T Nation

Low Bar Squat Critique


#1

This is my first time low bar squatting so I just want to make sure I'm doing it right. I took a brake from olympic squatting and haven't squatted consistently for a few weeks, because I was just trying to give my lower back a rest. I feel like low bar squats might be what I need to get me some higher squat numbers.


#2

By “low bar” I assume you mean lower on your back, more across the middle of the traps as opposed to on top of the traps - I recently made this change and my squat numbers have sky rocketed. Due to surgery on my right achilles tendon, I have drastically reduced flexibility in that calf so when I go down for a sqaut, my heal likes to pull off the ground on my right leg. I found that moving the bar down on my back really alleviated that problem, almost all together, and has kept me flat footed all the way down.

This may sound stupid, but with the bar lower down, I feel much more “solid” all around and more well balanced, - the increased balance and stability makes me fell almost like i’m doing a leg press and my numbers have shot up drastically because of it.


#3

that forward lean looks excessive even to me, but a side video would give the full story.


#4

[quote]HERC410 wrote:
that forward lean looks excessive even to me, but a side video would give the full story.[/quote]

I think this is pretty accurate. It looks to me like your back is almost parallel to the ground at the bottom of the lift. However, because you’re used to high bar, I think this may be a natural first reaction in order to offset the shift in bar position. There is more forward lean in low bar but not as much as you appear to have.

Herc: Why aren’t you lifting at Jerry’s meet on Saturday?


#5

I was thinking some might mention the forward lean…I thought I was doing it right because in my earlier sets of that workout I was getting wrist pains from holding onto the bar since when I was more upright it felt like all the weight was being held in my hands, so I thought more lean would take pressure off them. Why else would I be getting so much pressure on my wrists?


#6

[quote]illgixxer wrote:
I was thinking some might mention the forward lean…I thought I was doing it right because in my earlier sets of that workout I was getting wrist pains from holding onto the bar since when I was more upright it felt like all the weight was being held in my hands, so I thought more lean would take pressure off them. Why else would I be getting so much pressure on my wrists? [/quote]

I think that is a common thing actually, unlike the olympic squat the bar is just resting on your back I had to drive it into my back to make sure it didn’t fall off.

With regards to back position the lean is excessive, try box squatting for a bit, push hips back, hold for a second and flex out of the bottom, driving your head back into the bar helps a lot on the way up.


#7

[quote]illgixxer wrote:
I was thinking some might mention the forward lean…I thought I was doing it right because in my earlier sets of that workout I was getting wrist pains from holding onto the bar since when I was more upright it felt like all the weight was being held in my hands, so I thought more lean would take pressure off them. Why else would I be getting so much pressure on my wrists? [/quote]
Stay upright! If your wrists feel loaded up try a thumbless grip (thumb behind bar) sometimes it’s just torque (twisting) on the wrist that makes it feel bad. It seems wierd at first but works well. Also could consider wrist wraps while squatting heavy. Also experiment with grip width as when you move to low bar from high you may have to shift this a little. Definitely stay more upright though.


#8

I think the biggest issue here is that you’re trying to compensate for a lack of hip mobility with forward lean and it doesn’t work very well. Despite your torso angle your deepest position is still a couple of inches above parallel. If you had a video of your high bar squat I would say that a very similar thing probably occurred.

There are much worse problems to have though. Take a look at this and work 4-5 of the most difficult for you into your workouts.


#9

Hey Iron, thanks for that video… that’s great. I was looking for something to help me work on flexibility (its not terrible, but could definitely be a lot better). Kind of funny looking as I’m in a suit at my office, but immediately got up and started doing some of stretches from that video and it felt damn good


#10

Another thing I would add is to point your toes out a little, and then work on keeping your knees out.


#11

Heres my high bar squat http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I8Jrl_tmbOs


#12

Ive never had a problem with depth and I actually set the safety pins higher than usual in that workout because I want to start squatting to parallel/just below(instead of atg) but next workout I will set them a slot lower.


#13

Clearly mobility isn’t your problem. Try the thumbless grip like another poster suggested. I can commiserate about the pressure on your wrists since I clearly don’t have thick forearms either and lean more when the weight goes up to compensate. In addition, work on getting your upper back really tight to create a shelf for the bar.

I think you just need to get used to the new position of the bar which will just take a bit of time. Not much; but a bit.


#14

[quote]illgixxer wrote:
Ive never had a problem with depth and I actually set the safety pins higher than usual in that workout because I want to start squatting to parallel/just below(instead of atg) but next workout I will set them a slot lower. [/quote]

I like that gym you’re at, looks nice.


#15

[quote]ouroboro_s wrote:

[quote]HERC410 wrote:
that forward lean looks excessive even to me, but a side video would give the full story.[/quote]

I think this is pretty accurate. It looks to me like your back is almost parallel to the ground at the bottom of the lift. However, because you’re used to high bar, I think this may be a natural first reaction in order to offset the shift in bar position. There is more forward lean in low bar but not as much as you appear to have.

Herc: Why aren’t you lifting at Jerry’s meet on Saturday?[/quote]

ouro-had too much going on with school, home and university applications ect, i’ll be watching if i can make it, possibly handling if anyone needs help.


#16

I believe a side view angle would be better.

You have to set those pins lower. You’re not hitting parallel.

Also, when doing a low-bar squat, you really have to focus on REALLY PUSHING YOUR BUTT BACK and THRUSTING YOUR HIPS FORWARD when you go up. You know you’re doing it right when your shins barely move.


#17

I’ve also watched your high-bar squat and noticed that you seem to have a habit of lunging your torso forward at the bottom. This is either due to weak flexibility, bad technique, or a weakness of your lower back.

If it’s a flexibility issue, it’s probably your hamstrings, hip flexors, or groin that is keeping you from squatting properly.

If it’s bad technique, you have to tighten your core throughout the entire lift. TAKE AS MUCH AIR AS YOU CAN BEFORE YOU EVEN DESCEND AND KEEP ALL YOUR CORE MUSCLES FLEXED THROUGHOUT THE LIFT.

If it’s a weakness of your lower back, you need a stronger lower back.

I think the best thing for someone who wants to learn how to full-squat properly is to learn how to do an overhead squat with a stance slightly wider than shoulder width, full range of motion, and without losing your balance the entire time. If you can overhead squat properly, you can back squat properly.


#18

Well, I don’t think this has been mentioned yet, but definitely set the racking pins lower. You won’t have the luxury of racking one side of the bar at a time with heavier weights.
Of course, that might have just been a one time thing, in which case ignore the above.


#19

will do, It’s just wierd because with the high bar squat that setting works perfectly for re-racking but the lower setting feels lower than it needs to be, but i guess ill just have to deal with it