T Nation

Transitioning to PL Squat


#1

so my background is in olympic lifting (not extensive), which means i traditionally squat high bar, narrow stance, and in shoes with a raised heel. I am trying to transition to a PL style squat or at least become proficient in it. I have no problem with a wider stance and have been gripping the bar with a wider grip, basically collar to collar, and these are not a problem.

However, putting the bar lower on my back just seems impossible. I am afraid I will loose the bar behind me and dislocate my shoulders/elbows. even when I do put the bar right on top of my rear delts with 135 or just the bar, It seems impossible to get tight, and I end up just popping the bar back up onto my traps like I would usually do.

any advice? How can i get the bar lower and stay tight? and i'm still able to squat a lot more with the high bar variant, but i'm hoping with some practice I can hit a PR due to the new style.

thanks in advance homies!


Squat Form Check
#2

First of all, if you have a decent squat with your current technique then it isn’t absolutely necessary to change your bar position. There are some elite powerlifters (Damien Pezzuti comes to mind) who squat high bar, and one benefit of that is being able to hit depth more easily than with a low bar squat. That said, most people are able to squat more weight with a low bar position, but if you aren’t one of them then don’t worry. Also, how low you actually hold the bar will differ from person to person. If you don’t mind me asking, how much can you squat with your current technique?

As far as using a wider grip, that isn’t necessary unless you lack the shoulder mobility to grip it closer. That’s the only reason you see some powerlifters gripping it so wide, there is no real advantage from it. As a matter of fact, many people find it easier to keep their upper back tight with a closer grip, so don’t go switching every detail around because of something you saw on youtube.

Same thing for stance width and flat vs. heeled shoes. Unless you are going to lift multi-ply it isn’t necessary to squat with either flat shoes or a wide stance unless you find that to be advantageous. It looks like most raw lifters these days squat with a moderate stance and heeled weightlifting shoes.


#3

i haven’t tested my max in a while, but usually finish my warm up with 405 x 1 before starting my rep work.


#4

realized i didn’t even answer the question. 425 high bar and hit 355 today with the new stance, grip width, and slightly lower bar position


#5

I started low-bar and moved to high bar. Every now and again I will do low bar as supplemental work for the deadlift and even though it felt natural before I started high bar squatting, it always feels as awkward as fuck for the first 2 weeks.

Your mobility will improve and it should feel okay after some weeks. Assuming the bar isn’t halfway down your shoulder blades.


#6

[quote]chazz19 wrote:
realized i didn’t even answer the question. 425 high bar and hit 355 today with the new stance, grip width, and slightly lower bar position[/quote]

I should have asked your weight too, but either way you have at least a half-decent squat if you can squat 425. If 355 was a single then you’re way behind on low bar. If I was you, I would watch some videos on youtube to get some ideas of things you can try to modify your technique. You don’t have to stop squatting high bar either, for example if you squat twice a week then use one style the first day and the other the next. If nothing seems to be working then you can just keep squatting high bar, there’s nothing wrong with that at all.

How you plan to compete also dictates how you should be squatting. If you are going multi-ply then you need a wide stance an flat shoes, but if you want to compete raw then there is nothing wrong with heeled shoes and a narrow stance if that allows you to squat more. Just be careful who you take advice from regarding technique, if you are going to compete raw an0d/or under IPF rules then don’t listen to guys like Louie Simmons or Dave Tate.


#7

[quote]chris_ottawa wrote:

[quote]chazz19 wrote:
realized i didn’t even answer the question. 425 high bar and hit 355 today with the new stance, grip width, and slightly lower bar position[/quote]

I should have asked your weight too, but either way you have at least a half-decent squat if you can squat 425. If 355 was a single then you’re way behind on low bar. If I was you, I would watch some videos on youtube to get some ideas of things you can try to modify your technique. You don’t have to stop squatting high bar either, for example if you squat twice a week then use one style the first day and the other the next. If nothing seems to be working then you can just keep squatting high bar, there’s nothing wrong with that at all.

How you plan to compete also dictates how you should be squatting. If you are going multi-ply then you need a wide stance an flat shoes, but if you want to compete raw then there is nothing wrong with heeled shoes and a narrow stance if that allows you to squat more. Just be careful who you take advice from regarding technique, if you are going to compete raw an0d/or under IPF rules then don’t listen to guys like Louie Simmons or Dave Tate.[/quote]

Agree with most of it. I have found Dave Tate and Louie Simmons have some really good points about squatting that do apply to some raw lifters - me, for example. But, you do need to constantly bear in mind that their advice is meant for geared lifters.

The main thing I found they got right was that wider tends to work better than narrower - just for raw wider doesn’t mean multiply wide. The whole vertical shin idea isn’t so great for raw.

OP, with your issue of the bar falling just lean forward a tad more as you set up and hold that trunk angle throughout the squat.

Bottom line, if you squat heavier with a higher bar and closer stance there isn’t any real reason to push yourself to squat wide with a lower bar. If you do want to just learn how, I’d recommend wearing wrestling shoes or Chuck Taylors and trying some box squats to get a feel for the movement.


#8

No reasons to do PL squat if you already squat olympic. Pl squats are for fatasses who want to boost their ego with over-inflated numbers from shit back breaker form that gives no good aesthetic development. Just drop the oly shoes because it’s gay.

Flame me.


#9

[quote]jasmincar wrote:
No reasons to do PL squat if you already squat olympic. Pl squats are for fatasses who want to boost their ego with over-inflated numbers from shit back breaker form that gives no good aesthetic development. Just drop the oly shoes because it’s gay.

Flame me.[/quote]

You don’t know shit. Idiot


#10

thanks for all the advice guys

will post a video of each style squat next week.


#11

There is no such thing as a powerlifting squat. In competition, the only real definition of a powerlifting squat is to hit depth within the rules. You choose the style that allows you to lift the most weight. That’s why there are so many variations in squatting styles seen in a powerlifting competition.

The main transition you should make is just to move to low bar to see if you’re stronger with it. If moving to low bar requires moving the hands and feet out a tad bit, then experiment with that. Whatever it takes to stay tight while using low bar to see if you are stronger. There’s no need to make a drastic change in hand and feet position if you don’t need to.

Try warming up with some overhead band pull aparts and focusing on getting the upper back tight. That can help with upper body positioning.


#12

Narrow Stance, High Bar

Narrow Stance, Low Bar

Check out some his deadlift videos too. Very impressive stuff.

Low Bar, Wide Stance

I couldn’t find any big name powerlifters who squat both high bar and wide stance but I know some do simply because of shoulder issues or being able to hold onto the bar while in gear. If anyone knows strong PLer who squats like this, I really would like to see it.

Anyway, the point is that there is a lot of variety in squatting style even among the most successful.