olympic and powerlifting squats

I think that I have a serious strength imbalance. I have always done squats with a powerlifter’s stance and technique (bar low on back and wide stance.) I tried olympic style squats today and all I can say is wow! I can backsquat (pl style) 385 for a max and today 135 for 10 reps was tough with an olympic style(high bar placement and narrow stance.) I can front squat more than this. Is this indicative of any sort of muscle/strength imbalance? Also, has anyone found olympic squats to be easier on the lower back? thanks

this is a very common mistake for beginers of powerlifting…people think that when they start powerlifting all they do is squat with a wide stance…thats not the case at all…this is one reason i dont like people to learn powerlifting programs like westside online…it is much easier to understand the system and the need for total brute leg strength in the westside squat videos…on max effort day i never squat with a wide stance i squat with a extremely close stance with several diffirent bars to a low box and i wear work boots…you must have whole leg power…people read these articles and hear well at westside they only use wide stance squats and that is far far from true…they use wide stance squats at meets and on dyanmic day…but on max effort day one must train the entire leg for brute leg strength…also when you squat with a close stance with the safety squat bar or the camberd squat bar your lower back will get incredibily strong…if you want a huge squat train the entire leg for brute strength…my close stance low box squats have a direct correlation to my comeptition squat…if my close stance low box squats go up my competion squat goes up…because my low back and brute leg strength imporved…big m

I agree with Big M.
You need to do a variety of diffrent squats so as to not be weak in any one area.These will all add up to a stronger competition squat.

Big Martin,

Just to clarify, when you say “extremely close stance”, do you mean shoulder-width or so?

yea shoulder width the closer your stance and the lower the box the more you work the lower back…on max effort day i always use what would be called a close stance …i never use a medium to wide stance as i dont like to use my hips on max effort day…the hips can get beaten up very easily and on dynamic day the hips are the primary mover…so i like to have them fresh on dynamic day as that is the most important day to work on my competition squat form and speed…max effort day when i squat it is always with a close stance and i am always trying to set a record and work the low back, quads, hammies maximally…the goal of the low box squat max effort work is to build brute leg strength…big m

Just because its harder doesnt make it better. You can make it harder and more effective by using different bars and box heights. Or you can make it harder and ineffective by doing olympic squats. You should also use a closer stance on max effort day to save your hips from taking too much abuse.

ps i also always wear work boots with a big heel when i do low box squats with a close stance on max effort day…the work boots will also push your forward caausing you to round…on dyanmic day i wear chuck taylors but on max effort work its work boots with a high heel…try this on a 10-12 inch box with the safety squat or camberd squat bar and your low back will be fried cause not only do those bars try to dump you over the work boots push you forward also…it make a very unstable enviorment and you must stay tight and work hard ot keep a arch…big m

Variety seems to be the spice of life. In Order to consider oneself STRONG, strength must be developed on all plains.

That really helped Big Martin, thanks.

Does anyone do front squats off a box?

not to hijack your post brother, but if one wants to fully train the legs with squats how would one go about doing it? ie what diffrent stances and squats

herb–easy on dyanmic day use a wide stance and a parrelel box to develop the competition squat…and on max effort day use several diffirent bars on a low box with a close stance…but you cannto squat every max effortday you need to squat one week and then do a goodmorning variation or a deadlift variation the next…squating every max effort day would be way too much the most weeks i ll squat in a row on max effort work is 2…big m

you need to adjust to the motion. that will take some time and you will see that your strength will increase. Just be patient and work hard. Whenever i do full squats, which is most of the time, i feel it in my glutes, hams, quads, and lower back. This is nbot to say that i don’t do the widestance squats either. It is just a different feel. laters pk

I have done both types of squats and feel that olympic style squating is more difficult and benefictial. You are going in a much deeper position than powerlifting therefore using the entire leg. Not to say powerlifting doesn’t but when you watch westside videos or powerlifting in general there is more low back involved(almost a goodmorning squat). With olympic style your back is perpindicular to the ground so it is more hip and quad strength. That is just my opinion

thanks for the help everyone

You can still get lower as in Olympic squats if you increase hip and ankle flexibility and that hits the hams more than olympic style.

There isn’t just 2 types of squats, even with fullsquats there are many shades inbetween

why do you think that full o squats are ineffective? I can see how low box squats help, but I wouldnt discount a good movement if it helped me other areas.

I wasnt trying to imply full squats are ineffective but rather increased hip and ankle flexibility will allow you to sit farther back in the squat position and still get pretty damn low. This will put more of a stretch on the hams. When I say hip flexibility I dont mean to do the classic stretch with your knees locked and bend over. I do mean get in a full squat position or close to it so that your knees are near perpendicular while holding on to the power rack. Hold on for a few seconds then let go and keep yourself in that position. RDLs and stiff leg DLs will help too. The only way you will know is if you try it.