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Amazon Grimm

I are Smart. (I'm an excellent squatter.)

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So I've read the Squat chapter of Starting Strength about 4-5 times.  I just re-read it.

 

Apparently, a low bar squat is done with the bar below the spine of the scapula, not above it as I have previously thought it was .

 

Argh.

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The higher the bar is on your back the more upright your squat position should be which should make it easier to go below parallel not harder.  The angle of the back should be dictated by the need to keep the bar over your center of gravity.  Low bar squat uses the most forward lean, front squats have an almost upright back angle.  But, when the bar is high it will make it harder to recover once you lose your form and let your back lean forward.

 

I used to have problems determining if I was in a good low bar position because finding the spine of the scapula can be tough, especially if you squeeze your upper back tight causing the muscles to bunch up and hide the bone.  I just make sure that the weight sits right on top of my bunched up rear delts and that puts me in a pretty good low bar position.  This position key is much easier than trying to figure out where my scapula is.

 

edit: I got sidetracked while writing this post and Corey said it much more succinctly than I did by the time I submitted.

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I don't do the Starting Strength program but I used Starting Strength to learn how to properly do the main lifts.  The book was very helpful but I was constantly re-reading and double checking until I bought the Starting Strength DVD.  Everything seemed to click after that.  

 

Some people will tell you that the DVD is too repetitive and too long and that you can find youtube clips of Rippetoe explaining how to do all of the main lifts so why spend the $20?

 

 Here's why:  Rippetoe takes two hours to explain and coach 5 exercises.  How is that possible?  Because after he explains how to do each lift, he shows a bunch of new people trying to do the lifts and he corrects their faults on the spot.  Once I could watch a bunch of strangers do the lifts, and I knew what Rippetoe was going to say before he said it, I knew that I had a pretty good idea of how to do the exercises correctly.  Knowing what it is supposed to look like is not the same thing as being able to get your body to do it, but it is the first step.

 

Starting Strength DVD

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If I were Ripp, my posts would be much funnier.  My post does sound like it's trying to sell something, I didn't mean for it to sound like a sales pitch.  It just made everything click for me so I want to share that feeling with others!

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Context. It's true some of the time. If someone has issues with their back squat, regressing to a goblet squat (a special type of front squat) is generally the first place to go. However, if someone has issues with the BB back squat they're also less likely to be able to perform a correct BB front squat as you're adding complexity with the rack position and increasing the mobility demands on the athlete so starting there often isn't the best idea.

 

For non Weightlifters I like to get started by developing the goblet squat and back squat. Normally using the goblet squat as a warmup to a back squat session works wonders within the same session. Once we can hold a solid rack position then we'll work the front squat. If someone has a good rack position but lacks the balance and coordination to do a good back squat we'll look to the front squat. Context.

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FWIW, my rack position is TERRIBLE.

 

jdanger:  I have trouble starting out squatting.  It's like I'm scared of it until after my first rep.  If I wanted to add a some goblet squats before my back squats.  How much weightwould you recommend?  I'll still be doing my warmups starting with the emnpty bar.

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Weight isn't super important. You just want enough to help counter balance your BW as you descend into the squat. If you don't have kettlebells you can use a 25lb-35lb plate or anything in that range that's about the right size (anything you can hold at chest level and attempt to get your elbows inside your knees). I normally start with pause goblet squats where you sit into the bottom and try to push your knees out with your elbows and then move into regular cadence goblet squats for 2-3 sets of 8-15 reps.

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Why would that be? 

It is much more difficult to arch your back and put yourself at risk of injury in a front squat- if you do you'll simply drop the bar. Front squats literally force you into good form- the hardest part is the rack position but that's where a trainer comes in handy. Traditional squats on the other hand allow you to load up and go down- much better for handling bigger weights but much easier to slip out of form and do something permanent.

I fought it for as long as I could when training clients- I always considered front squats to be a more advanced exercise but eventually I saw the light- beginners pick it up way faster, their form is spot on and it makes for a much safer introduction to (arguably) the best exercise you can do with a barbell.

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The problem is that it focuses less on the posterior chain, though that's not a huge deal if you're training DLs as well.

You can also train form by being strict and not increasing the weight until all reps are done with good form at the current weight.

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Srsly back squats aren't that difficult. People tend to get too bogged down in the details. Just put a bar on your back and squat, everything else will work itself out. With that said I got nothing but love/hate for front skwatz.

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I would think that new lifters would have a lot more problems with the front squat than the back squat. I don't think I started front squatting till about a year ago. The whole catch position was a bit much until I had worked out for a while and had worked through more mobility work.

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