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  1. TheRuss is offline
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    is badder than you

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    Posted On:
    5/18/2012 11:50pm

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    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Here are two simple rules for the front squat.
    Throughout the lift:
    -the barbell should be somewhere over the heel or instep of your foot, and
    -your upper arms should be at least parallel to the floor

    (It's often very helpful to have someone watch you from the side to let you know whether you're following these rules. If that fails, there's always recording yourself and then watching the video after, but I recommend against trying to check your alignment by looking at a mirror beside you mid-squat)

    ---

    Note that "throughout the lift" includes the very start. If the barbell is over your toes (or further) when you're standing up (like it looks to be in your videos), you're screwed right off the bat.

    ---

    Now, as far as the upper arms part, how do you actually make this happen? Well, as Lindz said, you need to keep your elbows higher. But there's another way to think about it that helped me.

    Several years ago, I couldn't front squat. I could back squat a fair bit, but my front squat was just a disaster. I asked Bullshido for help, but it wasn't until significantly later that I figured it out. I was doing one simple thing wrong, and when I fixed it my front squat immediately doubled.

    For most exercises, your shoulders should be retracted. But during a front squat, to get (and keep) your elbows high without choking yourself, you need to bring your shoulders forward relative to your throat. This does not mean leaning forward; if you're unclear about the position I'm describing, let me know and I'll take pictures.

    If you can't bring your shoulders far enough forward to get your elbows up, then work lat mobility until you can.

    ---

    Once you've got any lat/shoulder mobility issues sorted out, you can get your shoulders forward and your elbows up. Now you need to teach yourself to actually do so, even - nay, especially - when the barbell gets heavy.

    There are a lot of different ways to think about it, but the one I like best is this: "The lower I get, the higher I push my elbows."
    It may also help to think about keeping your chest up and back (upper and lower) tight.
    Another way to think about the chest/upper back thing - this may require pictures to properly explain - is pulling your chin back. That's back, not up. Tilting your head up toward the ceiling feels like it helps, but it actually makes things worse.

    However you think about it, if the idea of what you want is clear in your mind, you (maybe with the help of an observer/coach) should eventually be able to make it happen.

    ---

    I couldn't tell if there were any problems with the width of your stance or the tracking of your knees because the "front" shot was off to the side. I don't mean this as an insult, but if putting the camera right in front of you wasn't an option, you could have turned to face the camera.

    In any case, I hope this helped. I tried to focus on the causes of the problem rather than the symptoms; if anything here doesn't make sense, let me know and I'll do my best to improve my explanation (perhaps with pictures!).
    Last edited by TheRuss; 5/18/2012 11:53pm at .
    Quote Originally Posted by Emevas View Post
    Downstreet on the flip-flop, timepants.
  2. Lindz is online now

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    Posted On:
    5/19/2012 12:12am

    Join us... or die
     Style: comparison shopping

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by TheRuss View Post
    For most exercises, your shoulders should be retracted. But during a front squat, to get (and keep) your elbows high without choking yourself, you need to bring your shoulders forward relative to your throat. This does not mean leaning forward; if you're unclear about the position I'm describing, let me know and I'll take pictures.
    Pictures please. I've choked myself a few times during front squats but had no idea what I was doing differently
  3. Mister is offline

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    Posted On:
    5/19/2012 5:30am


     Style: Injured

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by TheRuss View Post
    Here are two simple rules for the front squat.
    Throughout the lift:
    -the barbell should be somewhere over the heel or instep of your foot, and
    -your upper arms should be at least parallel to the floor

    (It's often very helpful to have someone watch you from the side to let you know whether you're following these rules. If that fails, there's always recording yourself and then watching the video after, but I recommend against trying to check your alignment by looking at a mirror beside you mid-squat)

    ---

    Note that "throughout the lift" includes the very start. If the barbell is over your toes (or further) when you're standing up (like it looks to be in your videos), you're screwed right off the bat.

    ---

    Now, as far as the upper arms part, how do you actually make this happen? Well, as Lindz said, you need to keep your elbows higher. But there's another way to think about it that helped me.

    Several years ago, I couldn't front squat. I could back squat a fair bit, but my front squat was just a disaster. I asked Bullshido for help, but it wasn't until significantly later that I figured it out. I was doing one simple thing wrong, and when I fixed it my front squat immediately doubled.

    For most exercises, your shoulders should be retracted. But during a front squat, to get (and keep) your elbows high without choking yourself, you need to bring your shoulders forward relative to your throat. This does not mean leaning forward; if you're unclear about the position I'm describing, let me know and I'll take pictures.

    If you can't bring your shoulders far enough forward to get your elbows up, then work lat mobility until you can.

    ---

    Once you've got any lat/shoulder mobility issues sorted out, you can get your shoulders forward and your elbows up. Now you need to teach yourself to actually do so, even - nay, especially - when the barbell gets heavy.

    There are a lot of different ways to think about it, but the one I like best is this: "The lower I get, the higher I push my elbows."
    It may also help to think about keeping your chest up and back (upper and lower) tight.
    Another way to think about the chest/upper back thing - this may require pictures to properly explain - is pulling your chin back. That's back, not up. Tilting your head up toward the ceiling feels like it helps, but it actually makes things worse.

    However you think about it, if the idea of what you want is clear in your mind, you (maybe with the help of an observer/coach) should eventually be able to make it happen.

    ---

    I couldn't tell if there were any problems with the width of your stance or the tracking of your knees because the "front" shot was off to the side. I don't mean this as an insult, but if putting the camera right in front of you wasn't an option, you could have turned to face the camera.

    In any case, I hope this helped. I tried to focus on the causes of the problem rather than the symptoms; if anything here doesn't make sense, let me know and I'll do my best to improve my explanation (perhaps with pictures!).
    Oh yeah my mate is an idiot, and so am I, I told him to take the video from the front he said okay and sat diagonally and I just let it pass to be honest I thought it wouldn't matter I'll try to get some better shots next time I go to the gym.

    I understand what you're saying, head back shoulders front. I will work on that.

    But what do you think about my back angle? I find it very similar to my back squat, shouldn't it be more vertical? Or is it no big deal?

    I can get my elbows higher but I just end up lifting my arm not my chest because my back angle is so bad, after I checked my form in the mirror (which I won't do anymore) I got my elbows up but my back angle is still bad.

    What do you think though?

    Edit:

    Quote Originally Posted by TheRuss View Post
    I got some pictures of my current front squat form.

    Notes:
    -the lawn wasn't flat left-to-right
    -I don't actually use that barbell for anything
    -stop looking at my butt and/or junk

    -I can't get my elbows up any further without jamming the bar into my throat
    -When I squat, my torso tilts forward and, as a consequence, so do my arms.
    I pulled this from your thread earlier. The notes in bold apply to me too.

    But in all seriousness how did you fix your back angle?
    Last edited by Mister; 5/19/2012 5:39am at .
  4. TheRuss is offline
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    Posted On:
    5/20/2012 12:57am

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     Style: None

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by Lindz View Post
    Pictures please. I've choked myself a few times during front squats but had no idea what I was doing differently
    I shall do my best to remember to get some pictures (maybe video!) on Monday to illustrate what I mean about shoulder position.

    ---

    Quote Originally Posted by Mister View Post
    But what do you think about my back angle? I find it very similar to my back squat, shouldn't it be more vertical? Or is it no big deal?
    Your back angle should be more vertical.
    In general, with most types of squat, your back should be as close to vertical as good knee/ankle positioning allows.
    This even applies with powerlifting squats, although the definition of "good knee/ankle positioning" is different than for other squats.

    But having said that, I think your back angle is a symptom of the problem, not the cause, and the way to get rid of the symptom is to address the cause.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mister View Post
    I can get my elbows higher but I just end up lifting my arm not my chest because my back angle is so bad, after I checked my form in the mirror (which I won't do anymore) I got my elbows up but my back angle is still bad.
    I want you to think about it this way: I have never, ever, ever seen someone with their elbows too high on a front squat.
    I don't believe it's even possible.
    So if you can get your elbows higher, get them higher.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mister View Post
    But in all seriousness how did you fix your back angle?
    I brought my shoulders forward, which let me get my elbows higher. It was seriously that simple for me, but it may not be that simple for you.

    I've already given you two things to do when you front squat (for the whole time, start to finish):
    1) Keep your elbows as high as they can go.
    2) Keep the barbell closer to being over your heels than your toes.

    I am going to give you a third thing to do when you front squat (for the whole time, start to finish):
    3) Keep your back tight.

    The weight of the barbell will try to pull your chest forward and down. Use the strength of your back muscles to pull your chest (and thus the barbell) up and back.

    ---

    If you do a set of front squats where, for the whole time, you have the bar in line with your heels, your elbows high, and your back tight, and you still have problems, let me know (preferably with video from the side where I can see both the barbell and your feet the whole time).

    And if you don't have problems, let me know about that too! Sound good?
    Quote Originally Posted by Emevas View Post
    Downstreet on the flip-flop, timepants.
  5. Mister is offline

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    Posted On:
    5/20/2012 5:28am


     Style: Injured

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by TheRuss View Post
    I shall do my best to remember to get some pictures (maybe video!) on Monday to illustrate what I mean about shoulder position.

    ---



    Your back angle should be more vertical.
    In general, with most types of squat, your back should be as close to vertical as good knee/ankle positioning allows.
    This even applies with powerlifting squats, although the definition of "good knee/ankle positioning" is different than for other squats.

    But having said that, I think your back angle is a symptom of the problem, not the cause, and the way to get rid of the symptom is to address the cause.



    I want you to think about it this way: I have never, ever, ever seen someone with their elbows too high on a front squat.
    I don't believe it's even possible.
    So if you can get your elbows higher, get them higher.



    I brought my shoulders forward, which let me get my elbows higher. It was seriously that simple for me, but it may not be that simple for you.

    I've already given you two things to do when you front squat (for the whole time, start to finish):
    1) Keep your elbows as high as they can go.
    2) Keep the barbell closer to being over your heels than your toes.

    I am going to give you a third thing to do when you front squat (for the whole time, start to finish):
    3) Keep your back tight.

    The weight of the barbell will try to pull your chest forward and down. Use the strength of your back muscles to pull your chest (and thus the barbell) up and back.

    ---

    If you do a set of front squats where, for the whole time, you have the bar in line with your heels, your elbows high, and your back tight, and you still have problems, let me know (preferably with video from the side where I can see both the barbell and your feet the whole time).

    And if you don't have problems, let me know about that too! Sound good?
    Sounds awesome mate.

    I'll work on that next time I go to the gym (I only go twice a week so...).

    Thanks for taking the time, I appreciate it mate.
  6. Res Judicata is offline

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    Posted On:
    5/21/2012 1:08pm


     Style: Judo & BJJ

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Russ is right about the neck position. Looking up like that is not good at all.

    Your form isn't terrible. One thing that you're doing right is initiating with the hips. That's good.

    Russ has given you some good long term advice but, frankly, I think there is some over analysis. I would still suggest the goblet squats--they're a great exercise to help you find your groove. Frankly, it's hard to front squat really wrong because if you do it really wrong the weight will fall forward. For example what Russ is saying about the weight over your toes versus your heel -- you get the weight too far forward it becomes mechanically inefficient and if much farther forward the weight will roll off of your shoulders.

    If you're having trouble with the clean grip wrist position (which is a bitch and actually isn't so good for judo), try straps like in the first bit here. You can also do the cross-armed grip but that has some disadvantages:
  7. Mister is offline

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    Posted On:
    5/21/2012 4:08pm


     Style: Injured

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by Res Judicata View Post
    Russ is right about the neck position. Looking up like that is not good at all.

    Your form isn't terrible. One thing that you're doing right is initiating with the hips. That's good.

    Russ has given you some good long term advice but, frankly, I think there is some over analysis. I would still suggest the goblet squats--they're a great exercise to help you find your groove. Frankly, it's hard to front squat really wrong because if you do it really wrong the weight will fall forward. For example what Russ is saying about the weight over your toes versus your heel -- you get the weight too far forward it becomes mechanically inefficient and if much farther forward the weight will roll off of your shoulders.

    If you're having trouble with the clean grip wrist position (which is a bitch and actually isn't so good for judo), try straps like in the first bit here. You can also do the cross-armed grip but that has some disadvantages:
    Why is the clean grip not good for Judo?

    I do power cleans as part of my program, is that bad too or what?
    Last edited by Mister; 5/21/2012 4:13pm at .
  8. Res Judicata is offline

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    Posted On:
    5/21/2012 4:24pm


     Style: Judo & BJJ

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by Mister View Post
    Why is the clean grip not good for Judo?

    I do power cleans as part of my program, is that bad too or what?
    Basically, you want somewhat stiff rather than loose wrists in Judo for gripping. Rhadi talks about it some video I can't find now. Power cleans are a great exercise for judo, don't worry about that.

    From seeing your videos, here's my basic advice: you need to eat more.
  9. Mister is offline

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    Posted On:
    5/21/2012 5:39pm


     Style: Injured

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by Res Judicata View Post
    Basically, you want somewhat stiff rather than loose wrists in Judo for gripping. Rhadi talks about it some video I can't find now. Power cleans are a great exercise for judo, don't worry about that.

    From seeing your videos, here's my basic advice: you need to eat more.
    How true. The other day I finally hit my own body weight on squats, which was a big deal to me.

    Then I realized that body weight was only 75kg lol...

    I'm trying mate, I'm on like 240 grams of carbs (If I'm lucky) and 200 grams of protein daily, and it seems like even that's not enough.

    Problem is most of the **** I find in eating plans is like a luxury that I can't afford.

    Brown rice, brown pasta, whole grain bread? Really?

    On top of that I'm diabetic and I get to only eat 3 meals with carbs in them.

    So I improvise lol...
  10. Res Judicata is offline

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    Posted On:
    5/22/2012 9:46am


     Style: Judo & BJJ

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Screw carbs. Fats are your friend for weight gain (especially if you're diabetic). If you're concerned about health, "good" fats like nuts, avocados, olive oil, fatty fish, etc. are particularly useful. Type 1 or Type 2 diabetic -- insulin-dependent or not? Also, a general rule, try to eat the carbs around exercise time--your body like carbs then and may actually help control your blood sugar.

    A good place for bulking information is this thread: http://tnation.t-nation.com/free_onl...AB-mcd01.hydra

    Scroll down to the collection of articles by Phil dated 08-18-2004, 02:16 AM

    I know where you are--you're new to this and you don't know what you don't know and you're trying to feel your way. Full disclosure: I've never had trouble gaining weight--just the opposite really--so I'm not really one to give diet advice for bulking.
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