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sking

Chest Up!!

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I was going to post this on SS, but I'm sure it would create some sort of shit storm. The best squat I've ever done, in my opinion, is not really "hip-drahve" focused. It's very anti Starting Strength if you ask me. I used to squat more narrow, thumbs over the bar, chin down, a good SS disciple. Over the years, I've learned that my best squats are when I don't lean so far forward.

How did I do this? I've tried recently to mimic this form, but I always seem to be more leaned over. Maybe I had the bar higher on my back and didn't realize it. Unfortunately you can't see that from this video. Maybe the knee wraps had a lot to do with it? Anyway, my back is pretty vertical here, but the funny thing is there's not a lot of forward knee travel...is there?

I honestly keep coming back to this video and can't figure out how I did it:

Unfortunately, you can't see my stance width or bar placement in that video, but I have a video from the front where I squatted 485 just 2 week prior, so I'm sure it looked a lot like this. You'll have to ignore the fact that in this video, I stand there forever before I squat, and on the way up I'm favoring my left side, leaning to the right:

I didn't know it at the time, but I think a had the beginnings of an L5-S1 herniation even here, and it put my squat in the dumper for several months after that. I'm mostly "healed" now, although I'll probably be getting an MRI at the beginning of the year to see what's going on after all this time. I still have sciatic pain, but it doesn't affect me during training. Anyway, this isn't a discussion on my injury...that's just a side story.

The real purpose is to get some discussion going on squat technique...

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Also to add, these are my squats from last night. I'm trying to get back to that technique, but I have to keep in mind that knee wraps tend to change the mechanics slightly:

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nice post steve, will be interesting to hear peoples views

 

as for Mark Rippetoe, He says he teaches the beginner how to squat once you are able to squat big weights you will learn your own techniques

he said who is he to tell someone who squats 500 or 600lbs how to squat. When I took his seminar I wasn't able to look down and he was fine with that, I still don't

 

or something like that don't quote me :P

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nice post steve, will be interesting to hear peoples views

 

as for Mark Rippetoe, He says he teaches the beginner how to squat once you are able to squat big weights you will learn your own techniques

he said who is he to tell someone who squats 500 or 600lbs how to squat. When I took his seminar I wasn't able to look down and he was fine with that, I still don't

 

or something like that don't quote me :P

That's really interesting. He seems a lot more dogmatic on the forums, but I suppose that's because his techniques get bashed a lot when people misinterpret them...

I tried to post something in this thread, but apparently he didn't want to approve it:

http://startingstrength.com/resources/forum/showthread.php?t=54163

Here's what I tried to post:

 

I never actively think about hip drive. It just happens. My main focus here is just sitting back and keeping my knees out. In this particular set, I'm also actively trying to keep my chest up, which I suppose is why I'm not looking down. It's funny how hip drive happens anyway:

Now on the next set, I'm looking down with the same hip drive:

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(I hate the way this site embeds videos every time, even when you don't want to embed them)

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maybe he wouldn't post it because you were listening to sheryl crow while squatting :o

 

seriously though thats to bad its a great topic 

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lol, I didn't even hear that. It's a Pandora classic rock station, heh..

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Great topic!  I have found the same thing.  What works for me is to initially break at the hips and then squat down between my legs while staying upright.  One of my cues before I squat is to "stay back" because for me when I get bent over my depth and power suffers.  

 

 

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Gosh I haven't used the cue to break at the hips first in a long time. I'm going to have to do that again. Thanks for the reminder, Mike!

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I'm posting just so I can follow the comments here.  As a person with a Shitty McShitterson squat, who can't seem to accomplish hip drive without overextending and thereby fubar-ing her lower back, I find this topic fascinating.  So, everyone please say interesting things. :D

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I'm posting just so I can follow the comments here.  As a person with a Shitty McShitterson squat, who can't seem to accomplish hip drive without overextending and thereby fubar-ing her lower back, I find this topic fascinating.  So, everyone please say interesting things. :D

 

 

Amy, your squats are actually pretty nice. You are just oddly cursed.

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I've been thinking about this too. There can be too much of a good thing even on the squat I think. The basic cues might not work for everyone all the time, at least they don't for me. It must be a really different thing to lift in person with a great coach who can tell you the right cues immediately. Doing the same thing for a video online is a lot different. The mechanics I learnt from the book do apply for my me, but I use different cues to get them work.

I don't think Rippetoe would have someone he coaches to have his chest dip at all while squatting. Not that I really know, but at least I can't recall a single video of the people he actually trains weekly doing that. It's just easy to have a bit of that if you have good mechanics otherwise.

The overall idea I'm after is that SS style squat is a lot more than few cues and positions. The book has been the best single description of how squat works I've ever seen. It goes a lot beyond shoulder width stance and thumbs over the bar. So looking at your improved form just looks really good to me, the most obvious things you mentioned have changed, but the mechanics look even better. I mean you have great hip drive, use a grip width you look comfortable with low bar position and wasn't that minimal knee movement too sort of a SS thing too.

A really interesting topic! I'm not a master squatter at all and I haven't been following the SS forum that much lately, so I hope I'm not off too much.

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Great topic and one I have thought about quite a bit as I've tried to improve my squat. I've tried many cues, some worked, some didn't feel right, some may have worked then didn't feel right later on. I am tall with long femurs and I think for a long while I kept trying to squat like other people I saw videos of. When I keep my head up and focus on staying upright I don't get much hip drive and I feel less powerful in the hole. Recently I've tried to not think about being upright OR leaning, but just to sit back AND down and have the bar over my center of gravity while pushing through the lateral heels. The lateral heels part has worked better for me than thinking "knees out" or "spread the floor". I still keep chest up but I don't really have to think about it.

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You really maintained a good back position in that vid and kept the bar over your center of gravity well. Actually a little behind it. There wasn't much forward knee travel but there was enough, you look like you went just a bit over the toes with them which is necessary.

I think some people misinterpret or overdo Rip's cues anyway. Someone was at a seminar and he was yelling at all of them to stop shooting their asses up from the bottom.

Cueing in general is an interesting thing. Rip also talks about how you will sometimes give the "wrong" cue in order to correct an exaggerated mistake. Like if the lifter is bent way too far forward, he will tell them to raise the chest, and it will balance out to a correct, "Starting Strength" squat.

My main concern is my snatch and clean and jerk and using the squat as a way to make my legs strong in the right position. I'm fine with losing some power out of the hole from staying more upright because it means it's working my legs and back in the correct positions.

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Good stuff Mike. Cueing is interesting. One cue can do different things for two people and the brain can only handle so many cues at once. That's a great point about giving the "wrong" cue depending on the lifter. Someone who already has their back in a good position may not need to think about chest up so much. Specific goals and body proportions play a big role too.

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