Barbell Squats

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Matt Z

Barbell Squats

Post by Matt Z » Fri Apr 07, 2006 2:18 pm

I've been doing barbell squats on and off for many years, and have tried several variations of stance and bar placement, but I've never gotten completely comfortable with the excercise. My form is good and I can go fairly heavy, but the excercise always feel akward, even on my lightest warmup sets. Also, squats are the only excercise I have this problem with. All the others are second nature.

I've thought about substituting sled hack squats, but my gym doesn't have a hack squat machine, and I HATE leg presses. Any suggestions.

George G
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Post by George G » Fri Apr 07, 2006 2:42 pm

Why do you need a machine to do hack squats. Just a barbell would do. Am I misunderstanding something?

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Stephen Johnson
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Post by Stephen Johnson » Fri Apr 07, 2006 3:12 pm

George G wrote:Why do you need a machine to do hack squats. Just a barbell would do. Am I misunderstanding something?
The barbell hack squat is a forgotten exercise these days. Most people automatically think of the sled variety.
MattZ wrote:My form is good and I can go fairly heavy, but the excercise always feel akward, even on my lightest warmup sets.
Is the awkwardness based on a sense of losing your balance, or not feeling the exercise in your target muscles?

I'm tall (6' 6") with long legs and have some flexibility challenges, so squatting has never been my favorite exercise. But for building up the legs, it has no peer. I've found that the front squat is an acceptable substitute which doesn't cause me to worry about my balance. Also, I have done squatting with dumbells. In both instances, though, the amout of weight that I use is much less than that for a back squat

Matt Z

Post by Matt Z » Fri Apr 07, 2006 3:14 pm

I've tried hack squats with a barbell and on a smith machine. Unfortunately, I didn't like either very much. I suppose I could try Barbell Hack Squats again and see how it goes, I'm just afraid I'll lower the bar onto my Acillies tendon (probably mispelled that).

Matt Z

Post by Matt Z » Fri Apr 07, 2006 3:23 pm

Often I find my weight shifting onto the balls of my feet when I squat. This happens much less with front squats. However with front squats (crossed arms variety) supporting/ballancing the weight quickly becomes more of a chalenge than actually squatting it (for me at least).

Matt Z

Post by Matt Z » Fri Apr 07, 2006 3:34 pm

I'm only 5'6" and very flaxible, so I don't understand why squats are so difficult for me. Standard Deadlifts, Bench Presses, Military Presses, Dumbbell Presses, all feel very natural and comfortable for me.

Matt Z

Post by Matt Z » Fri Apr 07, 2006 3:45 pm

PS.) I squat high-bar with a medium width stance and good depth (a little bellow parallel). Any narrower than that and I have trouble maintaining my ballance. Any wider and I feel like I'm working my inner thys more than my quads. I tried low-bar squats once, but had to slide my hands way out, and ended up tweaking my wrist with no weight on the bar.

Matt Z

Post by Matt Z » Fri Apr 07, 2006 3:52 pm

Lunges (barbell and dumbbell) are also very akward for me, but they're not a very importand lift, so I don't bother with them.

Matt Z

Post by Matt Z » Fri Apr 07, 2006 3:54 pm

Also, I've tried doing Olympic style front squats, but my arms just don't seem to bend that way. You can see how my options are somewhat limited.

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Post by Stephen Johnson » Fri Apr 07, 2006 3:55 pm

Matt Z wrote:Often I find my weight shifting onto the balls of my feet when I squat.
Sounds like tight ankles
Matt Z wrote:This happens much less with front squats. However with front squats (crossed arms variety) supporting/ballancing the weight quickly becomes more of a chalenge than actually squatting it (for me at least).
I use the Olympic style holding position, which is like the finish position of a clean. For light/moderate weights, I just clean the bar into place and start my set. For heavier weights, I cheat and use a squat rack or power cage to accept the bar.

You're right about the folded arms being tricky for balancing the weight, to say nothing about the bar scraping your skin off. Even after using a towel I dropped that in a hurry.

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Post by Guest » Fri Apr 07, 2006 4:02 pm

Should I do more calf stretches then?

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Post by TimD » Fri Apr 07, 2006 5:08 pm

Hi Matt, the idea is to keep the weight back towards the heels. I would re-examine stances. A bit wider than shoulder width, knees outward tracking with toes, sitting back and down THROUGH the hips. Practice with the empty bar (hi bar is fine, in fact IMHO, preferred). A trick we used to use to teach proper form was to grab a DB (HEX)hold it on the chest, elbows down, and squat down. Your elbows should go inside the knees, weight back towards the heels, keeping chest puffed out, scapula back. Takes some practice, but you should pick it up quickly.
Stephen- as to the forgotten lifts, let's really confuse the issue with Zerchers, LOL.
Tim

Matt Z

Post by Matt Z » Fri Apr 07, 2006 5:44 pm

How did you hold the dumbbell? vertical or horizontal?

Keith

Post by Keith » Fri Apr 07, 2006 6:29 pm

Funny, Tim. I lover Zercher Squats.

Matt-Have you looked in to hip-belt squats. I have heard that these are a really great leg exercise.

Keith

Matt Z

Post by Matt Z » Fri Apr 07, 2006 6:36 pm

No I haven't. Isn't that a cable station exercise?

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