The Five Biggest Contradictions in Fitness
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The Five Biggest Contradictions in Fitness

Itís no secret that when people contradict themselves, it has the effect of making the flaws in their actions or statements seem glaringly obvious. But what about when WE ourselves get caught contradicting ourselves by someone else?

By: Nick Tumminello Added: January 6th, 2014
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Thread: squat problem?

  1. #1
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    squat problem?

    does anybody else do this?
    when i do squats i seem to sort of pull down with my arms putting more weight on it and i cant help it
    could anybody help?
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  3. #2
    Senior Member JHarris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by samj View Post
    does anybody else do this?
    when i do squats i seem to sort of pull down with my arms putting more weight on it and i cant help it
    could anybody help?
    You can't actually put more weight on the bar by pulling down on it. I suppose its possible that you can produce a bit more spinal loading this way, but you aren't actually making your legs work harder by pulling down. I also bet that the extra spinal loading would be very little and probably shouldn't affect your lift that much.

    If you are really worried about it, though, my guess is that you are lacking a little flexibility in your shoulders and this is what is causing you to pull at the bar. Its a little hard for me to be sure not seeing pictures or video, however. You could try squatting with fewer fingers on the bar to see if this is the problem.

    Jay

  4. #3
    Senior Member noahfor123's Avatar
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    When you pull down on the bar, it's like doing a pull-up, so there are forces lifting you up to cancel out the ones pushing you down.

  5. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by JHarris View Post
    You can't actually put more weight on the bar by pulling down on it. I suppose its possible that you can produce a bit more spinal loading this way, but you aren't actually making your legs work harder by pulling down. I also bet that the extra spinal loading would be very little and probably shouldn't affect your lift that much.
    I believe this is incorrect. If you agree that pulling down would "produce a bit more spinal loading", then what force would counteract this to make the bar go up? The force from your legs.
    And not make a big difference? Let's say you way 200 lbs and you're doing the equivelent of a full chinup (exageration, of course), then thats 200 lbs more you could be squatting.

  6. #5
    Gaglione Strength Chris Rodgers's Avatar
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    Umm, no.

    Next time try and press up like a shoulder press and see if the weight is lighter, lol.


    Seriously, I was just kidding. Don't do that and mess yourself up.
    Best Meet Lifts(Raw w/wraps):
    @165- 435 SQ 270 BE 560 DL.....1255 total
    @181- 535 SQ 300 BE 570 DL.....1400 total
    Best Meet Lifts(Multi-ply):
    @148- 575 SQ 315 BE 515 DL.....1400 total
    @165- 680 SQ 380 BE 540 DL.....1555 total
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    Best Gym Lifts(Raw w/wraps)
    545 SQ 305 BE 585 DL

  7. #6
    Senior Member JHarris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RedSpikeyThing View Post
    I believe this is incorrect. If you agree that pulling down would "produce a bit more spinal loading", then what force would counteract this to make the bar go up? The force from your legs.
    And not make a big difference? Let's say you way 200 lbs and you're doing the equivelent of a full chinup (exageration, of course), then thats 200 lbs more you could be squatting.
    The mechanics of the problem are a little trickier that that. Just because you get more spinal loading does not mean you 'weigh more'. What's happening is that you are squeezing together your spine a little by contracting your latissimus dorsi which is what is bringing your arms down. (A bit of a simplification, but lets go with it.) since your latissimus dorsi connects around the lower portions of your spine and you are pulling the bar against your shoulders, your spine might arch a bit more (though again, I bet it is very insignificant and probably could be controlled by properly strong spinal erectors/abdominal muscles), but that doesnt mean your legs feel the weight. Because your back arches a bit more, your chest puffs out and the forces are balanced.

    Basically, if you have a closed system (i.e. the bar and you combined under gravity) you can't add more energy to the system. If you were pulling down on the bar and somehow achieving more weight on your legs, you'd be contradicting this law of physics. Imagine you are stationary and the bar is resting on your shoulders. All of your energy is potential energy, defined as mass x gravity x height. Now, by pulling down on the bar but not moving, all your energy is still potential. But if your legs had to 'move more mass', the mass for the second potential would be higher and thus you would have added energy to a closed system.

    On the other hand, as a side note, it turns out that you can make a pullup easier by swinging your legs up in the middle of it, but thats a different story.

    I hope that helps explain it.

    Jay

  8. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Rodgers View Post
    Umm, no.

    Next time try and press up like a shoulder press and see if the weight is lighter, lol.
    Quote Originally Posted by JHarris View Post
    Jay's explanation
    Ugh. It's been a long day of studying. My bad.

  9. #8
    Senior Member JHarris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RedSpikeyThing View Post
    Ugh. It's been a long day of studying. My bad.
    Hey man, no worries. Its an easy mistake to make.

  10. #9
    Senior Member Sensei's Avatar
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    You should be trying to "pull" your elbows forward as you squat, not downward. Pulling your elbows forward should help you maintain proper upper body positioning.
    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
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