T Nation

Why Olympic Squat?

Excuse my ignorance here… but I’ve always wondered since the 2nd explosive pull of the clean/snatch mainly involve the posterior chain musculature, why do olympic lifters squat with a narrow stance that puts more of the stress on the quads?

Wouldn’t it be better to squat more like powerlifters to put more stress on the hamstrings and posterior chain? I’m not talking about depth though, I guess oly lifters have to go ass to ground as its more applicable for the clean recovery. I’m just talking about going with a wider stance, maybe even having the bar a bit lower on the traps.

You are correct, they do full squats, front squats and overhead squats with a narrow stance and full range of motion because it most closely mimics the recovery from a clean or snatch.

I wonder if more Olympic lifters are incorporating powerlifting style squats and/or box squats into their programs. I know that Louie Simmons suggests that Olympic lifters would benefit from performing them.

This would benefit those Olympic lifters whose posterior chains are holding them back.

The double knee rebend in the 2nd phase of the pull brings the quads in and restretches em, by pushing the knees forward again under the bar

Plus your pretty upright at that point with a narrow stance. The knees will be forward at the start position.
It’s basicly feels like a squat with the bar in your hands, not like a deadlift

for a properly executed oly lift that is…

Simple. Doing the explosive part of the snatch and clean, plus auxiliary exercises, gives their posterior chains enough work. They do narrow stance squats to ensure they have the squat strength to muscle up a bar they have cleaned.

Oly lifters at the highest level do an insane (to us mere mortals) amount of volume. A lot of this is because they are training their muscles in the skill of lifting heavy weight. That is why they can make such heavy weights look routine in training.

[quote]bretc wrote:
This would benefit those Olympic lifters whose posterior chains are holding them back.[/quote]

Wouldn’t they be better off doing more cleans, snatches, high pulls, power variations as these moves work the p-chain tremendously well ?

[quote]PHGN wrote:
bretc wrote:
This would benefit those Olympic lifters whose posterior chains are holding them back.

Wouldn’t they be better off doing more cleans, snatches, high pulls, power variations as these moves work the p-chain tremendously well ?[/quote]

Yes, and I’m sure they do, but that isn’t to say that box squats wouldn’t benefit them as well. Louie Simmons said something to the effect that a powerlifter who can squat 1000 pounds could easily full squat 800 pounds, but an Olympic lifter who can full squat 800 pounds could not powerlifting style squat 1000 pounds.

Since the strength needed in oly lifting is very position specific, it is not going to be helpful performing a wide stance squat.

However, I have seen a lifter in an Ironmind vid performing good mornings with an explosive triple extension at the top…after doing about 295kg for sets of singles (at 99kg bw).

I think it would be more productive to keep doing the lifts and pulls to kill the posterior chain, this way they can get stronger in the specific movements and patterns needed.

[quote]bretc wrote:
Louie Simmons said something to the effect that a powerlifter who can squat 1000 pounds could easily full squat 800 pounds, but an Olympic lifter who can full squat 800 pounds could not powerlifting style squat 1000 pounds.
[/quote]
I don’t think I have seen any videos of elite powerlifters doing any atg squats, can you share any?

Correct me if I am wrong, but do any powerlifters do deep squats in training? I don’t understand why they would want to train strength in a position that does not add to their total. Especially, when the purpose is to use the best leverage and positioning to minimize the distance the bar has to move so they can lift a $hitload of weight.

An olympic lifter isn’t interested in doing a powerlifting squat to help his clean and jerk, so it doesn’t really matter what he can squat in that position. Remember it takes a different type of technique to drive out of the hole of a deep squat after catching a clean. I would prefer to reinforce that skill.

I would not advocate box or wide style squatting for o-lifters.

i have experienced and observed that most of the problems exist at the bottom position (recovery phase of a clean or snatch).

Dead stop front and back squats, good mornings, and bottom position squats, or squats with chains are more applicable to gaining the kind of posterior chain strength neccessary for the task.

Getting real comfortable and stable in the bottom position is essential.

They use other excercises to train the posterior chain. The squats are so they can get out of the rock bottom position of a catch. The higher they weight they use, the lower they’ll catch it, so they really need to have an amazing front squat to get up out of the hole.

Also, the reason they do them narrow stance is because that’s how they catch it in the bottom. The entire lift should be narrow stance. I don’t want to know what would happen if you tried to do an ATG wide-stanced squat. Can that be done?

[quote]bretc wrote:
PHGN wrote:
bretc wrote:
This would benefit those Olympic lifters whose posterior chains are holding them back.

Wouldn’t they be better off doing more cleans, snatches, high pulls, power variations as these moves work the p-chain tremendously well ?

Yes, and I’m sure they do, but that isn’t to say that box squats wouldn’t benefit them as well. Louie Simmons said something to the effect that a powerlifter who can squat 1000 pounds could easily full squat 800 pounds, but an Olympic lifter who can full squat 800 pounds could not powerlifting style squat 1000 pounds.

[/quote]

My question is why does an olympic lifter ever need to worry about how much he can squat power lifting style? The only thing you EVER care about is the snatch and clean & jerk total. I honestly believe that powerlifting squats limit the flexibility teaching them to stop paralell.

Everything should carry over to their sport and if the lifter in question has a weaker posterior chain, then you should have them do more pulls from the floor. If their weakness is leg strength, more squats. If they have a weaker upper body for jerks, overhead presses.

[quote]Krollmonster wrote:
Since the strength needed in oly lifting is very position specific, it is not going to be helpful performing a wide stance squat.

However, I have seen a lifter in an Ironmind vid performing good mornings with an explosive triple extension at the top…after doing about 295kg for sets of singles (at 99kg bw).

I think it would be more productive to keep doing the lifts and pulls to kill the posterior chain, this way they can get stronger in the specific movements and patterns needed. [/quote]

here’s that vid :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tpA47OUohpM

Read this article for a good explanation of the value of the squat for OL.

www.dynamic-eleiko.com/sportivny/library/farticles007.html

Read this article for a good explanation of the value of the squat for OL.

dynamic-eleiko.com/sportivny/library/farticles007.html

[quote]swivel wrote:
here’s that vid :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tpA47OUohpM[/quote]

Nice catch.

[quote]Rick Jakubowski wrote:
Read this article for a good explanation of the value of the squat for OL.

dynamic-eleiko.com/sportivny/library/farticles007.html[/quote]

Thanks for the link, it was a great read. I learned heaps and it did clear my mind from the conception that the backsquat is the number 1 assistance exercise for olympic lifters.

[quote]Krollmonster wrote:
bretc wrote:
Louie Simmons said something to the effect that a powerlifter who can squat 1000 pounds could easily full squat 800 pounds, but an Olympic lifter who can full squat 800 pounds could not powerlifting style squat 1000 pounds.

I don’t think I have seen any videos of elite powerlifters doing any atg squats, can you share any?

Correct me if I am wrong, but do any powerlifters do deep squats in training? I don’t understand why they would want to train strength in a position that does not add to their total. Especially, when the purpose is to use the best leverage and positioning to minimize the distance the bar has to move so they can lift a $hitload of weight.

An olympic lifter isn’t interested in doing a powerlifting squat to help his clean and jerk, so it doesn’t really matter what he can squat in that position. Remember it takes a different type of technique to drive out of the hole of a deep squat after catching a clean. I would prefer to reinforce that skill.

[/quote]

I’ll give you my opinion. I will state that I have never competed as or trained an Olympic lifter. I am not anywhere near an authority on Olympic lifting.

However, I have watched many videos and read many articles about Olympic weightlifting and know that most Oly lifters’ routines are centered around full squats, front squats, and clean, snatch and jerk variations. Then they throw in things like explosive good mornings, barbell lunges, etc.

But just because most oly lifters train the same way, it doesn’t mean that there isn’t a better way.

Many Oly lifters over the years have been very creative in their training. For example one Oly lifter made the glute ham raise popular (he used a pommel horse), which is not specific to the Oly lifts but it will strengthen the hamstrings sufficiently.

One lifter on the Elite Fitness website by the name of Travis Mash is an accomplished powerlifter and he has been dabbling in Olympic lifting. I believe he wants to qualify for the next Olympics.

He uses bands, chains and reverse hypers in his training. He is using many unconventional methods because he was schooled by Louie Simmons and trained as a Westsider.

I believe that powerlifters are more open-minded than oly lifters in their training. Most powerlifters perform full squats at various stages throughout the year for several reasons.

  1. To increase the difficulty of the exercise by making the leverages disadvantageous

  2. To increase the strength of their quadriceps

  3. To incorporate variety into their training and

  4. To give their hips a break from wide stance squatting.

Perhaps performing box squats and powerlifting style squats occasionally would benefit an olympic lifter. Variations of lifts feed off of each other. For example, sumo deads help increase your conventional deadlift and safety bar squats help increase your regular squat.

I’m not saying that olympic lifters must perform box squats and/or powerlifting style squats. I just know that Louie Simmons believes so and he is a very smart man and that there is more than one way to skin a cat.

Specificity is a great thing but so is variety.

Re Travis Mash - I’m not going to deny that he’s extremely strong, but whether or not his training methods actually work is totally up in the air. If you look at his log and his videos there’s a ton of stuff with bands and chains, but very rarely are there any full lifts with no additional gadgets.

His technique isn’t that great either, but he gets away with it, for now, because he’s a monster. It will definitely be interesting to see whether all this pays off and he actually puts up some big numbers.

Here’s a great old video of some Polish lifters doing some interesting stuff in addition to the classic lifts. The last minute is pretty priceless.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kEyxLHy0TkQ&NR=1

The squat is to assist your pull not help your recovery in the clean. Thats why we narrow stance squat. Squats are a good tool which can be used along with several others to create a solid program.