Frustration with Squats

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Matt Z
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Post by Matt Z » Wed Jan 24, 2007 9:24 am

"Flexibility is an issue with them. For example, I can do the standard parallel squat, but I can't do full squats at all. I tried to get my uncle doing squats, but he had a flexibility problem with them, in adition to a weak medialis. It seems like it is kind of where the glute connects to the hamstring that needs to be stretched out. Maybe if you work on stretching you'll be able to do them." - Ironman

I don't have a problem with depth. I go down until my hamstrings touch my calves on front and back squats.

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Post by Matt Z » Mon Jan 29, 2007 12:12 pm

I forgot to bring a pair of wrist straps to the gym with me on Saturday, so I ended up doing high-bar squats instead. However, I still want to try the front squat wrist strap trick later this week.
Last edited by Matt Z on Mon Jan 29, 2007 12:49 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Post by Matt Z » Mon Jan 29, 2007 12:33 pm

To be perfectly honest regular squats scare me. To begin with I never feel 100% solid doing them, even with an empty bar. Meanwhile, my gym doesn't have a squat cage, just a power rack, so if I miss a rep, there are no safeties to catch the bar. And then on top of all that, good spotters are hard to come by. As a result, I find that I'm almost always holding back when I squat, which has been keeping me from making gains.

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Post by Ryan A » Tue Jan 30, 2007 2:08 pm

A power rack is a squat cage... last time I checked.

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Post by Matt Z » Tue Jan 30, 2007 3:06 pm

When I refer to a squat cage, I'm talking about a frame with adjustable safety bars that you stand inside of to squat. When I refer to a rack, I'm talking about something you lift the bar off of and stand in front of.

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Post by Ryan A » Tue Jan 30, 2007 6:21 pm

Yeah, I think in the industry a squat cage would be called a power rack; atleast it is on every site that sells equipment I have seen.

So your gym has stands? Are the just independent stands or are they connected?

If so that is a bit unfortunate.

You can do front squats with pretty high safety if all you have is stands. I know you have said those are hard because of wrist flexibility. Even so, no time like the present to learn. Many athletically minded trainers think front squats are more productive than back squats so it wouldn't be that you were trading down for a worse exercise.

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Post by Matt Z » Tue Jan 30, 2007 8:36 pm

It's a sturdy single unit. Also, it has a fixed "shelf" of shorts, but it's too low to be of much use if you get stuck mid-rep, and there's nothing at all to prevent you from falling backwards if you lose your ballance or trip backing up.

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Post by Matt Z » Sun Feb 04, 2007 1:10 pm

Okay ... I tried doing Olympic style front squats using wrist straps attached to the bar to ballance it. Unfortunately, this method didn't feel very stable or secure. I even had a little trouble reracking the bar. Anyway, I'm thinking of taking a few weeks off from squating to focus on improving my deadlift, and then going back to high-bar back squats.

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Post by TimD » Sun Feb 04, 2007 1:58 pm

Matt, here is an alternative method for staying stable in the front squat, and is really good for those with limited wrist flexibility. Use a pair of vice grips clamped onto the bar. Then you grab onto them to keep the bar positioned. See the illustration down toward the bottom of this article.
http://jva.ontariostrongman.ca/FS.htm
Tim

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Post by Matt Z » Mon Feb 05, 2007 11:10 am

Thanks for the tip, but I don't think the vicegrips would go over well at my gym. They don't even allow chalk. Also, I noticed on Friday that my knees pass WAY out past my toes when I front squat, much more so then when I do regular back squats, which probably isn't doing my knees any good.

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Post by Ryan A » Mon Feb 05, 2007 5:15 pm

Passing your toes is good, that is how you are supposed to front squat.

Your back should be more or less vertical when you front squat, not like when you back squat and forward lean is expected.

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Post by Matt Z » Wed Feb 07, 2007 5:36 pm

http://jva.ontariostrongman.ca/BadGood.htm

In these front squat photos, his knees look like they're only slightly past his toes. When I front squat my knees seem to reach much farther.

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Post by TimD » Wed Feb 07, 2007 6:08 pm

Matt, notice that in the photo, his knees are also pointing out about 30 degrees or so away from the body, they are not pointing straight out in front. This allows the hips to sink down through the knees and keeps the knees just past the knee, rather than way past the knees.
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Post by Matt Z » Thu Feb 08, 2007 9:46 am

Good point. I think his stance is a little wider than mine.

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Post by TimD » Thu Feb 08, 2007 11:18 am

Hey Matt, glad you deciphered my typos. Meant toes in a few places. As to wider, thats key as well. Everyone has to determine their own distance for width, and for me it's just outside shoulder width. In O lifting, we were taught from the git go to pul with a medium to narrow stance, say maybe heels 12 inches or so apart (together for the "frog" stance),and at the top of the pull jump the feet wider to your predetermined distance for the recovery in a full front squat. mikesgym.com has a lot of info on this. One of my old coaches, years ago, told me that when doing a good front squat, you should look like a frog, stance fairly wide with knees pointed out. 30-45 degrees out works for me, but again, it varies.
Tim

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