T Nation

High Bar Squatting and Relaxing Into the Hole?


#1

I am new to lifting and use a high bar style and go extremely low, so my butt is very close to the floor. I find I can lift more weight this weight due to how I do it.

I descend moderately slowly and at the bottom I sort of relax and allow my hips to tuck under my body, I suppose a moderate amount of lumbar flexion occurs. However this position leaves me able to rocket out of the hole at a much faster pace than if I stay extremely tight all the way through the descent the slight pause and then the ascent.

So to put it into steps:

  1. Descend moderately slowly, drive knees forward and out but open hips so that my knees don't travel too far forward.

  2. Once I hit below parallel I slightly relax my body and allow my hips to move forward and down under my body.

  3. rom this position I feel really strong and stable, I keep my chest up and my eyes forward and brace my abs again and drive up as fast as I can.

Is there no room for any lumbar flexion or relaxing of the body during the squat or is this a complete no no ?


#2

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#3

[quote]Rushdie wrote:
I am new to lifting and use a high bar style and go extremely low, so my butt is very close to the floor. I find I can lift more weight this weight due to how I do it.

I descend moderately slowly and at the bottom I sort of relax and allow my hips to tuck under my body, I suppose a moderate amount of lumbar flexion occurs. However this position leaves me able to rocket out of the hole at a much faster pace than if I stay extremely tight all the way through the descent the slight pause and then the ascent.

So to put it into steps:

  1. Descend moderately slowly, drive knees forward and out but open hips so that my knees don’t travel too far forward.

  2. Once I hit below parallel I slightly relax my body and allow my hips to move forward and down under my body.

  3. rom this position I feel really strong and stable, I keep my chest up and my eyes forward and brace my abs again and drive up as fast as I can.

Is there no room for any lumbar flexion or relaxing of the body during the squat or is this a complete no no ?[/quote]

I would advise you to take a video; chances are you’re not going into spinal flexion. What you’re doing is called slingshotting and it works; the downside to it is that you neglect working on fighting the hole, so if you ever happen to lose tension on the last inches down you’ll get stuck. Look at the technique at 5:30:


#4

[quote]nighthawkz wrote:

[quote]Rushdie wrote:
I am new to lifting and use a high bar style and go extremely low, so my butt is very close to the floor. I find I can lift more weight this weight due to how I do it.

I descend moderately slowly and at the bottom I sort of relax and allow my hips to tuck under my body, I suppose a moderate amount of lumbar flexion occurs. However this position leaves me able to rocket out of the hole at a much faster pace than if I stay extremely tight all the way through the descent the slight pause and then the ascent.

So to put it into steps:

  1. Descend moderately slowly, drive knees forward and out but open hips so that my knees don’t travel too far forward.

  2. Once I hit below parallel I slightly relax my body and allow my hips to move forward and down under my body.

  3. rom this position I feel really strong and stable, I keep my chest up and my eyes forward and brace my abs again and drive up as fast as I can.

Is there no room for any lumbar flexion or relaxing of the body during the squat or is this a complete no no ?[/quote]

I would advise you to take a video; chances are you’re not going into spinal flexion. What you’re doing is called slingshotting and it works; the downside to it is that you neglect working on fighting the hole, so if you ever happen to lose tension on the last inches down you’ll get stuck. Look at the technique at 5:30:

https://youtu.be/qySRWjqctok[/quote]

Thanks, I will take a video next squat day which is Monday. Seems quite similar to mine, though I might be wrong.


#5

It’s fine. Assuming you don’t have huge tuck and it doesn’t begin very early in the squat.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to improve it BTW.


#6

If it’s working for you, no reason to change.

IMO that’s not a great way to squat, but again, if it’s working for you and your squat is going up without injury then who cares what I think?

Just bear in mind if your squat is below 400 lbs or so and you’re in the 185-220 bracket you may find this approach suddenly stops working so well when your squat does start approaching 400. But, that’s just based on my experience because I think I used to squat a little like that when I started out. It worked ok until about 370 lbs. Not beyond.


#7

[quote]MarkKO wrote:
If it’s working for you, no reason to change.

IMO that’s not a great way to squat, but again, if it’s working for you and your squat is going up without injury then who cares what I think?

Just bear in mind if your squat is below 400 lbs or so and you’re in the 185-220 bracket you may find this approach suddenly stops working so well when your squat does start approaching 400. But, that’s just based on my experience because I think I used to squat a little like that when I started out. It worked ok until about 370 lbs. Not beyond. [/quote]

I was thinking the same thing but waiting to see what weights the OP is working with. I’m still not sure exactly what the OP means. Slight lumbar flexion is okay if his abs and upper body remains braced the entire time. Relaxing the upper body at all is not beneficial in the long run.


#8

[quote]MarkKO wrote:
If it’s working for you, no reason to change.

IMO that’s not a great way to squat, but again, if it’s working for you and your squat is going up without injury then who cares what I think?

Just bear in mind if your squat is below 400 lbs or so and you’re in the 185-220 bracket you may find this approach suddenly stops working so well when your squat does start approaching 400. But, that’s just based on my experience because I think I used to squat a little like that when I started out. It worked ok until about 370 lbs. Not beyond. [/quote]

I am a beginner and this is my first week lifting, I started with the bar and 5kg on either side and have worked up to just 45kg which I got 10 reps with on my AMRAP set.

I feel like I could lift more but I am following a progression rate and working up slowly. I will be posting videos tomorrow.


#9

[quote]lift206 wrote:

[quote]MarkKO wrote:
If it’s working for you, no reason to change.

IMO that’s not a great way to squat, but again, if it’s working for you and your squat is going up without injury then who cares what I think?

Just bear in mind if your squat is below 400 lbs or so and you’re in the 185-220 bracket you may find this approach suddenly stops working so well when your squat does start approaching 400. But, that’s just based on my experience because I think I used to squat a little like that when I started out. It worked ok until about 370 lbs. Not beyond. [/quote]

I was thinking the same thing but waiting to see what weights the OP is working with. I’m still not sure exactly what the OP means. Slight lumbar flexion is okay if his abs and upper body remains braced the entire time. Relaxing the upper body at all is not beneficial in the long run.[/quote]

So is an “olympic style” squat not the same as a powerlifting squat with regards to keeping the lower body tight? Is it just the upper body that should be tight and the lower body can be somewhat relaxed?


#10

[quote]Rushdie wrote:
I am a beginner and this is my first week lifting, I started with the bar and 5kg on either side and have worked up to just 45kg which I got 10 reps with on my AMRAP set.

I feel like I could lift more but I am following a progression rate and working up slowly. I will be posting videos tomorrow.[/quote]

In that case - do not become emotionally attached to what you perceive as “your” style of squatting. Keep an open mind and be ready to make adjustments to your technique as you progress.


#11

Mine seem to be much more like the Olympic squats than the powerlifting squats, they don’t seem to go very far down on the powerlifting ones at all.


#12

Just bought this guys book, I want to work towards this type of form:


#13

[quote]Rushdie wrote:

[quote]MarkKO wrote:
If it’s working for you, no reason to change.

IMO that’s not a great way to squat, but again, if it’s working for you and your squat is going up without injury then who cares what I think?

Just bear in mind if your squat is below 400 lbs or so and you’re in the 185-220 bracket you may find this approach suddenly stops working so well when your squat does start approaching 400. But, that’s just based on my experience because I think I used to squat a little like that when I started out. It worked ok until about 370 lbs. Not beyond. [/quote]

I am a beginner and this is my first week lifting, I started with the bar and 5kg on either side and have worked up to just 45kg which I got 10 reps with on my AMRAP set.

I feel like I could lift more but I am following a progression rate and working up slowly. I will be posting videos tomorrow.[/quote]

In that case I would strongly recommend changing how you squat. You can get away with almost anything with 45 kg on the bar. That’ll change very quickly when you’re squatting even 70 kg.

Focus on keeping as rigid a trunk as possible, from the back of head down. These are the steps that work for me, compiled from tips given me by some heavy squatters and good coaches. I find it helps to do them in order, but you’ll figure out your own way. It starts before you unrack.

  • set the bar on your back (low or high, your call)
  • pull the bar down into your back, try to bend it over your back. Squeeze the bar.
  • take some air into your belly and squeeze down on it.
  • arch the bar out of the rack
  • walk the bar out. Take as small a step as possible.
  • let the bar settle
  • drive your head hard into the bar
  • take as much air into your belly as possible and squeeze hard
  • pull the bar harder down into your back
  • pull your elbows under the bar
  • start your descent - depending which works for you either drop straight down pushing your knees out OR pull your butt back pushing your knees out and pushing the floor apart with your feet (that works better for wider stance IMO which is what I do)
  • stay tight during your descent, which will generally mean slowing it down a bit
  • when you hit depth reverse direction fast leading with your chest and keeping your elbows pulled under the bar while driving your head into the bar and pushing your knees out.

#14

[quote]Rushdie wrote:
Mine seem to be much more like the Olympic squats than the powerlifting squats, they don’t seem to go very far down on the powerlifting ones at all.[/quote]
The “powerlifting” squats performed in that video are all done when competing in one specific powerlifting fed. Other federations require much deeper squats as well as walking out the weight.


#15

[quote]Rushdie wrote:
So is an “olympic style” squat not the same as a powerlifting squat with regards to keeping the lower body tight? Is it just the upper body that should be tight and the lower body can be somewhat relaxed?[/quote]

What you will see in common across all heavy squatters is their ability to brace their abs, pull their shoulders and the bar down, and drive with strong hips.

The stance width and speed of lift is based on the individual. The tendency to use more hamstring or quad strength is not as important as the above. A fast or slow squat has nothing to do with how relaxed a lifter is because I can guarantee you that their upper body and hips remain tight to keep their position stable throughout the lift.


#16

Just a few things…

  1. This is probably the most important point I will make. You have NO IDEA what squat style will be your best. You’re too new to lifting, and that’s not enough weight to determine anything. The lumbar flexion you’re currently experiencing likely will not be good for you when the bar is loaded with a reasonably heavy weight, assuming the flexion is as significant as you described it. ‘relaxing’ in the hole is generally not a good thing. Rebounding out of the hole can be useful. I use it. But it is so much more difficult to do at heavy weights.

  2. At no point have you clearly defined your goals in this thread. What are they? Are you trying to be a weightlifter? a powerlifter? Do you care about your 1rm squat? Do you want to get big? strong? Athletic? Some combination of those? You need to find the path of least resistance towards YOUR goals. If your goal is to achieve the highest 1rm squat you can achieve, your approach is likely poor. If your goal specifically includes extraordinarily deep squats for whatever reason, then your approach may be reasonable.

  3. As kpsnap mentioned, a ‘powerlifting’ squat generally will not actually look like the video you posted. That’s really a shitty comparison. Whoever put that video together clearly had an agenda to make powerlifting look stupid, and glorify olympic lifting. I’m a powerlifter, and I recently posted a 240kg squat in my log. It looks MUCH more like the ‘olympic’ squats than the ‘powerlifting’ squats in the video. And as a side note, there’s actually no such thing as an olympic squat anyway. The back squat is not performed in olympic competition.


#17

[quote]Rushdie wrote:
Just bought this guys book, I want to work towards this type of form:

this guy suggests avoiding lumbar flexion. this video does not match what you described yourself doing.


#18

[quote]flipcollar wrote:

[quote]Rushdie wrote:
Just bought this guys book, I want to work towards this type of form:

this guy suggests avoiding lumbar flexion. this video does not match what you described yourself doing.[/quote]

Yeah that is what I mean, I am trying to change my squat to something like this. I am not really interested in powerlifting but just lifting weights. It is becoming a sort of hobby for me and I would love to be able to be able to squat deeply with good form and with heavy weights.


#19

[quote]Rushdie wrote:
to be able to squat deeply with good form and with heavy weights
[/quote]

Just realise that the definition of’good form’ will depend on who you ask.