T Nation

Help With My First Meet

So I’m entering my first meet on July 21, 2007.
Stats:
Ht: 5’9
Wt: 192 lbs

I’m having trouble with my squat, specifically, trouble staying upright and falling forward too much. Any advice on this? I know Dave Tate says do more good mornings, but my good mornings aren’t bad.

I currently:
Box squat = 365, 3 weeks ago
Good morning = 285, about month ago
Squat = ?

Today I worked up to 315 on squat, and did 3 reps, 2 reps, 1 rep.

Then I did speed box squats w/ 225 for 2 reps.

Ok, I need help. After reading some old articles, Dave Tate suggests only squatting in competition. Should I just box squat from now until the meet and not squat at all?

What about different max effort exercises ? What else can I do besides Good Mornings?

And should I train the deadlift, maybe cycle it, or not train at all?

Deadlift = 465, as of last week.
Rack Pull from inch below knee = 655, several weeks ago.

My weekness is off the floor, as demonstrated by a nearly 200lb gap between pulling from the floor and pulling from the rack.

My weakness is getting the bar past mid shin. Once past mid-shin, I can drag up and over my knee, and once over the knee, I can lock it out. But I have to get off the floor and past mid-shin. Suggestions? I can’t find any exercises for off-the-floor weakness, just lock-out weakness (like rack pulls, and deadlifting w/ bands).

Will just more box squatting help my off-the-floor deadlift strength?

I know this is a long post, but I really appreciate any advice/suggestions anyone is willing to give. Thanks in advance.

I guess I’m looking for exercise suggestions and frequency on what can bring up the weaknesses I’ve described.

If you need clarification on what I’m asking about, or what my weakness/what I’m doing wrong, just ask and I’ll try and be more specific.

Thanks,
Travis

Well I don’t agree with the not squatting/deadlifting advice considering you don’t seem to be proficient in either lift. That’s not a knock on you, just an observation based on your numbers. I’m a big believer in specificity training as you get close to a meet. That means replicating the lifts as much as you can to how you will lift in the meet. That means squatting more and deadlifting more.

On the squat, it’s impossible to say why you’re leaning forward without video, but my guess could be weakness in the midsection. You really have to concentrate and keep you chest out and back straight. If that’s too difficult then you have a weak point somewhere and I would focus on that between now and july. You’ve got plenty of time to bring up your weaknesses.

As far as the deadlift. If you’re weak off the floor try pulling while standing on a 4 to 6 inch block. Box squatting alone isn’t going to get you there. You need your hips and hamstrings to replicate the natural movement off the floor. If you don’t deadlift between now and the meet you will get no stronger off the floor.

It sounds to me that you are having issues with your posterior chain firing. Your rack pull is good, meaning your mid back is strong, but off the floor you hamstrings don’t seem to be able to get the job done.

You could be getting deep on your squat, bring your ass up first and moving the weight with your back. Just a guess.

You have a competition coming up where you must deadlift, squat, and bench. You should be deadlifting, squatting, and benching prior to competition. Make sure you train these lifts as if they will be the actual thing, training the pause on bench with someone giving commands.

Deadlifting off of a box will help you with the initial acceleration, make sure that when you tighten up you get a massive pull, the faster you get the bar moving the easier it will be to get it past your sticking point. Train real full squat, training well below parallel for a couple sessions will help with getting your posterior chain involved. Make sure you are keeping your weight on your heels, squeezing your hips forward as you keep your knees pointed towards your toes, not caved in.

This is mostly guess work, a video would clear alot of things up.

Travis, I’d agree with the deficit deadlifts, but I’d also throw some deep olympic style squats in there as well. The narrow stance and the depth will have good carryover.

I’d keep DLing up to the meet, but taper towards the end.

Also try box squatting at different heights, I think there is good carryover there as well.

What do you think your max squat is right now? And how is your speed on the DE squats?

Thanks for the replies.

As far as the squat problem: when trying to “sit back” and imitate that position, I find myself leaning forward too much. Another thing, when I rise, my hips start rising before my chest, but I’ve been working to correct this by pushing back against the bar first, then rising.

It might be that my abs are weak, but I think it has more to do with me executing perfect form on every rep of every lift.

What do you guys recommend that I do for ME and DE days and how should I incorporate both squats and deadlifts into a program?

To be honest, I’ve never done a “real” westside program; in the past I’ve just cycled the ME days and then done repetitions or various upper/lower exercises on the DE days. I’ve never trained for speed.

Could you guys recommend a good pre-comp routine I should use?

Again, thanks for your time.

Another thing:

Until just recently, I used to perform deep Olympic squats. I could hit 315 for 2 going deep and narrow stance. That box squat at 365 that I listed was my first day of w i d e stance squatting (about 3 weeks ago).

Now that I squat super wide, I basically feel “it” in my low back, the bottom of my ass, and high up in between my thighs, whereas from deep Olympic squats, my glutes and quads would be sore. Power squats don’t seem to work my legs at all. Is this a problem? Should I be feeling it more in my legs? I pretty much feel it only in my glutes and low back.

One more question: supplemental work.

What supplemental work would you guys suggest (I don’t have a reverse hyper or GHR) and on what days (ME vs. DE).

Thanks a lot.

[quote]TravisCS84 wrote:
Thanks for the replies.

As far as the squat problem: when trying to “sit back” and imitate that position, I find myself leaning forward too much. Another thing, when I rise, my hips start rising before my chest, but I’ve been working to correct this by pushing back against the bar first, then rising.

[/quote]

Front squats would go a long way to eliminating this problem. Pretty much impossible to lean forward, or to let your hips rise first when front squatting.

[quote]TravisCS84 wrote:
Another thing:

Until just recently, I used to perform deep Olympic squats. I could hit 315 for 2 going deep and narrow stance. That box squat at 365 that I listed was my first day of w i d e stance squatting (about 3 weeks ago).

Now that I squat super wide, I basically feel “it” in my low back, the bottom of my ass, and high up in between my thighs, whereas from deep Olympic squats, my glutes and quads would be sore. Power squats don’t seem to work my legs at all. Is this a problem? Should I be feeling it more in my legs? I pretty much feel it only in my glutes and low back.

One more question: supplemental work.

What supplemental work would you guys suggest (I don’t have a reverse hyper or GHR) and on what days (ME vs. DE).

Thanks a lot.
[/quote]

You’re definitely correct on this sharetrader, but Travis i wouldn’t recommend front squats this close to a meet. Way too much shoulder compression that’s just going to hamper your bench and too much variance in lower body mechanics this close to a meet.

Save the front squats for your next training cycle and for now work in some more narrow stance atg squats or deep pause squats with a narrow stance.

A couple questions travis: 1) what fed are you competing in? and what gear if any are you wearing? Because this will have some effect on how you should be training.

[quote]TravisCS84 wrote:
Thanks for the replies.

As far as the squat problem: when trying to “sit back” and imitate that position, I find myself leaning forward too much. Another thing, when I rise, my hips start rising before my chest, but I’ve been working to correct this by pushing back against the bar first, then rising.

It might be that my abs are weak, but I think it has more to do with me executing perfect form on every rep of every lift.

What do you guys recommend that I do for ME and DE days and how should I incorporate both squats and deadlifts into a program?

To be honest, I’ve never done a “real” westside program; in the past I’ve just cycled the ME days and then done repetitions or various upper/lower exercises on the DE days. I’ve never trained for speed.

Could you guys recommend a good pre-comp routine I should use?

Again, thanks for your time. [/quote]

What I can’t help but think to ask is what is your body like? As in do you have short legs, long torso, and long arms. Jsut by looking at your numbers, this makes sence to me.

I ask becaseu long torsoed people (like me), also long legged, do ahve trouble ‘falling foreward’ when squatting, its just pure geometry, to help this, do waht you were thinking, stronger abs, as soon as I started doing cable crunches and otehr weighted abs exercises this problem is minimal now and only comes up under final sets and reps of max attempts (to be expected anyway).

And yes, practice form.

as for encorporating squats and deadlifts in Max effort and DE/RE (reps), i currently alternate in 4 week blocks; ME Squat variation, DE/RE DL variation for a month; then the next 4 week block ME DL variation, DE/RE squat variation. So far this has worked very well for me. Neitehr lift suffers and both keep getting better.

[quote]TravisCS84 wrote:
Another thing:

Until just recently, I used to perform deep Olympic squats. I could hit 315 for 2 going deep and narrow stance. That box squat at 365 that I listed was my first day of w i d e stance squatting (about 3 weeks ago).

Now that I squat super wide, I basically feel “it” in my low back, the bottom of my ass, and high up in between my thighs, whereas from deep Olympic squats, my glutes and quads would be sore. Power squats don’t seem to work my legs at all. Is this a problem? Should I be feeling it more in my legs? I pretty much feel it only in my glutes and low back.

One more question: supplemental work.

What supplemental work would you guys suggest (I don’t have a reverse hyper or GHR) and on what days (ME vs. DE).

Thanks a lot.
[/quote]

Not “feeling” it in your quads isn’t a problem unless you can squat more with a closer stance.

You should Sqaut in the stance that is
A) most comfortable for your joints and flexability (more flexability is ALWAYS good) and
B)the stance you can lift the most in, after all, its the number in the meet that conts, not the stance you do it in. you dont get more credit for squatting close or wide.

as for supp work, do you have a 45 degree back raise? you can set up some bands (get some bands if you dont already) anchored on a dumbell on the floor in front of you, make sure the 45 raise is stable and secure 9maybe have someone stand on the back of it, thats waht we do at my gym) and do dynamic back raises.

Also, look up “natural GH raises” they arn’t perfect, but they do the trick in a pinch, again, this is what we do at my gym. I’v also found that long deep walking lunges do wonders for my DL by getting my hams and gluts to fire and be stonger.

good luck in your first meet!

The meet I am competing in is AAU.

So far, I am completely raw.

I am thinking about using a belt in the competition, so that means I need to start training with a belt, at least on work sets.

My body type…hard to describe. I have a short torso. (If I pull my pants up tight around waist, I look ridiculous). Big glutes/upper legs, tiny calves, decent back and shoulders/traps, arms kinda small. Probably ~15% bf.

How do you guys recommend I train?

If I should be squatting, deadlifting, benching every week, should I squat one day, dead another, or should my ME workout switch be squats and deads?

Any suggestions?
What rep range should I be in? I assume I shouldn’t max out every week on squats, so should I be doing rest/pause for 5x5? heavy doubles? cycling between heavy deads and squats?

Any advice is much appreciated. Thank you.

[quote]TravisCS84 wrote:
The meet I am competing in is AAU.

So far, I am completely raw.

I am thinking about using a belt in the competition, so that means I need to start training with a belt, at least on work sets.

My body type…hard to describe. I have a short torso. (If I pull my pants up tight around waist, I look ridiculous). Big glutes/upper legs, tiny calves, decent back and shoulders/traps, arms kinda small. Probably ~15% bf.

How do you guys recommend I train?

If I should be squatting, deadlifting, benching every week, should I squat one day, dead another, or should my ME workout switch be squats and deads?

Any suggestions?
What rep range should I be in? I assume I shouldn’t max out every week on squats, so should I be doing rest/pause for 5x5? heavy doubles? cycling between heavy deads and squats?

Any advice is much appreciated. Thank you.
[/quote]

Well considering AAU judges require you to bury your squat, I would lighten up on the box squats and switch to deep pause squats and a narrower stance squat below parallel. And yes start wearing the belt now so you learn how to use it properly.

With less than two months to go your training should really center around 4 or 5 movements: flat bench, back squats (below parallel), elevated deadlifts, rack pulls and good mornings.

Rack pulls an inch below the knee are too high for you considering your weak point. Move the pin down to the top of the shin area. start doing regular deadlifts off a 100 lb plate or 4 to 6 inch platform if you have one.

The 5x5 and rest pause strategy is fine to stick with if that’s what you feel comfortable with. Nothing wrong with that. personally I would start working in heavy singles for the next 4 weeks. And then the final 3 or 4 weeks go back to a rest/pause or 5x5 scheme for conditioning, but that’s just me. Do what works for you.

As far as supplemental work goes I would keep it to a minimum this close to a meet. You do need to get some type of upper back and lat work in there such as bent rows, seated cable rows, pull ups or t-bar rows with the chest pad. And work in some tricep exercises.

If you’re falling forward in the squat, you can try zercher squats. If you have a cambered bar or safety squat bar you can do some with that.

You seriously do rack pulls with 150% of your full deadlift? Louie Simmons wrote that it’s not recommended to go past 110% because your technique will change. I’d recommend video taping a rack pull and deadlift to see if you’re setting up differently.

Also I’d recommend deficit deadlifts standing on something 1-4 inches tall (use several different heights if you can). It’s a bit late however to ask for advice. If I deadlift heavy more than once every 3 weeks my performance suffers.

There are some articles on westside-barbell.com that can help you, especially Pre-Meet training.

[quote]TravisCS84 wrote:

Could you guys recommend a good pre-comp routine I should use?

[/quote]

A Sheiko routine could take care of a lot of your problems at once. You’d basically do the competition lifts for 4 weeks in a row. If your meet is in about 8-9 weeks you could start out 6 weeks before the meet with the beginner Sheiko template, take 1 week off and deload and taper up the week before the meet.

Untill you start your Sheiko routine you could do some Bill Starr 5x5 or Korte 3x3. Find out your maxes and use them in the following Sheiko template.

Travis,

I would not attempt to do the shieko routine it has insane amounts of volume. A better option would be 3-5. Also why are you doing DE and ME days? Your focus should probably be to get stonger period. I am not knocking you as you are stronger than I am.

Try doing lunges before your first set of squats with squat jumps in between sets of squats and see what that does for you. To get stronger off the floor in the deadlift besides what the other guys have written you could try to incorporate bands.

Good luck!
biggun7997

Travis,

You are 3 weeks out. You need to be practicing the meet lifts in meet form. You don’t need to go above your openers but practice is the best pay off right now.

Front squats, safety squat bar squats, pull off blocks are all great advice.

Practice meet setup and squat commands. Practice meet BP setup and commands. DL do a lot of speed work off blocks.

Let us know ho meet goes then wec an get started.

Make your openers!
jack

Hey, thanks a lot, however, I’ve got a little more than 3 weeks as the meet isn’t until July 21.

But I’m taking everyone’s advice, and I’m going to start stepping it up w/ the meet lifts and deadlifting off blocks.

I’ve only been squatting for a year , so I’m no veteran by any means . but I didnt see footwear mentioned yet , so I’ll chime in . when I switched to “Chucks” , I found it easier to stay back in my stance , as well as preventing my feet from sliding to the outside of the shoe .

food for thought

Ok, Guys, I need some HELP!

I appreciate everyone’s suggestions on exercise selection, etc. but what I need to know is sets/reps/frequency/intensity, when to switch it up and when to hit pre-meet prep.

I don’t know if maybe it was unclear when the meet is, but it is July 21, 2007. So, as of today, I have 7 weeks.

I workout 4 days a week:
Monday: Heavy bench + rows, tris, bis
Wed: Heavy Squat + assistance
Fri: Light(er) bench + pull-ups, tris
Sat: Light(er) squat + assistance

I am BURNT OUT on squats. My last 3 squat workouts have been shit and they are getting worse. I have to cycle in something new. I am getting weaker. 315 feels so HEAVY. That is pathetic. I’ve got to do something else besides the meet lifts.

I was going to make the second workouts of the week DE days, to avoid burnout w/ heavy weights, but then some other poster said “Why are you doing DE?”, so I’ve yet to begin that.

So everyone has advised just hit the meets lifts, but exactly does that mean? Does that mean squat twice a week? Does that mean squat twice a week and deadlift once a week? Full bench press twice a week? Please, could somebody clarify exactly what I should be doing?

I’m thinking about going back to a max effort squat and bench days where I continually cycle the exercises and don’t get burnt out. Is this a bad idea?

I can’t handle squatting and benching twice a week for EIGHT WEEKS!!!

As you guys might be able to tell from the post, I am freaking out, I am pissed off, I am nervous, and I feel like I am going down hill, as I am already burnt out on the meet lifts, I feel like I am getting weaker, and I feel a lack of motivation.

Example:
Today, Saturday, June 2, 2007 –

I went in to hit a Repetition method squat; I figured I’d load up275 and try and hit some higher-rep sets (hoping for maybe ~10-ish).

Maybe I’m just a pussy, but I did 6. Yup.

So thinking maybe that’s too heavy, I lowered it to 185, and did DE 12 sets of 2. Not bad. I’m thinking maybe doing DE squats if you guys insist that I shouldn’t drop squats.

Last Wed. I was going to do heavy, maybe 4x5 or 5x5 or something, and I couldn’t even manage to do that. Pathetic.

I’m sorry for sounding like idiot, but I need some advice, I need basically like a program for the next 7 weeks.

I found Mike Robertson’s squat article, and it had to do with cycling 5x5 at various intensities. Should I start that? at all? now? or closer to meet?

Anything guys…I know I’m rambling…Please help me out!

Thanks so much!

Have you had a deload lately? 4 days a week with two being compound heavy movements can take a toll on you. Espicially if you have been getting stronger in the past and now you aren’t seeing anything.

My advice would be move the 4x to only 2x this next week, and keep a couple exercises from each of your upper/lower days, but cuttin down the volume and intensity of them. Nothing to failure.

After the deload wk get back to it and see how you feel.