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Bar slipping on zombie squats


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I've sustained a serious wrist injury which means I've had to switch to zombie squats, probably for a few months. 

 

The Oly bar I have just so happens to fall exactly onto my shoulders at a point where there is no knurling just shiny slippery chrome and it's causing me issues when I sweat with slipping forward on my arms. 

 

I'm thinking maybe wrapping some athletic tape round bar or a towel taped round it something like that might help stop it from slipping.

 

Has anyone got any bright ideas/experience with this sort of thing?

         Endor, LVL 40 Half-Elf Ranger 

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I'd much prefer Zercher Squats over Zombie Squats- wrap towels around your elbow crease if the pain is too much- just because it's much easier to keep the bar secure. Either that or convince your gym to purchase one of these bad boys and keep the bar on the top rungs.

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Hmm that's interesting, I never heard of those before or that bar thing but it looks like it would be pretty handy. I don't think I'd be that keen without it. Ultimately I want to come out with a strong front squat position for catching cleans and be comfortable racking the bar consistently so I think zombie squats are going to be good for that. I might try zercher just to see how it feels. Last thing I want is elbow issues though. 

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Yeah, they're pretty safe on the elbow. You'll put the joint under more pressure doing curls with a medium-high weight. That said, the initial pain turns a lot of people off- inner elbows are surprisingly sensitive. 

"No-one tells a T-Rex when to go to sleep".

- Jim Wendler

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I had this same situation happen to me when I added Olympic lifting on top of my regular lifting routine. My first day doing front squats I got up to 165lbs (Had been squatting for months), but did not know how to ditch a front squat properly.  Ditched stupidly and tore the shit out of everything that connects in my wrists and thumbs, had minor fractures, and had to tape them up ridiculously to get any lifting done. I still wrap my wrists to this day when doing Olympic lifts as I already injured them once.  Only could do 50lb snatches and power cleans for 2.5months. (could still squat and deadlift just fine though, no bending of my wrists ;) )

 

I did a similar front squat (I used the body-builder style, or what I liked to call, the genie).  With that arm position, I found it much easier to shrug properly and make sure the bar was nestled on the 'sweet-spot' on my delts to keep it secure. It was easier for me to practice keeping my 'elbows high' in my front rack from that position. Was great training for learning to keep my back straight and locked as well. 

 

If you are still having slipping issues, you can always use chalk to help with grip/moisture issues.  What sort of shirt do you lift in?  When I am doing heavy front squats, I tend to go with a  regular cotton t-shirt for the added grip benefit.  Bare shoulders can be slippery when wet.  Also a lot of the 'moisture-wicking' gear is not a good resting place for the barbell.

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If a zombie squat is what I think it is (front squat with arms straight out in front) my humble advice is to ignore everyone else and work on your squat until you can do it in a way that the bar doesn't move. Knurling doesn't matter, if you can't do a squat this way and keep the bar secure there's a problem with where you're putting the bar on your front rack, your movement, or both. 

 

This type of squat is indeed both a great diagnostic tool and strength builder for an efficient front squat.

 

And no, there's really no need to ever zercher squat.

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jdanger, in your experience is there any specific reason not to zercher squat?  I mean, is it bad for your forearms/elbows with heavier weights?  I've never done them, just curious.

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jdanger, in your experience is there any specific reason not to zercher squat? 

I'm curious about this too- I wouldn't call them a staple exercise but I've never heard anything claiming them to be detrimental.

"No-one tells a T-Rex when to go to sleep".

- Jim Wendler

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If a zombie squat is what I think it is (front squat with arms straight out in front) my humble advice is to ignore everyone else and work on your squat until you can do it in a way that the bar doesn't move. Knurling doesn't matter, if you can't do a squat this way and keep the bar secure there's a problem with where you're putting the bar on your front rack, your movement, or both. 

 

This type of squat is indeed both a great diagnostic tool and strength builder for an efficient front squat.

 

And no, there's really no need to ever zercher squat.

Yes that's the position, not obligatory to mumble "bwainz"  whilst doing them but I find it helps :lol:

 

Appreciate the feedback, I am struggling with it a bit, I find if I get it racked well I end up choking as it presses on my throat. Maybe my shoulders just aren't big enough or something. They're covered with bruises already! I got a gopro the other day so I might see if I can do a form vid. I'm really keen to come out with a strong front squat in 3 months time seeing as I can't do much else.

 

 

I did a similar front squat (I used the body-builder style, or what I liked to call, the genie).  With that arm position, I found it much easier to shrug properly and make sure the bar was nestled on the 'sweet-spot' on my delts to keep it secure. It was easier for me to practice keeping my 'elbows high' in my front rack from that position. Was great training for learning to keep my back straight and locked as well. 

 

If you are still having slipping issues, you can always use chalk to help with grip/moisture issues.  What sort of shirt do you lift in?  When I am doing heavy front squats, I tend to go with a  regular cotton t-shirt for the added grip benefit.  Bare shoulders can be slippery when wet.  Also a lot of the 'moisture-wicking' gear is not a good resting place for the barbell.

I end up switching to that 'genie' position if the bar slips too badly or my form starts to fail as I get tired (I'm doing Smolov Jr at the moment).

 

I usually wear a shiny football top type shirts because I sweat a lot but for these I've switched to cotton shirts to try to get extra grip. 

 

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Just finished my 8 x 4 sets, put some tape on the bar and it does seem to have helped but I am being more conscious of bar position when I rack it on my chest/shoulders as well. 

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I'm curious about this too- I wouldn't call them a staple exercise but I've never heard anything claiming them to be detrimental.

 

I just classify them as not worth the time and tissue trauma. Most people are already battling sore shoulders and elbows so doing something that can easily make that worse or start causing issues just isn't worth it. There are better ways to address whatever weakness people imagine they need zerchers for.

 

That said if someone is just into odd lifts and doesn't really care about those things then yeah, it's fine. Again, we never really contraindicate an exercise. We contraindicate exercisers and in the case of the zercher, most people don't need it. Further, anyone training for a sport, strength or otherwise, definitely doesn't need it.

 

So yeah, if someone needs to work on their posture and upper back strength in a front squat, the no hand (zombie) front squat is a very good way to go. As opposed to the zercher which simply reinforces poor posture and introduces unnecessary tissue and joint stress. You'll see national level weightlifting coaches use one of these exercises but some have probably never thought twice about the other. I know we can all guess which is which. Appeal to authority? Maybe, but success leaves clues and the reasoning is pretty straight forward.

 

Appreciate the feedback, I am struggling with it a bit, I find if I get it racked well I end up choking as it presses on my throat. Maybe my shoulders just aren't big enough or something. They're covered with bruises already! I got a gopro the other day so I might see if I can do a form vid. I'm really keen to come out with a strong front squat in 3 months time seeing as I can't do much else.

 

Then you're doing it right. The bar should be against your throat, it won't be comfortable but you'll get used to it. A form check is highly recommended.

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Had some issues with my new gopro but finally managed to get a vid from my phone of a warm up set. I'll have another go at a better vid later in the week. 

 

These felt better, bit more mindful of bar placement. Still got sore bruised shoulders, though not as bad from this session. 

 

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I'd like to point out because the bar is ... just the bar- you are super loosey goosey.

 

I find I have poor control and am floppy with no weight because I have no motivation or inclination to be tight- I just tend to think *squat*

 

not- keep tight- keep this- breath- brace etc etc.

 

it's just not as "good" of a squat- and it causes it's own set of problems- it's like trying to do a KB swing with 5 pounds- it just... doens't work as well. Once you get past basic mechanics- having a working weight- even a light working weight is useful for helping mentally keep you engaged. 

 

I suspect as soon as you put some weight on the bar- you'll figure out and self correct very quickly how to do them without rolling the bar forward.   More practice- it'll get better. 

 

PS- when did this become a "zombie" squat- I've been doing them for years and they never had a special name. 

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I'd like to point out because the bar is ... just the bar- you are super loosey goosey.

 

I find I have poor control and am floppy with no weight because I have no motivation or inclination to be tight- I just tend to think *squat*

 

not- keep tight- keep this- breath- brace etc etc.

 

it's just not as "good" of a squat- and it causes it's own set of problems- it's like trying to do a KB swing with 5 pounds- it just... doens't work as well. Once you get past basic mechanics- having a working weight- even a light working weight is useful for helping mentally keep you engaged. 

 

I suspect as soon as you put some weight on the bar- you'll figure out and self correct very quickly how to do them without rolling the bar forward.   More practice- it'll get better. 

 

PS- when did this become a "zombie" squat- I've been doing them for years and they never had a special name. 

Thanks for the feedback. I'm going through a Smolov Junior cycle at the moment using zombie squats (injuries) so I am squatting 4 days a week and getting lots of practice! I'll try to get a vid from the heavier sessions later in the week. This one was just my warmups with the bar, then I needed my phone for timing breaks.

 

It's more so the bar position on my shoulders I'm trying to get right, it has improved somewhat but I'm still very bruised and probably only find 'the sweet spot' on half my sets. It's is improving gradually though. 

 

I can't quite figure out if I'm better off pointing my arms straight out directly in front or more towards the ceiling. Need to find a good instructional vid/photo. 

 

As the weight gets heavier the bar does tend to slip forward on the final sets of the sessions, that's when I'm sweaty and tired. 

 

As for the zombie squats name, just what my coach told me they were called and seemed appropriate!   :)

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I like the term zombie squat. Way more fun than what I used to call them anyway and I'm totally stealing it when working with kids at least. As for arm position, generally shoot for a little higher than horizontal. They don't have to shoot way up but keeping them up a bit will help prevent the tilt, especially as it gets harder.

 

For what it's worth your movement with just the bar is pretty good. The bruising comes with the territory. Some people bruise easier than others but everyone gets tagged from heavy and/or high volume front squats. Over time your soft tissue will adapt a bit and it won't hurt as bad but it'll always be there to some degree. Not much to worry about really.

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As for your video, does the bar slip at the bottom of the movement? Your chest seems to dip a bit coming out of the hole. I personally took awhile to correct this flaw on front squats myself as the cue in the back squat is "hip drive" and I had been back squatting for 18 months before ever trying a front squat.

 

The hip drive cue makes the hips pop up and back out of the hole, which is exactly what you don't want on the front squats. It seems like you're still pushing them back on the way down like you would in the back squat as well. The front squat should feel less like a back squat and more like a leg press as far as how you approach it and activate everything. You want to think "hips down and and knees forward" on the front squat instead of pushing the hips back. Coming out of the hole it's now "leg drive" and "hips forward", or "shoulders backward" to keep that chest up and keeping the bar in place, making all the drive come from your legs, not the hips like in the back squat. Hips really only have a major part in the movement after you get through the sticking point and are locking out, at which point you shove them forward. Those are all the cues that helped me stop tipping forward. I also have to concisously "roll" my hips under me at the bottom to keep my hips from going back like in the back squat.

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I like the term zombie squat. Way more fun than what I used to call them anyway and I'm totally stealing it when working with kids at least. As for arm position, generally shoot for a little higher than horizontal. They don't have to shoot way up but keeping them up a bit will help prevent the tilt, especially as it gets harder.

 

For what it's worth your movement with just the bar is pretty good. The bruising comes with the territory. Some people bruise easier than others but everyone gets tagged from heavy and/or high volume front squats. Over time your soft tissue will adapt a bit and it won't hurt as bad but it'll always be there to some degree. Not much to worry about really.

Thanks for the tips and feedback.

 

As for your video, does the bar slip at the bottom of the movement? Your chest seems to dip a bit coming out of the hole. I personally took awhile to correct this flaw on front squats myself as the cue in the back squat is "hip drive" and I had been back squatting for 18 months before ever trying a front squat.

 

The hip drive cue makes the hips pop up and back out of the hole, which is exactly what you don't want on the front squats. It seems like you're still pushing them back on the way down like you would in the back squat as well. The front squat should feel less like a back squat and more like a leg press as far as how you approach it and activate everything. You want to think "hips down and and knees forward" on the front squat instead of pushing the hips back. Coming out of the hole it's now "leg drive" and "hips forward", or "shoulders backward" to keep that chest up and keeping the bar in place, making all the drive come from your legs, not the hips like in the back squat. Hips really only have a major part in the movement after you get through the sticking point and are locking out, at which point you shove them forward. Those are all the cues that helped me stop tipping forward. I also have to concisously "roll" my hips under me at the bottom to keep my hips from going back like in the back squat.

You're right, reading this has been a really good cue for me to think about the difference between front and back squat technique again. I've been doing cleans for a while but not just pure front squats recently, in fact it's been about 6 months. I think my form has improved already after reading this, thanks heaps for the tips ;)

 

You can also try getting your knees out. That usually allows for a better upright position at the bottom.

An example here: Is it your shoulders? Quick test | Feat. Kelly St…:

Vid above is for overhead squat but the same principle applies.

Good vid, thanks, I'll try to think about this on my next session. 

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I know I'm late to the party, but for what it's worth Clint Darden uses zombie squats exclusively as his front squat.

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Zombie squats worked out well in the end. Form improved over the cycle and at the end of my 3 week smolov jr cycle I 1rm'ed a zombie squat at 95kg which is a 5kg front Squat PR for me, was very happy with that. They've improved my technique and core strength a lot, definitely recommend them

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I'm not built for these damn things.  I tried doing them the other day and the bar rolled right into my throat.  I know you're supposed to practice it until you get used to it but I don't think I can stand that gagging feeling long enough to get 'good' at it.

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