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WS4SB Dynamic Squat Notice

I know a lot of athletes on this site are currently doing some form of Joe DeFranco’s Westside for Skinny Bastards and I thought I’d give them all a heads up with this info.

The dynamic box squats with jumpstretch bands that a lot of athlete’s use to build power may not work as well as they are supposed to. According to Tudor Bompa working with elastics in an attempt to build power will not work because:

“Any action performed with the scope of developing power has to continuously increase acceleration throughout the range of motion, with maximal speed achieved at the instant of release…Without constant acceleration, the discharge rate of the fast-twitch muscle fibers is low and the development of power is quite impossible.”

I believe this is why Joe has begun using box jumps as an alternative recently. However, this is not to say elastics are of no use under power conditions, so don’t throw your jumpstretch bands away yet.

In sporting performance the highest amount of force prestent within any jumping or running movement is not encountered at toe off, but during the ammortization phase (eccentric/concentric coupling phase). Plyos are traditionally used to train this component but a version of dynamic squats can be used as well.

In order to perform this movement you need a bar loaded to 40-60% of your 1RM (start light) and light band resistance (the purpose of the bands is only to accelerate the descent). All you need to do is freefall to around parallel and then try to stop the weight and rebound up as quickly as possible. Think of it like a clean recovery but with the bar on your back. This will train the ammortization phase and will result in brief intramuscular tension the likes of which can only be found in select plyometric methods.

Sorry for the rather long post, I just figured I’d try to help out some of the other athletes on this board with a little public service announcement.

[quote]RJ24 wrote:
The dynamic box squats with jumpstretch bands that a lot of athlete’s use to build power may not work as well as they are supposed to. According to Tudor Bompa working with elastics in an attempt to build power will not work because:

“Any action performed with the scope of developing power has to continuously increase acceleration throughout the range of motion, with maximal speed achieved at the instant of release…Without constant acceleration, the discharge rate of the fast-twitch muscle fibers is low and the development of power is quite impossible.”
[/quote]

While I don’t disagree with your main point, I don’t think this is the most sensible thing you could have chosen to disprove doing traditional DE squats with bands.

Using an appropriate band tension is probably the BEST way to turn a back squat into a power movement. If one has 55%ish 1 RM and does a DE squat with no band tension, they certainly can accelerate all the way into the lift, with the effect that the bar jumps off my back at the top.

Using bands allows someone to do exactly what Bompa is suggesting, accelerating as hard as possible all the way through the lift, without the bar coming off like a throw. Are there better ways? Probably. But throwing them out entirely makes little sense based on what you posted.

Your point about training reversal strength and amortization and deceleration and the rest is great, but doesn’t seem particularly relevant. I’m no expert on DeFranco’s system, but I HIGHLY doubt he’s using box squats to train these physical qualities.

If you wanted a barbell lift to train what you’re talking about, many strength coaches would say: Why bother with the fancy set-up? Learn the full clean.

I may be off the mark but there’s my .02. We use DE box squats regularly with our athletes as part of a rotation of means, and I can’t complain.

Wow!!! You are totally correct I just wonder how this will be accepted here. REA Squats are great. Why not just do the full clean. I still feel that the long learning curve is exaggerated and well worth the effort. I think people think that jump stretch bands eliminate the need to decelerate during a traditional PIM rep. They do not. You must have release to continue accelerating and create power at toe off. Psyched to hear about defranco going with a jump type squat. Jump stretch work wonders for accelerating eccentric portion. Overspeed rea squats make you very very sore. So be careful when prescribing them to people. You got to build up to them.

Force absorption!
Force Absorption!
Force Absorption!

Let’s say someone squats 500 pounds. I wouldn’t recommend they try “free falling” with 200-300 lbs of bar weight plus band tension.

One of Louie’s articles describes an experiment they did with Matt Smith. They brought a professor of math/physics in and they timed Smith squatting 550 straight weight and 550 with a band (200 lbs tension at the top). The lift was executed faster with the band because of the faster eccentric. That is all the evidence I need to know that banded box squats are a useful tool.

Chucky, you are confusing effort with actual acceleration. Even though it feels like you’re accelerating throughout the banded lift you are actually not. The added tension from the bands impedes acceleration through their increased loading. You say the bands allow you to squat like you’re trying to power the bar off of your back but the strength curves are completely different and because of the added tension at the top you actually have to slow down.

As for using the full clean instead, the clean is more technical than than a reactive back squat. Not only that, but a reactive back squat builds force absorbtion through the glutes and hamstrings better than a clean recovery would.

And as for your athletes’ success with DE squats, are the improvements from the DE work, or from the ME work combined with sports practice? It’s hard to tell, but it would be nearly impossible to assign credit to the DE work alone.

jsal33, as I said above, the full clean places more emphasis on the quads during the recovery phase while the reactive squats hit the glutes and hamstringer harder. As far the movement goes, yes it does need to be worked into and it will cause tremendous soreness. I assumed people would load the method as their abilities allowed.

And to echo what you said,
Force absorption!
Force Absorption!
Force Absorption!

That’s where it’s at.

[quote]Mr. Bear wrote:
Let’s say someone squats 500 pounds. I wouldn’t recommend they try “free falling” with 200-300 lbs of bar weight plus band tension.

One of Louie’s articles describes an experiment they did with Matt Smith. They brought a professor of math/physics in and they timed Smith squatting 550 straight weight and 550 with a band (200 lbs tension at the top). The lift was executed faster with the band because of the faster eccentric. That is all the evidence I need to know that banded box squats are a useful tool. [/quote]

If your body is prepared for it then freefalling with 200-300 lbs is no big deal, but ONLY if you’re prepared. I was doing 46" altitude landings on to concrete with my bare feet a couple of months ago. Most people would say it’s harmful, but it’s not once your body is ready for it. The same goes for any other exercise.

As for the 550 lbs lift, yes the eccentric was faster but the box negated any eccentric strength gains and the bands removed any true power development from the concentric portion of the lift. This is no big deal for a power lifter, but an athlete would be selling himself short by using this method.

However, that’s not to say that bands don’t have their uses. They are great for overloading the muscles through a full range of motion and for inducing strength gains in higher ROMs while not limiting strength gains in deep ROMs, but they’re just not good for power gains.

As far as I can see, a great method for working power at toe off with BB squats would be to do some sort of reactive jump squat where the bands would release just prior to the ammortization phase. Unfortunately I have no clue how to rig such a thing up. :slight_smile:

Yeah. Bullshit. Box squatting with bands make me strong as shit.

[quote]Florida Titan wrote:
Yeah. Bullshit. Box squatting with bands make me strong as shit.[/quote]

I never said it wouldn’t make you strong, I said it was a poor method when it came to developing athletic power. In fact I even said bands were a good strength building tool in my last post.

[quote]RJ24 wrote:
Florida Titan wrote:
Yeah. Bullshit. Box squatting with bands make me strong as shit.

I never said it wouldn’t make you strong, I said it was a poor method when it came to developing athletic power. In fact I even said bands were a good strength building tool in my last post.

[/quote]

If you are saying athletic power is different than muscular strength then sure. But I think the two go hand in hand.

[quote]Florida Titan wrote:
RJ24 wrote:
Florida Titan wrote:
Yeah. Bullshit. Box squatting with bands make me strong as shit.

I never said it wouldn’t make you strong, I said it was a poor method when it came to developing athletic power. In fact I even said bands were a good strength building tool in my last post.

If you are saying athletic power is different than muscular strength then sure. But I think the two go hand in hand.[/quote]

Strength and power are different and they are related. Strength serves as a foundation for power gains. Banded squats (I don’t like box squats) can be used as a strength training method, but they aren’t very economical. An athlete can get 99% of the gains from heavy regular squats and various jumps without ever thinking about banded box squats (which may actually be detrimental to power generation at toe off).

I personally have used bands extensively for squats and box squats. They helped increase my squat and bench for that matter a lot. But I did not gain any inches in my vert from this strength gain. I had more horse power in my engine to then do power exercises that eventually led to an increase in power output(VJ). An increase in strength is essential to an increase in power (if reactive abilities are already maxed out) allowing you to put more thrust into toe off. So more strength gives you the ability to then develop more power.
build size first(Hypertrophy training)
Then strength
Then Power

And cycle through these 3 distinct phases continuously

As far as I can see, a great method for working power at toe off with BB squats would be to do some sort of reactive jump squat where the bands would release just prior to the ammortization phase. Unfortunately I have no clue how to rig such a thing up. :slight_smile:

AMT

RJ, just wanted to chime in and say after having been actively involved in almost every movement described in this thread, I agree 100% with both your and Bompa’s assertions. Many people will stubbornly disagree with you because they misread the “athletic performance” stipulation, but it is valuable advice for those who understand it and I appreciate it. Joe D recently (w/in last 6 months) replaced dynamic banded box squats with assorted box jumps on his DE day, further reinforcing your claims. Take it easy, and thanks again.

EDIT: Just saw that you mentioned the Joe D thing in your OP.

I was suprised that Joe who mostly trains athletes would use box squats as much as he did. I wonder if he used the box squats mainly as a max effort ex to raise strength #'s of his athletes. There power could then be influenced by the sport specific training most of the did outside the gym.

I just started adding in bands for my bench days, but for squat I still stick to heavy-ass squat and just regular jumps, hops, broad jumps, box jumps etc. for explosive work. I think that’s all thats needed. I don’t know if it’s the same for bench, but yeah. Kelly Bagget also says if a boxer is doing heavy bench and because of all the bag work that is done, that serves as the plyometric work and you will get more powerful if you stick to your bag work which is plyometric and get stronger.

[quote]jsal33 wrote:
I was suprised that Joe who mostly trains athletes would use box squats as much as he did. I wonder if he used the box squats mainly as a max effort ex to raise strength #'s of his athletes. There power could then be influenced by the sport specific training most of the did outside the gym. [/quote]

The mainstay of his ME lower body day is still box squat. So I would say, definitively, yes.

jsal, just like AMT, but with a barbell. More like a strength oriented AMT sort of thing. I’ll probably try to set something like that up within the next year or so, but not for a while. And again, I agree with everything you’ve said so far.

T Affliction G, thank you for your support. I know a thread like this has the potential to explode on a site like T-Nation, but so far things have been pretty…un-T-Nation-like. :wink:

dl-, you’re on the right track. You’ll get all the DE work you need from various jumps.

And to no one in particular, here’s why Joe D uses above parallel box squats as a primary exercise with his athletes. Above parallel squats result in greater strength gains over the higher ROM of the motion than full squats but neglect the p-chain. This is why Joe couples the high squats with tons of p-chain specific accessory movements.

Thanks for the reply. I had a long scholarly response typed out, but it was confusing and would probably be better boiled down to this:

“Does anyone claim that DE box squats against bands are the best way to train force absorption for athletes?”

This is what you are arguing against, and I would agree – there are much better ways to train reversal strength and force absorption for a running/jumping athlete. I wouldn’t and don’t use this for my athletes for this purpose.

Frankly, I have a hard time believing that that was its purpose in the original program either, which would make this entire thread a non-sequitur in the absurdist sense. http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/straw-man.html

The same as me starting a thread saying: “Look out guys, DE box squats against bands aren’t all they’re cracked up to be for developing absolute strength, you ought to replace them with heavy grinding powerlifting-style squats. Also, here’s a bunny with a pancake on its head.”

[quote]RJ24 wrote:
Above parallel squats result in greater strength gains over the higher ROM of the motion than full squats but neglect the p-chain. [/quote]

Sorry. That doesn’t make any sense.

[quote]ChuckyT wrote:
RJ24 wrote:
Above parallel squats result in greater strength gains over the higher ROM of the motion than full squats but neglect the p-chain.

Sorry. That doesn’t make any sense.[/quote]

Yes, it makes perfect sense. If an athlete can above parallel squat 400 lbs and can ATG squat 300 lbs, which type of squat would train strength at the top of the ROM better? Obviously the parallel squat would. However, it would do so at a cost of not working the glutes and hams as heavily as a deep squat.

Here is a reply from Dr. Bondarchuk on the topic:

"Dr. Bondarchuck,

I have read that you use the half squat quite a bit in your training
programs. What exactly is the reason for this? Do you think that, if
all other factors being equal, they have a better carryover to the
vertical jump than full squats due to being more specificity?"

Dr Bondarchuk responded as follows:

“Only half squats are used because they are more relevant. An athlete
does not bend down to a full squat to jump. Higher loads can be used
in the most relevant portion.”

For further support, here’s something from Yuri Verkhoshansky:

"To answer appropriately about the effectiveness of a training mean it is important to know the objective for which it is used, in which period of preparation and, the last but not the least, the athlete preparation level.

As a rule, the use of strength mean (here we are talking of exercise with maximal load executed slowly) with articulation flexion angle equal to the flexion angle of competition exercise is more effective for the development of sport result.

Nevertheless the same exercise with maximal amplitude, can assure:

  1. the increase of level of strength expression in the movements with any flexion angles used in the exercise;
  2. a more reliable strengthening, in the time, of the whole muscular chain involved in the movement .

The half squat is without doubt more specific and more effective to develop the antigravitational strength, but this exercise needs an overload greater than the overload used in complete squat."

And ChuckyT, in response to your other post, I never said anyone else said banded box squats are the best way to train force absorbtion, I merely pointed out that they are not that useful for athletes. I’ve seen dozens of people on this site recommend DE squats for athletes and I’ve held my tongue most of those times. The point of this thread was to inform athletes that they were wasting their time and energy on a method that does not work as well as it’s commonly thought to. It does have it’s uses, but not for athletes who would do better to aim their focus elsewhere.

In an old 6-Week vert program Joe gave out he had DE banded squats in every week. I know a lot of people who still think these are a key to upping vertical leap, I just want to clear that myth up. If you’d like to speak further I would be delighted to continue this exchange.