Archive for the ‘Things I used to say…’ Category

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.


This post series  is dedicated to the last year of training which I have thoroughly enjoyed. I will take quotes from posts I have made in the past that I now deem to be bullshit with the intention of highlighting, for my own education/your enjoyment, why my old opinion was either “misleading” or just plain idiotic. The series is based on the recent “Shit I used to say” trend, with an alteration courtesy of a recent comment by Joe Dowell regarding professionalism, blogging and language.

Let’s get this under way!

Day 2 – You are squatting like a little bitch. (Feb 23rd 2011)

Let’s not even begin to dig into how much insecurity it takes a loud mouth 20 year old to have to defecate a title like that onto the internet. I can quickly summarize this last 12 months’ mindset in “I KNOW MY SHIT” -> “I know some shit…” -> “I don’t know shit, what the hell am I doing in this life, dear Lord save me” -> “I can be helpful in a weights room and can make a person stronger, but I don’t know everything”.

I said:

“That is a freakin’ squat, ladies. Also – weight belts, wrist supports or anything in general that helps you lift that isn’t YOU is a waste of time and a distraction from your real ability. You’re just hiding a weakness – instead, identify it and work on it… If you feel you need one, outside of an injury, you’re not ready to progress yet.”

I say:

Nowadays, I believe I am now firmly understanding more about squatting, the many variations of squatting and their potential uses. If you compare my own squatting abilities from then to now, the difference is remarkable. In one entire year, I have only notched a recorded 5kg gain in what I call squats. Why? Because I had far more to learn that I thought I had – unconscious incompetence. That’s not even going into how terrifying squatting was alongside uncertainty in my own technique. Needless to say, I was squatting like a little bitch.  A month ago I realised what I wanted from my technique/squat regime and started daring myself to put on heavier weights. Result? A new PR, better Deadlift and vanishing knee pain.

Regarding supports, there’s still some truth in there. I personally don’t consider a Deadlift a Deadlift PR if you’re using wraps. Chalk I understand (sweat is a frustrating reason to miss a lift). The use of wraps/supports changes entirely based on the individual you’re training. Sprinter trying to develop a weak posterior chain? Wraps are a perfect way to remove grip as a limiting factor and properly train the target area. A loose belt to help you activate your core in a heavy squat? Fire away, whatever works. Supports permitted in competition? Practice what you’re performing!

Next up, more abuse of my former self.

Lift and learn.