves get that big from compound exercises, or did you see gains from calf raises?
    "To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing."
    - Timothy Ferriss

    "Trying to get everyone to like you is a sign of mediocrity."
    - Colin Powell

  17. #17
    Senior Member Sensei's Avatar
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    I do almost nothing for calves - never really have. It's probably genetic.
    A child does not learn to squat from the top down. In other words, he does not suddenly make a conscious decision one day to squat. Actually, he is squatting one day and make the conscious decision to stand. Squatting precedes standing in the developmental sequence. This is the way a child's brain learns to use the body as the child develops movement patterns. Therefore, a child is probably crawling, rocks back into a squatting position with the back completely relaxed and the hips completely flexed, and stands when he has enough hip strength. This approach makes a lot of sense and can be applied to relearning the deep squat movement if it is lost. -Gray Cook
    Lifting Clips: http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=johnnymnemonic2
    Blog: http://squatrx.blogspot.com/

  18. #18
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    Calves do indeed seem to be largely genetic. You either have nice ones, or you don't. And if you don't, squats don't really seem to be enough to get them big.

  19. #19
    Constantly Improving Decent's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Decent View Post
    thanks, I'll see if thumbless helps remove the wrist strain
    no wrist discomfort whatsoever today
    "To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing."
    - Timothy Ferriss

    "Trying to get everyone to like you is a sign of mediocrity."
    - Colin Powell

  20. #20
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    I heard if you haven't stretched before routinely, don't stretch. true?

  21. #21
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    examine your goals

    Bro...

    I honestly do not break down and analyze all the different ways to squat. I would keep things simple. It is good to try new things... but if overall size or strength is what you need, just keep it simple and squat.

    Here are a few things you might want to keep in mind:

    * Never squat more than once per week. If you are training hard that is all ANYONE needs.... if size is your goal (bodybuilding)... then I recommend squatting every other week... but those workouts will send ya to the toilet...lol

    * Use proper form and go all the way down. Simple as that. No need to make it complicated.

    * If size is still your goal... I recommend using the hack squat and/or leg press to target inner/outer thighs... in general though... squat in a normal position and bust *ss while doing it.

    I do understand and think it is cool to try new things, so I didn't mean to be a downer about this, I would look at your goals and just bust tail doing regular squats instead of trying all kinds of other junk. I would also look at your diet and make sure you don't overtrain. If you are squatting like a wild banchee then once per week is all your body needs!!! Good luck man...

    jimmachak

  22. #22
    Senior Member Sensei's Avatar
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    Jim,

    While I agree wholeheartedly with your advice to keep things simple, the advice to squat only once a week or every other week because "that's all you need" is a gross oversimplification at best and plain old bad advice at worst.

    If you want to get good at something, ANYTHING, you need to practice and once a week, or every other week is just not going to cut it. Now, I understand that your personal goals may be hypertrophy and that's fine, but I don't know anyone who's gotten big training hard once/week or less. No, maybe you shouldn't go balls to the wall every session, but yes you should be squatting more often if you want to get big and strong.
    A child does not learn to squat from the top down. In other words, he does not suddenly make a conscious decision one day to squat. Actually, he is squatting one day and make the conscious decision to stand. Squatting precedes standing in the developmental sequence. This is the way a child's brain learns to use the body as the child develops movement patterns. Therefore, a child is probably crawling, rocks back into a squatting position with the back completely relaxed and the hips completely flexed, and stands when he has enough hip strength. This approach makes a lot of sense and can be applied to relearning the deep squat movement if it is lost. -Gray Cook
    Lifting Clips: http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=johnnymnemonic2
    Blog: http://squatrx.blogspot.com/

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