T Nation

7wks Out from National Raw Meet. Squat Help


#1

Might be a stupid question, but thought I could post it to see if anyone with a little more experience could give me a sense of direction.

Im 7 weeks out from my first national raw powerlifting meet. Everything is going well and I have just started my peaking phase. Over the course of 14 weeks I have dropped 17 lbs to have a better chance of end up in the top 3. Strength have not dropped at all.

I suck at benching where Im aiming somewhere arund the 300's. And my deadlift is my main lift where Im gonna try to break the national record with a lift somewhere around 600-610 lbs.

The squat is whats bothering me. Im aiming to get a number between 450 and 475 coming meet time. I recently did 375 for 8 reps without a belt and yesterday I did 360 for 10 reps with a belt easy.

Now to my question: as soon as the weights increase for my squat, the speed rapidly decreases. Anything over 410 and the speed is slow, so even tough my estimated 1Rm should be at least 460, I highly doubt it. Especially from what my three singles @ 420 looked like 2 weeks ago, before peaking. Sure I was pretty broken down from all the training leading in to the peaking, but still..

Im thinking of doing reverse band squats or 10 second walkouts as my main accessory lifts. Do you think it could help my problem? Or am I just burning myself out doing them so Close to the meet?

Btw, my squat max is 440 with a bw below 170, but I have done 465 as my all-time best (with a bw of 195 though).

Any tips or advice would be greatly appreciated.


#2

Need to see the lift. Preferably with a weight around 350 and then a weight around 405.


#3

340: https://vid.me/h3x3

395: https://vid.me/dUvG

420: https://vid.me/K8Dj

Bad video quality, I hope it works though.


#4

Your core is either weak or you are not bracing it well. Most likely the second. With lighter weights you don’t need to brace as hard and it is much easier for you to stay up right with that weight. Once you get heavier you are you really need to be bracing and forcing the core out to really stay strong and up right and it is not there so you topple over.

On top of that I would suggest really focusing on front squats, high bar close stance, weighted core and glute work. You are losing everything due to the falling over. The oly shoes could be making this worse but, I don’t suggest changing a lot of stuff this close to a meet but really focusing on keep the core engaged and lats tight and do everything you can to stay tall.


#5

Seven weeks is enough time to increase the consistency of your squat. Just get as tight as possible and treat every rep like it’s maximal weights. I did notice on the 340 attempt that your hips shoot up before your chest and it becomes more pronounced for heavier weight.

Focus on getting your upper body tight enough that you can lead with your chest. It’s likely you’re hips will still shoot up for a max attempt at the meet but you can probably reduce it a significant amount if you focus on that in training.

Good luck on your prep. Those are some strong lifts.

Edit: I agree with Reed on adding front squats but I would caution that it’s risky to add significant volume close to the meet, especially if you don’t feel proficient in the movement. You may have to adjust the volume from your main work to ensure you stay on track with managing fatigue. More front squats now and less a month out would probably work well since you want more specificity doing comp lifts close to the meet.


#6

Most likely bracing - if you’re pulling even close to 600 lbs you shouldn’t have a weak core or lower back (out of interest, do you pull sumo or conventional). I mean, maybe if you pull sumo your lower back might not be as strong as if you pull conventional (I’m basing this on how sumo vs conventional feel for me) but even so given you pull 600ish lbs a 450 lbs squat shouldn’t do that.

Are you pushing your chest up aggressively? I use the same elbow back grip and I know that naturally pushes my chest down unless I push my chest up and squeeze my lats really hard throughout the movement.

Have you considered using bands to squat against to simulate heavier loads as you come up? I’ve started using them for speed work and the first thing I noticed was how hard I got pulled down coming up unless I was super tight. We’ve got similar maxes (440 sleeves last week, 462 wrappd end of March at 198ish), and I use bands that add around 45 lbs each at the top with around 60% of my wrapped max. That way, you’d get the effect of a heavy load pushing you down without haing to use heavy loads throughout the whole ROM. That could be a way to get around the issue while peaking. Just a thought.


#7

Foot placement looks a bit narrow, but I would be cautious about changing that so close to the meet.

Core tightness can be reinforced with pause squats at the primary sticking point. Again, be cautious about how those are incorporated into your training at this phase. Band resisted squats have a similar effect.


#8

I think most likely its bracing as well. I pull conventional and my best comp pull is 617 lbs. But I won’t pull that off because of my weightloss the last couple of weeks…

Honestly I havent thought of my elbows much, I’ve got another squat session tomorrow and I will really put a lot of thought in to keeping my whole upper body tight.

The more I think of it I have not really been tightening up Before the squat as much as I should have. Looking back at videos, really the only thing im doing Before descending is taking a big breath. Not really thightening, more holding my breath than bracing. Since my squat with belt vs without a belt doesnt differ with more than 10 lbs, this is a huge issue for me.

I really like the idea with using band with top resistance! I will incoperate it tomorrow and let you know what it feels like. Thank you so much for the tips! Especially with the band, since I want to stay away from heavy loads during the entire ROM so close to the meet.


#9

Thanks for the input guys! I havent thought of bracing as being the problem but it certainly is. I got another squat session tomorrow and I will emphasize keeping my upper body tight and tucking my elbow in a bit more while really braing my core.
I’ll keep you posted of what it felt like.


#10

Something I forgot to tell you is that I’m very new to Low-Bar squatting. I made the switch about eight weeks ago and during my last meet where I qualified for nationals I squatted High-Bar.

I was looking through old videos and decided to try a few reps High-Bar during my lunch break (I work at a gym). I only went up to 225 but going back and forth HB/LB the speed on the HB was way better than my LB.

I think I might try the HB out tomorrow during my squat session. Maybe all the LB the last eight weeks have strengthen my lower back as well. Im not saying Im gonna make the switch back again, but judging from the reps at 225 today Im at least gonna give it a try.


#11

That’d go some way to explaining it too. Why did you switch to low bar? How does it feel? I used to squat narrow stance high bar, but transitioned to wide stance low bar and it felt so much better. The speed out of the hole went down a little going to low bar but overall the lift is smoother.

I’m interested to hear how you find the bands. Just an FYI, the unrack feels very different as you’re actively pulled the moment you unrack. First time I did it I shot backwards. It kind of helps tidy up your walkout, which is good for me beause my walkout isn’t always that great.


#12

Honestly just to try it out and the more I tried it, the more I liked it. The problem I get with the low-bar is mobility. I have really tight calves and ankles which Im working on. My hips arent mobile enough to take as wide of a stance as I would like, so as wide (narrow)as Im standing in the video is as wide as I can go basically.

I felt the exact same thing as youre describing with the high vs. low bar. The speed out of the hole is better high bar but the overall lift feel more smooth going low bar. After work today I will try both the high bar and banden squat out. I’ll keep you posted and I will keep the walkout in mind! Thanks man


#13

One thing that might work with getting tight in the setup is thinking of unracking as doing pin squats or lockout work. You would get extremely tight for those lifts if the weight was heavy. IMO, the same concept should be applied to unracking.


#14

https://vid.me/3WWL

This is the video of 340 again today. This is after 355x10 and the set on video is the last set of 340x3x10 that my program called for today.
Its still not close to perfect but I think its looking better, especially since its the 11th working set at 80%.

Tried the high bar out today. The speed of the first reps is the same as the low-bar, but the speed rapidly drops during the set which is not the case with the low-bar.

I liked squats with band for the extra resistance. Work really hard on the cues chest up and staying tight during all my sets today, including warm-ups.


#15

[quote]RobTheSwede wrote:
Honestly just to try it out and the more I tried it, the more I liked it. The problem I get with the low-bar is mobility. I have really tight calves and ankles which Im working on. My hips arent mobile enough to take as wide of a stance as I would like, so as wide (narrow)as Im standing in the video is as wide as I can go basically.

I felt the exact same thing as youre describing with the high vs. low bar. The speed out of the hole is better high bar but the overall lift feel more smooth going low bar. After work today I will try both the high bar and banden squat out. I’ll keep you posted and I will keep the walkout in mind! Thanks man[/quote]

Same thing happened to me when I switched to low bar. Just keep working on it. Also, I found low bar is a much more deliberate style of squatting, you need to be very precise about every little step of the set up and movement. Slower down, too, and more a pull back than straight down.