T Nation

Squat Opener, What Do You See Here?

formcheck

#1

This morning, working on opener for upcoming meet. Not my best morning, had trouble staying tight. . . sleep has been way off. But still showed some speed I think. Will need to make sure I hit depth, listen for my coach’s up command come meet day. Other thoughts?

415

440


#2

I suck at squatting, and have never been in a PL meet.

But I think your unrack could improve. You lift the bar, then arch your back and engage your glutes. Your position changes after you un rack. I believe you should get everything set and tight, then lift the bar out with your hips and legs. Get under the bar before you lift the bar.

My glutes suck so bad I have a flat foot.

But “twisting feet into the floor” was not a good cue for me. I felt “tightness” in my IT bands, but it was like “fake tightness” that didn’t include my backside.
Focusing on “spreading the floor” really taught me to use my glutes, keep knees out and shins up, and really lock my mid section in and keep my chest up.


#3

Looks a bit high, not bad otherwise.

You guys use “up” commands? I thought that was only an equipped thing.


#4

I agree with what you say about the unrack.

re: twisting feet into the floor/spreading the floor: there are different cues that all attempt to accomplish the same thing, which is engaging the glutes before you start to descend by externally rotating the hips. It’s easier said than done. I just hit a 480 raw (sleeves) squat, wish I had gone for 500 because it would have been there, and I’m only now starting to catch onto this. Twisting/clawing the floor made me feel like my knees weren’t properly aligned and spreading the floor made it feel like they were caving in, it seems to me that this is something that has to be intiated from the hips down, it just happens that the feet are attached.


#5

Good point about the external rotation being important, not the cue you use to get there.

Here’s J.L. Holdsworth on setup. He gets into unracking and hips about 4 minutes in.


#6

Definitely I was off at the unrack, and went a bit high.

When I’m on, generally I can keep everything tight as a tick and settle into a nice groove. But today my body wasn’t cooperating.

As for depth, it’s something I struggle with from time to time. I’m new to wraps and for some reason just at parallel I feel like I broke parallel. But I’ve never been called for depth at a meet; I guess I bring the heat when the pressure is on.

I’ll watch the video when I get a chance.


#7

To keep this going I’d recommend making sure your going low enough. Those squats were high. Also take into consideration of your cutting weight you might lose a bit of strength. Some are affected more than others I only lost 5-10 lbs most of the time.


#8

I’d drop your opener to around 420 lbs just to be safe.

Definitely fix the unrack but maybe after the meet unless you’ve got a good few weeks.


#9

@Mark,

From two weeks ago. This was 475 with light (red) reverse bands. They measured out at 16 lbs/side in the hole, so a 440+ squat out of the hole. Despite the more weight on my back, I kept tension way better here.

This morning was hung over and poor sleep (I have bad sleep apnea and didn’t use my life support machine) so I was dragging. But I like doing heavy singles so I did my best to get psyched up. LOL


#10

It’s up to you, of course. I generally like my opener to be something I can hit for a triple on a bad day.


#11

I wasn’t responding to your comment about poundage; I was responding to your comment about fixing unrack.

Though, the more I think about it, some of the unrack issue may have been use of the straight bar. I rarely use the straight bar, opting for bow, camber and SSB most of the time to save my shoulders. But maybe it’s now working against me at the unrack.

EDIT: I sent the link to my old trainer. His immediate response: looks like the bar was too high on your traps. Dang straight bar I think I have to move to it for the last 3-4 weeks of the training cycle up to the meet.


#12

your technique is pretty solid. Try take off some weight.


#13

Might help to move your hands out further to prevent some shoulder strain as long as you can stay tight and the bar doesn’t roll on you.


#14

Possible Stupid Question:

Was the rack height too low when you used the straight bar?

Cambered Bar, bow Bar, SSB all raise the “neck touching part” of the bar above the “rack/hands touching part” of the bar. Will you need to raise the mono hooks one more pump to get under the straight bar properly?


#15

Definitely astute question!

I wasn’t with my regular coach that day, and while that fellow is great, we don’t have day to day training experience with each other. After the second rep he said it needed to go down 1/2 a notch to get it lower on my back.

I feel pretty good about the lifts though, considering I had sketchy unracks which is not common with my squatting. Much more common with my benching.

I dunno about you guys, but I’ve always said when it comes to heavy squatting, the battle is won or lost at the unrack. So with less than optimal unracks it could have gone worse.


In a somewhat related topic, we were talking about ‘the perfect rep’. I’m sure you’ve all experienced this: a heavy rep maybe a PR and it feels almost effortless. It’s happened to me multiple times squatting. . . that feeling: Holy Crap I got this and hit the hole and you feel indestructible. Happened a few times pulling as well, my 500+ pulls in competition felt like that.

I love this stuff. When you have an off day you just want another crack at it to get that golden rep. Maybe it’s like the perfect shot playing golf (I don’t play golf).

Anyway, apologies for the rambling.

Thanks all for the input.