Thursday, November 11, 2010

Up high? Or down low?

     Well good morning everyone, and Happy Veterans Day. Also, we're reaching another milestone today... day 30 of rambling! So today we're going to be talking about our favorite exercise. No, I'm not talking about burpees, we're going to talk a little a bit about the squat. Specifically, we're going to talk about the bar position on the back squat.

The Back Squat... you're doing it wrong

     So, I wouldn't really suggest squatting, like the picture above. If you want to... more power to you I guess (just don't come crying to me with broken ankles). Anyway, back on topic, when we perform the back squat we're going to have the bar in either a high-bar, on the traps, or low-bar position, mid scapula.

     So let's first talk about the high-bar position, which is sometimes referred to as the Olympic squat. It is so called that because you will have much more an upright torso (at least you should) throughout the movement. So when we address the bar, we will  let it rest on our traps, similar to the picture below.

High-bar back squat

     You'll notice that our knees are a lot more forward, making this a more quad dominant movement. Though it is sometimes referred to in a negative light, we do need some strong quads. And a back squat like this has more transferability to a movement like the Olympic-style clean.

     Now, when we talk about the low-bar back squat position, the bar will sit at the middle of the scapula. We will need to have our elbow back more to create somewhat of a shelf for the bar to rest. Take a look what I'm talking about below.

A very strong low-bar back squat

     So you can see that, instead, the bar is much lower on the back. This may take some getting used to if you've never done this before. However, you will find that you are generally able to move more weight in this position. This is because we are enlisting more help from our glutes and our hams... and those are some big ass muscles (no pun intended). Our knees will still track over our toes, but a lot less forward. Also, our torso will be more forward, keeping the weight centered over the feet, instead of upright.

     So both of these are a bit more personal preference than anything. For both of these positions we still want to utilize the basics:

  • Weight in the heels
  • Hips move back and down
  • Knees track over the toes
  • Lift heavy crap!

     But why not switch them up, and be a beast at both! I guarantee you'll be stronger as a result.

3,2,1 Squat!

No comments:

Post a Comment