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Sam Ashen

Sam Ashen Stronglifts Form Check

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Hello everybody!  Here are some videos showing the lifts from Stronglifts.  I am reserving my comments for now.  The lifts were done this morning in the same order indicated below.

 

Squats, 10 reps with 115 pounds.  (52 kg)

 

First of all, sorry about the shorts.  I wanted to check depth.  I also do not have a squat rack at my buddy's place so had to toss the weight overhead and then set up my hand position.  I did not want to post a video from my regular gym because they frown on taking videos and I am not sure about posting videos with other people floating in and out who might not want to be in the video.  Apparently, I was not thinking about the clean on the way up and I am still working on that and it will be on a different video.

 

Bench Press, 10 reps with 95 pounds.  (43 kg)

 

The shot is originally from the front, then I told my buddy to take it from the side at a 45 degree angle.

 

Deadlifts, 10 reps with 185 pounds.  (84 kg)

 

Bent-Over Rows, 5 reps with 135 pounds (61 kg)

 

Overhead Press, 10 reps with 95 pounds.  (43 kg)

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I'd say everything looks just fine.  Nothing jumps out at me at all.  Maybe, maaayyyybe, try to keep your elbows in just a teeny tiny bit more on bench, but that's a minor little thing.  Everything looks fine, good work.

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May sound ignorant but are you supposed to hold your breath as you go down on squats? Unless going for a PR I see no possible benefit.

Other than that form looks good to me. Some stuff is hard to diagnose, like having a mildly arched back during bench press for example, but looks pretty good.

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May sound ignorant but are you supposed to hold your breath as you go down on squats? Unless going for a PR I see no possible benefit.

 

Fill the lungs with air and bracing allows you to create a more rigid pillar to hold the bar and reduce the risk of injury :)

 

 

Other than that form looks good to me. Some stuff is hard to diagnose, like having a mildly arched back during bench press for example, but looks pretty good.

The spine is naturally arched, maintaining that arch with load is good lifting practice :)

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Fill the lungs with air and bracing allows you to create a more rigid pillar to hold the bar and reduce the risk of injury :)

The spine is naturally arched, maintaining that arch with load is good lifting practice :)

More than reducing risk of injury, holding air is essential to lifting heavy. And eventually you will want more arch on the bench, not less.

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More than reducing risk of injury, holding air is essential to lifting heavy. And eventually you will want more arch on the bench, not less.

 

I did not know this until I got on this forum, actually.

 

Question:  Is this (holding air) the case for all the lifts I posted?

 

I also wonder at some point (number of reps) where you should just breathe.

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I did not know this until I got on this forum, actually.

Question: Is this (holding air) the case for all the lifts I posted?

I also wonder at some point (number of reps) where you should just breathe.

The ones where you are supporting weight with your back/core. So squat, deadlift, overhead. Little bit less on bench.

On warm ups, I'll probably go 4 or 5 reps between breaths. As you get to heavier weights, it becomes, breath in, hold, lift, breath. Repeat.

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Oh, I was under the impression for benching that you press your lower back into the bench and clench abs and posterior chain. This supposedly isolates the chest and arms preventing using legs to assist.

Good to know about the holding breath, I've apparently been doing it wrong. I breathe behind the "shield" during the each rep based on what I've read from Panel T. That said never been formally educated on exercise. Again, I ask, unless going for a PR or 1-2 reps, what benefit is there to holding your breath rather than keeping the core very solid and breathing behind it, is it simpler to learn, better protection for spine, etc? Sorry if I am derailing thread, if so, will delete posts.

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Your core is more "solid" if you hold your breath.

Try doing paused squats while breathing at the bottom vs. holding your breath at the bottom. That should show you how huge the difference is.

If you can't tell the difference, add more weight.

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 try to keep your elbows in just a teeny tiny bit more on bench, but that's a minor little thing

 

Quick question - Does that mean the bar moves with the elbows and therefore the bar has to be just a little bit lower on the chest?

 

Sorry if I am derailing thread, if so, will delete posts.

 

You are not derailing the thread.  Had you not asked the question, I would not have read the responses.  We are all learning something.

 

Try doing paused squats while breathing at the bottom vs. holding your breath at the bottom. That should show you how huge the difference is.

If you can't tell the difference, add more weight.

 

Papa loves paused squats!  :)  I can give this a try.

 

When I started out a couple of years ago, I used to gasp on the descent all the way down - three or four breaths.

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Papa loves paused squats! :) I can give this a try.

When I started out a couple of years ago, I used to gasp on the descent all the way down - three or four breaths.

Yeah, pausing your lifts is a great way to check and diagnose what's wrong your lifts.

Your lifts are pretty good though, not much I can say about them. Tough not having a rack or at least stands.

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Oh, I was under the impression for benching that you press your lower back into the bench and clench abs and posterior chain. This supposedly isolates the chest and arms preventing using legs to assist.

Good to know about the holding breath, I've apparently been doing it wrong. I breathe behind the "shield" during the each rep based on what I've read from Panel T. That said never been formally educated on exercise. Again, I ask, unless going for a PR or 1-2 reps, what benefit is there to holding your breath rather than keeping the core very solid and breathing behind it, is it simpler to learn, better protection for spine, etc? Sorry if I am derailing thread, if so, will delete posts.

 

#1 thing for all lifts is to prevent injury.  You do this by making sure everything is tight, so nothing gets 'surprised' by the weight.  It's one of the main benefits of using bars and free weights.  Your body has to balance everything.

 

#2 on the bench.  You can't really use your legs to assist (though we talk about leg drive a lot).  But what you can do is use your legs to help make everything solid. Think of them as the outriggers on a truck crane.  They need to be solidly on the floor (some competitions require flat feet, some allow toes) and then you brace from there up through your buttocks to your shoulders.  Ideally, someone should be able to bump you from the side and you won't move (much).  

 

#3 for all lifts, including the bench, but especially the squats and overhead, you need to build a column to support the weight.  The accepted way (because it works) is to build that column by taking a deep breath and holding it with a tight diaphragm and abdominals while performing the movement.  This is one of the reasons that squats are a great core workout.

 

#4 the problem with flattening your back against the bench is going to be at least 2 fold.  It's going to be harder to get a good stable base with your feet.  It is going to be hard to get your shoulders tight and rotated into the right position.  So it's going to violate #1 above by increasing the risk of injury since multiple parts are not going to be tight.  You'll get hurt when you wobble a bit, then have to over correct one side and bam!

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It looks like I have some benchmarks to use.  Thanks, everybody!

 

Tough not having a rack or at least stands.

 

Over there, I usually work front squats.  At the normal commercial gym they have normal power racks and platforms, so I can work back squats.

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Here's a great little video that Spezzy just put up that shows almost everything we just talked through on the bench press

 

https://instagram.com/p/1uLU9PxoOC/

 

You can see her grab air right before she lowers the bar

You can see how her feet are 'driving' into her butt

You can see how solid her shoulders are on the bench

And you can see a pretty hard lower back arch.

 

The only think you can't see is the shoulder rotation/positioning.

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I understand everything you are saying with the bench.  I have experimented with a high arch like that and I feel less stable somehow.  

That big of an arch is not for everyone.  I don't arch nearly that much (maybe cause I'm old and stiff...but we won't go there)

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In my Challenge, I posted a deadlift video along with a self-critique:

 

 

Here is a set of 12 deadlifts with 295 pounds, followed by some rolls and box jumps.  It looks like the shoulders are getting ahead of the bar and I should be sinking the hips lower.  Gradually the back position gets compromised.  The first set with 295 I attempted with a double overhand grip, but that fell apart by the second rep and I switched.  The set felt miserable.  I am going to guess that I compensated by moving the shoulders forward and the hips upward.  On the plus side, it still felt like I was doing a leg press.  Tomorrow I should have a better idea what parts got engaged.

 

It is interesting the difference between what I feel and what I see on video.  I will chalk this up to mistakes accumulating due to fatigue.  That being the case, just try to remember some cues and get back there the next time.

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Continuing to use this thread.....  Here is where the deadlift form falls apart on 1RM attempts:

 

 

The main question is if this is to be expected when trying to max out.

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You start to lose your back pretty early in the ramp up so I'm inclined to say that this is mostly back weakness. Make sure you keep a solid braced neutral through all your volume work and hit all back assistance on TDM with solid tech and this should improve over time. Once that's locked in if you're still getting stapled to the floor (which is most likely going to be the case) there're ways to address it but I'd worry about getting the back position beefed up first. Which is one of the major goals of TDM.

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You start to lose your back pretty early in the ramp up so I'm inclined to say that this is mostly back weakness. Make sure you keep a solid braced neutral through all your volume work and hit all back assistance on TDM with solid tech and this should improve over time. Once that's locked in if you're still getting stapled to the floor (which is most likely going to be the case) there're ways to address it but I'd worry about getting the back position beefed up first. Which is one of the major goals of TDM.

 

Pretty early in the ramp up being somewhere before 175 kg.

 

It is interesting that you call it back weakness.  I thought the issue would be posterior chain because that issue tends to plague me.  (It will show up in squats and I really want to show a video of big volume squats to show where that one falls apart.)

 

Question:  By back weakness, are you referring to losing upper back tightness when pulling the slack out of the bar?

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Well the back is a pretty large, and arguably the most important, piece of the chain.

 

I mostly mean rounding through the mid and lumbar back specifically. While I prefer no rounding throughout the entire back for both health and weightlifting, rounding at the upper back can be more viable and survivable than low back rounding for pure DL numbers. 

 

That said, when I talk about weakness I really mean losing neutral spine anywhere at any point during a movement where we don't want to. Again, I approach the deadlift as such a movement and recommend no one consider rounding approaches until they have a solid base of technique and strength from neutral and enough experience to weigh the cost benefit.

 

One of the things I drill into lifters from day 1 is posture. Specifically, neutral to slight extension with no articulation of the spine at all while under load. Weightlifters live and die by their back strength. 

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^^Nothing quite like a video to tell me exactly what is going on.  Body feels one thing.  Video tells a different story.  It looks like I will be doing more work with Big Rod (pipe or stick running from the bottom of the spine to the shoulders to the head) to see where I am losing it.

 

Sets of 10 deadlifts:  I am planning to take a little bit more time between reps to make sure I have a good static start.  Before, it was follow the weight down and let it bounce, then breathe, tighten, and pull.

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Yeah I'm a stickler for avoiding touch 'n go deadlifts for the most part. You're on the right track. For losing the back start paying attention to your brace and you really should be able to feel when you start to break out of it. At the base level it's a muscle awareness thing that once you turn on is a valuable tool in keeping things above board moving forward. As we tend to push the envelope it's not that you'll never round, it's that when you do it's minimal and you immediately recognize it so you can take action accordingly. In the context of TDM that could either mean slowing down increases or even calling a set finished before you hit the prescribed reps. 

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Not arguing, but trying to understand some things.  I also think suddenly going from sets of 10 from 70% to 80% to singles at 100% is a huge jump and there is some element of "forgetting" involved.  It would be better to just follow the program and work the 10's, then go to 5's.  I will get a set of 10's taped to see what kind of break-down there is.

 

I would much rather take advantage of Sunday when it is quiet at the gym to tape a set of 10 squats and see what is going on there.  When I was working the heavy singles, I had a couple where I got stapled when I should not have.  I am going to attribute that to suddenly jumping the weight and forgetting everything.  You are likely to have a different diagnosis.

 

I suddenly got off track and tried testing out 1RM's because the Sizzling Summer of Swole was announced and I thought I should give it a go.  I was really on the fence about this.

 

Can I ask for a strange favor?  Can you tell me it is okay to take a pass on the SSS and nobody is going to hold that decision against me?

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