Back Squats

It seems fitting that my previous post was about front squats and how I felt fairly content with my efforts on that day. Well another day came around and with it were more squats, though this time they were back squats.  It was a strength and mobility class which was great for me because I was pretty sore from the previous day and it felt great to get loosened up for a good 20-30 minutes before doing any “work”.  I put that in quotes because as you’ve seen before, our warm-ups are fairly intense.

After some great mobility work and stretching, we got set up to do back squats.  For our workout, it was quite simply 7 sets of 1 rep to find your one rep max for the back squat.  My PR on this lift is 275lbs so I aimed to at least match that number which was set on April 23.

I did my first set at 185lbs just to make sure all was well and feeling good.

Rep 2 was done at 225lbs and it felt fine.

Rep 3 had 255lbs on the bar, more difficult but still done with relative comfort.

It was rep 4 where things shifted from the smooth going efforts previous.  I set up with 275lbs and got through the lift but I could tell that I was near my limit for the day.  I got greedy though, adding 10lbs to the bar, and this 10lbs really kicked my ass.  I got the 285lbs off the bar and moved down into my squat position, and that’s where I stayed.  Knowing that I had rocked onto my toes and put myself into a poor position, the bar was re-racked and knocked down to 280lbs.  I did the same thing.

Back to 275lbs we go for rep 7 and quite simply the combination of my own wrongdoing combined with my previous efforts, I just wasn’t going to stand up with that weight again.  Technology is a cool thing though, Coach Crip took a video for two reasons:
A) to potentially catch a video of me matching my PR
B) to critique my form so I know where I can improve

Well, the census is in, and I have a lot to improve on!  Here’s the video–

Within a few minutes of posting this video, I had a lot of awesome feedback from friends, a few of my own coaches, and Heather Gillespie.

I did several things wrong and Coach Ken noted that my issues started the moment I picked up the bar.  I was never set properly–my feet were not set in a powerful position, I need the “screw” my feet into the ground to ensure a stable platform for the lift.  I took a breath in but didn’t do that properly (from a lifting standpoint), my core should be much tighter and holding a big breath in will help maintain that center line.

At around the 14 second mark you can see me fault forward, largely in part to having an unstable core.

Another thing that was pointed out was the speed with which I hit the bottom of the squat.  I’m going way too fast which results in hitting the bottom of my squat rather than being nice to myself and hitting 90° (or just past, but not as deep as I’m going).  One recommendation was to count to three on the way down, hit 90° and then power up and out of the hole.

 After talking to yet another person regarding this lift on Monday, it was recommended that I watch or read some of the material from Mark Rippetoe.  I’ll be spending some time online over the next little while watching some videos though, from what I’ve seen they are extremely informative.

All in all, lots to work on but there are positives to take away.  I still matched a PR and I know full well now that I have a 300lb squat in me even though my PR is 25lbs off of that.  I could feel at the bottom of my squats that I have the power there, it just needs to be uncorked properly so I’m looking forward to seeing progress on this one! Thanks for the great feedback from Coach Crip, Heather Gillespie, Coach Ken, Chris Fen-Mac and my friend Al (a US Marine Corp. Vet, thanks Al).

One thought on “Back Squats

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s