T Nation

Squats Without Catch Bars


#1

My gym doesn't have catch bars for the power rack. Assuming catch bars are coming eventually, what'd you do in the meantime to improve your squat in the meantime?

I'm pretty new to squats, and was totally set for doing squats, but I'm scared to get anywhere near failure without a safety net. My squat gains have been very slow. I still push hard on deadlifts, leg press, leg extensions and leg curls, in that order, and have been getting quick gains.


#2

Just start off light and work your way up. You’ll get a feel for what your working sets need to be. You don’t have to train to failure. And if worst comes to worst, you can always dump the bar. Your gym won’t be too happy…but f**k 'em! Tell them that’s what happens when you don’t have safety pins.


#3

Is there anything I should be trying to do when I dump the bar? Release and push my back back/upright to get the bar away from my body, or move forward asap? Seems like a stupid question, but I’d feel a hell of a lot dumber for getting hurt when I could just ask.


#4

[quote]leaftye wrote:
Is there anything I should be trying to do when I dump the bar? Release and push my back back/upright to get the bar away from my body, or move forward asap? Seems like a stupid question, but I’d feel a hell of a lot dumber for getting hurt when I could just ask.[/quote]

make sure no one is behind you, so lift in front of a mirror.


#5

Try OL squats (front squats), jefferson squats, hack squats, duck deadlift, one leg squat with dumbbel, etc, without a power rack is better no work to failure, is not needed and even counterproductive.


#6

[quote]Murasame wrote:
Try OL squats (front squats), jefferson squats, hack squats, duck deadlift, one leg squat with dumbbel, etc, without a power rack is better no work to failure, is not needed and even counterproductive. [/quote]

Front Squats put alot of pressure on your lower back if done wrong.

Just saying.

But I’m sure the other guy knew that.


#7

[quote]leaftye wrote:
Is there anything I should be trying to do when I dump the bar? Release and push my back back/upright to get the bar away from my body, or move forward asap? Seems like a stupid question, but I’d feel a hell of a lot dumber for getting hurt when I could just ask.[/quote]

Get the hell out of the way is basically it. Step forward and continue forward until the ride is completely over.


#8

[quote]JonEightPackGuy wrote:
Murasame wrote:
Try OL squats (front squats), jefferson squats, hack squats, duck deadlift, one leg squat with dumbbel, etc, without a power rack is better no work to failure, is not needed and even counterproductive.

Front Squats put alot of pressure on your lower back if done wrong.

[/quote]

In my experience back squats (done badly) put more pressure on the lower back, as people make up for crap depth by leaning forward and Good-morning the bar up. Plus the position of the bar on back squats adds immediate pressure that’s just not present in front squats.


#9

[quote]plateau wrote:
JonEightPackGuy wrote:
Murasame wrote:
Try OL squats (front squats), jefferson squats, hack squats, duck deadlift, one leg squat with dumbbel, etc, without a power rack is better no work to failure, is not needed and even counterproductive.

Front Squats put alot of pressure on your lower back if done wrong.

In my experience back squats (done badly) put more pressure on the lower back, as people make up for crap depth by leaning forward and Good-morning the bar up. Plus the position of the bar on back squats adds immediate pressure that’s just not present in front squats.[/quote]

As you said before, back squats DOES PUT A LOT OF PRESSURE IN YOUR BACK (pressed caps lock, too lazy to rewrite…) and put more pressure than front squat, the front squat must be done in the olympic stance, that way the body goes down with the torso upright, putting your ass between your legs as it goes to the hole, anyway you have as a back reliever the jefferson squat and the one leg squat, pistol squat, pyramid squat, zercher squat, and so on…


#10

[quote]JonEightPackGuy wrote:

Front Squats put alot of pressure on your lower back if done wrong.

Just saying.

But I’m sure the other guy knew that.[/quote]

??? Ive never heard this, but even then you said if done wrong. Deadlifts, back squats, shoulder press, cleans, bicep curls, pulldowns, etc… all have the potential to put a lot of pressure n your lower back if done wrong.

OP - Do front squats CORRECTLY, not wrong, and do go to failure. IMO its a good idea to avoid failure on all squats and deadlifts even if you have safety bars; except for a few instances when failure might be a good idea. If you do front squats, just start with the bar on the ground, clean it, and then go. This will also make sure that your clean is as strong as your front squat.


#11

[quote]plateau wrote:
JonEightPackGuy wrote:
Murasame wrote:
Try OL squats (front squats), jefferson squats, hack squats, duck deadlift, one leg squat with dumbbel, etc, without a power rack is better no work to failure, is not needed and even counterproductive.

Front Squats put alot of pressure on your lower back if done wrong.

In my experience back squats (done badly) put more pressure on the lower back, as people make up for crap depth by leaning forward and Good-morning the bar up. Plus the position of the bar on back squats adds immediate pressure that’s just not present in front squats.[/quote]

As you said before, back squats DOES PUT A LOT OF PRESSURE IN YOUR BACK (pressed caps lock, too lazy to rewrite…) and put more pressure than front squat, the front squat must be done in the olympic stance, that way the body goes down with the torso upright, putting your ass between your legs as it goes to the hole, anyway you have as a back reliever the jefferson squat and the one leg squat, pistol squat, pyramid squat, zercher squat, and so on…


#12

As you said before, back squats DOES PUT A LOT OF PRESSURE IN YOUR BACK (pressed caps lock, too lazy to rewrite…) and put more pressure than front squat, the front squat must be done in the olympic stance, that way the body goes down with the torso upright, putting your ass between your legs as it goes to the hole, anyway you have as a back reliever the jefferson squat and the one leg squat, pistol squat, pyramid squat, zercher squat, and so on…


#13

As you said before, back squats DOES PUT A LOT OF PRESSURE IN YOUR BACK (pressed caps lock, too lazy to rewrite…) and put more pressure than front squat, the front squat must be done in the olympic stance, that way the body goes down with the torso upright, putting your ass between your legs as it goes to the hole, anyway you have as a back reliever the jefferson squat and the one leg squat, pistol squat, pyramid squat, zercher squat, and so on…


#14

There’s an echo in here.

lol


#15

sure, you are right,… damn internet, it wont allow me to post, and then its keep, and keep, and keep going… damn


#16

[quote]leaftye wrote:
My gym doesn’t have catch bars for the power rack.[/quote]

What the hell good is a power rack without bars?? “Oh, those cost extra”. Jesus.


#17

I’ve never got the chance to use “catch bars” except for rarely. It has not hindered me in using squats and growing legs.

Stop being a pussy.

Usually when I had to drop the bar, I let myself go all the way down (go ass to calves anyway) and let it slide off my traps, effectively dumping the bar.


#18

[quote]leaftye wrote:
Is there anything I should be trying to do when I dump the bar? Release and push my back back/upright to get the bar away from my body, or move forward asap? Seems like a stupid question, but I’d feel a hell of a lot dumber for getting hurt when I could just ask.[/quote]

Good question. If you get stuck in the bottom position (ass to calves) there isn’t a whole lot of room to move anyplace. If you just let the bar go (i.e. raise elbows and let bar fall off fingers), there is a good chance it’ll land on your lower back on the way down. In my experience, the best way to dump the bar from the full squat is to fall forward to a kneeling position while releasing the bar. This gets your lower back out of the way. Not the most comfortable thing, but better than the alternatives.

There is, of course, the case where you’re in a full squat and your torso isn’t upright enough to do this i.e. torso leaning far forward, loss of back arch. This is less than ideal, and, though it has never happened to me (thankfully), training partners have told me that you basically have no choice but to fall forward and flatten your head to the ground - unless you’ve got a huge head, 45’s should give you enough clearance.
Also, try practicing the first variant with an empty bar first.


#19

front squats don’t put pressure on the lower back. if anything, they reduce the pressure on teh back as compared to back squats


#20

There’s some useful tips here, thanks. As far as going to failure, it’d help me find out how hard I can push. If I push as hard as possible, but can’t get the bar up with good form, I still want control over how I fail so I don’t get hurt.