Things I used to say…Day 2

Posted: February 7, 2012 in Things I used to say...

Day 3 – Confidence

I spelled “Bravado” wrong.

I said:

“I recommended deep squats with a wide stance because it’s a natural position to squat from, it allows you to engage more muscle, it gives you a larger range of movement and it gives you some breathing space if you’re a little inflexible. I’m talking about going as low as you can, without compromising ANY form, whatsoever.”

I say:

There is nothing “natural” about putting a barbell on your back as much as there is anything natural about jumping out of a plane with a parachute on your back. In exercise, I’d say very little is “natural” and that the meaning will vary from person to person. Now, I’d say squatting with a wide stance allows for a shorter bar-path, allowing for more weight to be lifted. Deep squats have their purpose, but with particularly wide stances, considering their use (lifting as heavy a barbell as possible), I see no need to squat all the way to the floor. What would be important is squatting low enough to be able to perform a competition-legal squat.

Personally, I squat with a slightly narrower stance and ensure that I break parallel as much as possible. In order to do this, I must use a “high-bar” squat, where the bar sits higher up on your shoulders than in typically wider stances. In the high-bar squat with a more upright torso, the bar position allows you to maintain balance, letting the bar descend in a straight line.

Studies recently mentioned by Bret Contreras showed that the main difference in these squats was joint involvement. Low-bar, wide stance squats are more hip extension dependant and high-bar, narrower stance squats train knee-extension more heavily. What does this mean for your average guy? You’ll gain benefits from cycling both. If you’re training for power-lifting, go wide/low bar. If you’re training for olympic lifting, train high-bar/narrow. Why? Joint angle specificity. For someone pursuing athletic development, I’d recommend the latter due to the impact this will have on your ability to practice powerful movements such as the snatch/clean & jerk. All of the above alongside a Deadlifting regime, of course.

Saying “allows you to engage more muscle” was me knocking off Rippetoe. Depending on what muscle group you are trying to focus on as a body builder, you may benefit more from a particular squat style, including front squats.

Still lifting, still learning.

See you next time.

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