T Nation

Front Squat Carryover

[quote]Modi wrote:
Anyone have thoughts on a modified box squat technique?[/quote]

Stack some plates and use them as a box.

I think I’ve gotten a lot of carry-over to the PL squat and the deadlift from doing front squats. I don’t like wearing a belt and I compete that way. I think the front squat really works the core and teaches you to stay upright and arched which is good for deadlifting and squats. For me, as my front squat goes up so does the PL squat.

A few comments.

  1. I watched your squat video and do not see anything suggesting a glaring deficiency in your PC strength. Overall, your squats looked decent.

I would be curious to have Vandalay point out specific things in the squats you posted which lead him to this opinion beyond articles he has read and the old mantra, “wider is better.” To me this is a pretty safe statement on this forum, but not necessarily one with much merit.

  1. Moving your stance out and box squatting may or may not be helpful. If you plan to continue competing RAW, I would state moderate stance with an emphasis on full range free squatting would probably be a better choice. If you want to lift multiply in a federation where squat depth is not a concern, box squats may be a good addition. At any rate, you need to find a balance that works for you. I would certainly not abandon one for the other.

  2. I am concerned that in 4 days you have basically thrown the baby out with the bath water. Bottom line, at your current strength level total leg strength is still an important component of your training and should not be deemphasized.

Additionally, the mistake that a lot of lifters at your level make is they never stay with a program long enough to build predictability into it and make an honest assessment if it is working or not. At your experience/strength level I would recommend a program with more structure as opposed to moving to a pure conjugate method with less.

  1. Whoever said front squats are not a mainstay of big squatters and pullers must be spending all their time reading training logs on elitefts.com and not much time in the broader community. I know of MANY top 5 USAPL/IPF lifters who regularly utilize front squats as a component of their training. In fact, it has lead us to to include them in basically every squatting session.

  2. Having a training day dedicated to them on an ongoing basis may or may not be optimal, you need to be the judge, but I would state that they make a solid contribution to PL training and I would not eliminate them altogether. Perhaps use them as a second movement after back squats for higher reps (6-8).

I, for one, would not be willing to concede they have run their course of usefulness in your training. You just may need to take a different approach to them in the context of your broader training.

Wow, it seems like every post I read has seemingly good advice, and I feel like I am flip flopping like a fish out of water.

By conjugate method, I mean ME and DE days for Bench and Squat. If that’s incorrect use of the term, that shows how new I am to Powerlifting, forgive my ignorance.

I did widen my squat stance today and it actually felt quite good. I was going to do some triples and doubles, but was feeling good, so my workout with a wide stance to just below parallel went like this:

135x8,225x6,275x4,315x3,355x2,385x1,405x1,425x1 (veins popping in head/neck/shoulders & slightly purple!)

The wide stance felt much easier on everything. I pulled the bar down hard across my back, set a big arch, took a huge belly breath and descended just below parallel, trying to spread the floor. When I hit bottom I drove my head back, focused on the glutes and pushing up as fast as possible.

I think I added 55lbs to my latest PR just by reading and listening.

I still think my hammies are weak, so I am going to work on that, but I do squat beltless, so maybe that’s where the benefit to front squat is, but as an assistance exercise instead.

I’m deloading next week which I haven’t really done for about 9 weeks(actually going on vacation). And will take as much reading information with me as possible, to lay out my new plan.

I really appreciate everyone’s input, and while much of it contradicts someone else’s ideas, it has really gotten me thinking.

Please keep it coming guys, not just front squat, but I am a sponge for PL information right now.

[quote]Modi wrote:

By conjugate method, I mean ME and DE days for Bench and Squat. If that’s incorrect use of the term, that shows how new I am to Powerlifting[/quote]

ARRGGGH what the fuck are you doing trying to experiment with westside for if you’re new to powerlifting dude???

Honestly, you need to seperate “powerlifting” from “WPO”. KK has done a great job publicising his fed at the expense of diluting pretty much everything that makes powerlifting great.

Dave Tate has done much the same as regards to training.

Why does no body on this site ever mention IPF or USAPL events. I guess it’s because it’s a European dominated sport. I guess people just like to see juiced guys half squat in multiply gear instead.

[quote]Hanley wrote:
Modi wrote:

By conjugate method, I mean ME and DE days for Bench and Squat. If that’s incorrect use of the term, that shows how new I am to Powerlifting

ARRGGGH what the fuck are you doing trying to experiment with westside for if you’re new to powerlifting dude???

Honestly, you need to seperate “powerlifting” from “WPO”. KK has done a great job publicising his fed at the expense of diluting pretty much everything that makes powerlifting great.

Dave Tate has done much the same as regards to training.

Why does no body on this site ever mention IPF or USAPL events. I guess it’s because it’s a European dominated sport. I guess people just like to see juiced guys half squat in multiply gear instead.[/quote]

Obviously at this point I am all ears. Please tell what you think pros and cons are for Westside.

For the record, I am natural and compete RAW. I don’t train with any wraps/straps/suits/shirts/belts…I have nothing against them, but that’s how I train and want to compete. So I’m open to ideas.

But if you think Westside is junk (I have no idea since I haven’t had any experience with it), please tell me why, and what approach you think is more appropriate. Thanks.

[quote]apwsearch wrote:

I would be curious to have Vandalay point out specific things in the squats you posted which lead him to this opinion beyond articles he has read and the old mantra, “wider is better.” To me this is a pretty safe statement on this forum, but not necessarily one with much merit.

[/quote]

The video he posted looked alright. And I didn’t say to radically change his stance to ultra-wide, especially if he is going to lift without gear. I suggested box squatting as something for him to try out. I recommended this out of results I have gotten and seen from other lifters.

I never said wider is better. Everyone needs to find a stance that works best for them. Training with a different stance is not a bad idea though. I squat with a wider stance in competition, but train both close and wide stances.

What a convenient time for a thread like this. I started front squatting about 3 weeks ago and I can honestly say that it is my favorite exercise at the moment. I used hands crossed for about a week then switched to olympic style, which in my opinion is much more comfortable.

My goals are mostly larger quads and pure leg strength. I’m front squatting 3x a week, varying intensities of course.

[quote]Hanley wrote:
Modi wrote:

By conjugate method, I mean ME and DE days for Bench and Squat. If that’s incorrect use of the term, that shows how new I am to Powerlifting

ARRGGGH what the fuck are you doing trying to experiment with westside for if you’re new to powerlifting dude???

Honestly, you need to seperate “powerlifting” from “WPO”. KK has done a great job publicising his fed at the expense of diluting pretty much everything that makes powerlifting great.

Dave Tate has done much the same as regards to training.

Why does no body on this site ever mention IPF or USAPL events. I guess it’s because it’s a European dominated sport. I guess people just like to see juiced guys half squat in multiply gear instead.[/quote]

He’s totaly right, Westside is complicated and over rated, stick to german 3x3 or russian block training.
Basicly what I’m saying here is to stay the fuck away from Louie Simmons and Dave Tate and anything to do with Westside Barbell.

Besides those guys promote the idea of outragously wide squat stances and lifting gear which is illegal in most federations namely the more respectfull ones such as the IPF.

Crashball

[quote]crashball wrote:

Basicly what I’m saying here is to stay the fuck away from Louie Simmons and Dave Tate and anything to do with Westside Barbell.

Besides those guys promote the idea of outragously wide squat stances and lifting gear which is illegal in most federations namely the more respectfull ones such as the IPF.

Crashball[/quote]

That is not what I said.

[quote]vandalay15 wrote:
apwsearch wrote:

I would be curious to have Vandalay point out specific things in the squats you posted which lead him to this opinion beyond articles he has read and the old mantra, “wider is better.” To me this is a pretty safe statement on this forum, but not necessarily one with much merit.

The video he posted looked alright. And I didn’t say to radically change his stance to ultra-wide, especially if he is going to lift without gear. I suggested box squatting as something for him to try out. I recommended this out of results I have gotten and seen from other lifters.

I never said wider is better. Everyone needs to find a stance that works best for them. Training with a different stance is not a bad idea though. I squat with a wider stance in competition, but train both close and wide stances.[/quote]

Alright. Thanks for the clarification. Happy training.

[quote]Modi wrote:

But if you think Westside is junk (I have no idea since I haven’t had any experience with it), please tell me why, and what approach you think is more appropriate. Thanks.[/quote]

Well, junk is a harsh word. Westside might or might not work for a beginner or intermediate. I know for sure it didn’t work for me and I’m not the only one with this experience. The WB training method does’t make much sense for beginners and intermediates.

You are better off with high volume varying intensity Sheiko or Smolov/Feduleyev training methods. There are various reports on this forum that those work with quite impressive results.

Modi

given that you intend to lift raw, I suggest that you check out prorams promoted by experienced raw lifters. Try http://www.jackalsgym.com/index.html

Great thread guys!

Hanley can you give us a little more details on your front squat cycle mentioned earlier (ie. set/rep ranges, sessions per week…).

[quote]sharetrader wrote:
Modi

given that you intend to lift raw, I suggest that you check out prorams promoted by experienced raw lifters. Try http://www.jackalsgym.com/index.html
[/quote]

Thanks, I’ll check it out.

[quote]Ruggerlife wrote:
Great thread guys!

Hanley can you give us a little more details on your front squat cycle mentioned earlier (ie. set/rep ranges, sessions per week…).[/quote]

3x a week, Medium, light, heavy.

Medium and light days done beltless. Heavy day in a belt. Not too sure of percentages but maybe 70-80% for 6’s on the medium days and 80-90 on the heavy days for 3-6 reps. Moving up in weight for 2/3 weeks, then dropping back and building again.

Modi, in my opinion, westside is too stucturless for someone who doesn’t know exactly what they’re doing and doesn’t have a good coach around them. I know of 1 guy in Ireland who moved over to Ohio for several months to train with Louie, and still makes a visit over every year. The guys he coaches are the only ones I know of in Ireland getting good results with Westside.

Anyone else I’ve heard of trying to use it ends up injured or in a rut. Most people jsut don’t have the experience to effecivtively utilise it.

At it’s core, conjugated periodization is a great concept, one that makes perfect sense. But when you have guys who don’t know how to bench slopping around trying to DE benches nothing good comes of it. Same with guys who think the ONLY muscles involved in the squat is the P-Chain.

I wonder if people even realise that Dave Tate and Louie Simmons trained using the western periodization method for 10+ years before switcihng over. I think DT got up to a 500lb bench before making the move.

I think that we’re very close to the stage where the “Westside Methods” no longer become a training style or system, but instead a marketing veichle for places like EliteFTS to sell more GHR’s and reverse hypers etc (because that’s is the only way you can get a big squat after all.)

Hanley,
Thanks for the reply, great food for thought, and I appreciate your response.

Now that I’m done hijacking my own thread, here’s what I’m thinking…

I have made some pretty solid gains in the past two months. Unfortunately, I also did a fairly major overhaul of my program two months ago, so I can’t attribute the gains to just one thing. From a scientific point of view, that would be a pretty poor experiment.

However, since I’ve made some real progress, I am not about to completely give up what I’ve been doing until I have a good reason too. So…

My plan, which of course is subject to change, is to keep front squats in the program, but make them an accessory exercise. I am contemplating cycling them in and out of the program in exchange for overhead squats. I think I would benefit from having both of them in there as accessory lifts.

While I don’t think my quads are a weakness, I do feel like doing beltless front squats have really strengthened my core, and forced me into a more upright position, which has carried over to benefit my squat.

After deloading next week (on a beach somewhere warm in the south), I will have a full plan formulated. I’ve already got a ton of ideas, and I make my best gains when I have a solid plan.

I’ll probably start a new thread outlining the plan when I get back from my mini-bulk/deload week.

Thanks for the advice so far everyone!

[quote]Hanley wrote:
Ruggerlife wrote:
Great thread guys!

Hanley can you give us a little more details on your front squat cycle mentioned earlier (ie. set/rep ranges, sessions per week…).

3x a week, Medium, light, heavy.

Medium and light days done beltless. Heavy day in a belt. Not too sure of percentages but maybe 70-80% for 6’s on the medium days and 80-90 on the heavy days for 3-6 reps. Moving up in weight for 2/3 weeks, then dropping back and building again.

Modi, in my opinion, westside is too stucturless for someone who doesn’t know exactly what they’re doing and doesn’t have a good coach around them. I know of 1 guy in Ireland who moved over to Ohio for several months to train with Louie, and still makes a visit over every year. The guys he coaches are the only ones I know of in Ireland getting good results with Westside.

Anyone else I’ve heard of trying to use it ends up injured or in a rut. Most people jsut don’t have the experience to effecivtively utilise it.

At it’s core, conjugated periodization is a great concept, one that makes perfect sense. But when you have guys who don’t know how to bench slopping around trying to DE benches nothing good comes of it. Same with guys who think the ONLY muscles involved in the squat is the P-Chain.

I wonder if people even realise that Dave Tate and Louie Simmons trained using the western periodization method for 10+ years before switcihng over. I think DT got up to a 500lb bench before making the move.

I think that we’re very close to the stage where the “Westside Methods” no longer become a training style or system, but instead a marketing veichle for places like EliteFTS to sell more GHR’s and reverse hypers etc (because that’s is the only way you can get a big squat after all.)[/quote]

I hope there comes a day when you realize that it is silly to say things like this. Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t you start a thread a few months ago talking about how you wanted to move across the Atlantic and train at Westside because you wanted to train with the best?

What have you ever done in powerlifting?
My guess would be less than Louie Simmons.

I’m still unclear on why you want to change something that appears to be working for you? If you go down deep on front squats you will work the glutes and hams. There is plenty of assistance work you can do to hit those areas specifically. Why do you feel it’s necessary to now change your stance and go to the Westside method?

Like you, I compete in the AAU and I compete RAW (not even a belt). Why would you want to follow a training template such as the conjugate method taught by the Westside gang when none of Louie’s disciples trains or competes the way that you do? If you want to use multi-ply gear, squat in a monolift, do “banana split” squats to parallel or above as is most cases, start using medical “gear” then switch to that training protocol.

I am still waiting to see any Westside lifters show up at an AAU or USAPL meet and compete fair and square. It’s not going to happen my friend. Do you want to stay in the AAU? If you think by squatting in a mid-range to narrow stance squat setup that you won’t be putting yourself possibly in a position to squat big, then I recommend that you take a look at some of the past greats that have set world records by using this stance (Fred Hatfield, Kirk Kirwoski).

Do the appropriate assistance work needed to strengthen up your weak areas and continue with the style that you know. Trying to make something work (very wide stance squats) because others do it seems pointless and meaningless.

In my earlier post I told you that the front squat has helped me in my carry-over to the PL squat. You know what else helped? Doing arched-back good mornings, Romanian deadlifts, etc., for posterior work as well. My raw PL squat before I started doing front squats was 501. When I started doing front squats I eventually worked up to 335x5. That in addition to the other moved my raw PL squat up to 540.

Maybe you could help make it clear why you feel that a complete change is needed? I agree with what APWSEARCH said, “You have thrown the baby out with the bath water.”