I recently switched to pulling sumo and squatting low bar after stalling at 500 dl and 455 squat for over 6 months. I guess my body is built much better for those styles because my lifts have went to 550/500 pretty fast according to 1rm calculator. Even with that increase I feel that my limits are much higher if i can perfect the technique on these 2 lifts. I posted a video from side angle of my previous dl workout and wanted to post this video from the front as well to get any critiques that can help me improve my form. Being stuck at 500 for so long I felt like I would never reach 600 but now I feel like it can be attainable in a matter of months if I get my technique down. This video is of 500x4. I completed a set of 415x8 before and 525x2 after. Next squat session I will try to get some video to post as well because I have been having bicep pain when benching which might be related to my low bar squat technique. I appreciate any feedback.
I don’t see anything wrong with your technique. You could probably get 5 or 6 reps if you didn’t do 415x8 first.
Bicep pain is common with low bar squatting, there’s not much you can do in terms of technique. Moving your grip out might help. Otherwise, minimize low bar squat volume. Do high bar, SSB, front squat, manta ray, etc. If you can manage working up to one heavy low bar set once a week then just do that and keep the rest of the squatting as variations, consider adding a few sets if possible. If not, either high bar or duffalo bar (if you have access) as your primary squat are the best options and then only squat low bar for 6-8 weeks before a meet.
Personally, I do about a quarter of my squat volume low bar for the same reason.
Thanks for the advice. this is my first cycle of 531 and my training maxes are prob way too low but I’ll just stick to the program and by round 3 the amrap set should be a challenge to complete for max reps. For now I finish my AMRAP sets at the max number of reps with some still left in the tank and then just push hard on the jokers.
Have you read beyond 5/3/1? One of the options is to hit your training max or AMRAP set weight for a single/ minimum number of reps (depends on which exact program you are doing) and then work up to whatever joker sets you are doing, then finish with the AMRAP and possibly do lighter down sets after that. You will still get stronger the way you are training, but it is not as good for building strength and you cant accurately gauge your strength on the heaviest set of the day this way. This isn’t just my personal opinion, lots of well known coaches have talked about this, Josh Bryant and Mike Israetel immediately come to mind. There is no reason not to do the heaviest work set first.
I think I will take that aproach for deadlifts but go to the opposite extreme and completely get rid of jokers on bench and overhead press as well as squats because my bicep only flares up on those when i get closer to my max. That is obviously only a temporary solution until i can get this bicep/shoulder issue solved but right now if i try to push on jokers on either press my bicep flares up so bad that I can’t get any accessory work in after.
I had pain during pressing from my low bar squatting as well. What worked for me was moving my grip out and getting better at getting my back really tight without pulling hard with my arms. I also did lots of soft tissue work on my forearm, bicep, and tricep with a lacrosse ball. That really really helped. Hope it gets better!
You don’t need to be training at 90%+ to get stronger, but at the same time the standard 5/3/1 program is mostly geared towards hypertrophy until you start to stall. What is your weight and height? Are you trying to gain mass? Personally, I don’t do more than 5 reps (at least 1 or 2 away from failure) on the competition lifts and save the high rep stuff for variations and accessory work.
If you’re in constant pain anytime you are squatting or pressing then you could consider switching to SSB squats for a few weeks, if you have access to a SSB. Part of the problem is inflammation, if you don’t let the inflammation subside then at best it just wont get any worse. Like I said, for a lot of people there is no way to solve this problem and the only solution is to save low bar squatting for peaking phases and meets. Eric Cressey says that it has do to with the shape of the scapula, some people are predisposed to this kind of thing. Blaine Sumner said that he only squats up to a top single these days, his shoulders and arms can’t take reps anymore and he does a lot of belt squats and other stuff.
Things that may help are pre-workout ibuprofen, doing barbell curls (you want your hands supinated) a few times a week, and lots of external rotation work - band pull aparts and face pulls are particularly good because they don’t cause much fatigue and it’s easy to get a good amount of volume in. If you simply increase rows and chin-ups (which you probably do lots of since you are on 5/3/1) then you will cause a lot more fatigue that can affect the lifts that actually matter.
I dont have a ssb bar but i tried doing high bar holding onto straps rather than bar today to simulate ssb after my bicep started hurting after i tried a 465 joker.low bar which i got for 2 reps . The bicep pain isn’t too bad from squatting but like you said it is just accumulating inflammation. Even on overhead press it isnt terrible but on bench it is really bad. I can easily push through the pain on the squats but I just don’t want to ruin my ability to train bench at all. I’m 5’8 and 184. I’d like to stay at 181 and if I stay at this weight and can get my squat up 100 lbs i might like to cut to 165 to set raw drug tested squat record. I did mma for awhile and cut from ~175-180 down to 155 in 8 weeks so I know i could make 165 from here I’m just not sure how much it would effect my strength. I am very lower body dominant so I am okay with a somewhat crappy bench but i don’t want it to be absolutely pathetic cause I can’t train it at all.
If you have no option other than a straight bar then my advice is to simply switch to high bar for now. In a month or two, assuming that you don’t have any more pain, then you could try low bar again but something like work up to one hard work set once a week, no other low bar squatting.
When do you plan to compete?
You’re pretty strong for your size, and at 5’8 you might be better off at 198/93kg or so, but that would be a long term thing. As for cutting, you don’t really want to diet down a weight class during your peaking phase. Water cuts are a better option, and if you are going to compete with a 24 hour weigh in that will allow you to cut a lot more and be at or close to your previous strength levels. I used to know a guy who was on the Canadian wrestling team, he told me how he would basically starve himself for days to make weight. He never lost a match either. For whatever reason, that might work better for combat-type sports but is not really recommended for PL because you are sure to not perform well.
I am in the last year of my PhD so I am currently writing my dissertation and going to be interviewing and flying out to schools soon so I want to wait till that process is over to really train for a competition. I am thinking March or April next year. I am pretty lean and willing to put on a little but of fat to get stronger but I don’t think my frame will get to 198 unless I put on a lot of fat. My fat free mass is already at the upper limits of what is naturally achievable and I don’t want to juice.
I’m 5’9 and 230 and I have never taken steroids. I guess I’m kind of weak for my size. I’m probably not as lean as you, I would guess around 18%, but there is no way I could get down to 93kg without losing a significant amount of muscle. I’m sure you could gain more muscle over the course of the next few years, gains slow significantly past a certain point but you will still gain muscle gradually as long as you don’t limit your training to low volume and low reps. Getting fat isn’t going to help you, so don’t even bother.
I’ll see how my body develops but my first comp will def be at 181. I can currently make that without even having to do a water cut. I will see how my body develops in the future but if I am looking at ~5-8 or even 10 lb water cut vs going up a weight class and not even weighing the upper limit I would rather cut the water.
I don’t know about FFM but I did some quick research. My source is natural physiques dot com. I figure they are pretty pro FFM as they say “a fat free mass index of 25 is pretty much an upper limit for someone who does not use steroids*”
Is there any research about this beyond the 20 Mr America competitors and an undisclosed number of athletes stated in that article?
.* As a near 40 year old fat guy who weighed himself this morning (on a bodyfat scale), who until recently hasn’t touched a weight in over 5 years - who just plugged my numbers in to find a FFM well above the natural limit. I wanna say, I want a refund from my roid dealer haha
I think most ppl drastically underestimate their bf. mine was 11 in bod pod. At 15 or even 18 you might still have abs. If you have a gut you r prob really 20+%
I looked at that website. I’m 5’9", 49 years old. 208 lbs and 16% body fat (hydrostatic tested, aka dunk tank), giving a FFMI of 25.9%. I guess I’m an outlier. LOL.
IOW, you can’t take these sorts of calculators too seriously. I’d never adjust my nutrition or training based on some theoretical “I’m at my genetic upper limit for FFM”. Just eat right, train like a savage and get some good sleep.
I am 20+ and that’s what I punched in. Is there more research than the initial study I referenced?
You’re on TRT though, aren’t you?
I have seen guys who look “skinny fat” and have a tested 15%bf. I’m basing my estimation off some pictures you can find online of people at different bf%, I honestly don’t really care what number it is but I want to lose maybe 5lbs. fat and gain 5lbs. muscle. Anyway, losing 25lbs. to make the 93kg class just isn’t realistic for me unless it involves an amputation or severe muscle atrophy.
Yeah, I’m on TRT at a prescribed 200mg/wk dose. So maybe that’s why, but my free-T blood levels are the high end of normal.
Just to clarify, I’m not trying to call you out for PED use or anything, I’m just noting that your situation might not apply to what we were discussing.
Anyway, there is some research out there to suggest that dosages of exogenous testosterone that put you within the normal range actually provide performance enhancement benefits beyond what you would get from a similar natural test level. That’s why the IPF (and WADA if I’m not mistaken) doesn’t allow a therapeutic use exemption for TRT.