2015-01-27 training log

Squat felt better today, thank you Chris Duffin.

Scrolling on Facebook, Dr. Mike Israetel started some discussion about a squat technique that didn’t make sense to him (something about “crunching” to build a more stable core… something like that, and on the surface no it doesn’t make sense. Chris Duffin chimed in (if you don’t know who he did, Google it… but in short, a man that can squat 4x bodyweight @ 220 knows something about squatting). Duffint linked to a few of his videos:

and

and frankly, having just looked at his list of videos to find the above two, I think I know what I’m going to be watching over the next some days.

These were really cool. I tried the “compacting torso” thing while watching the video and thought wow, that really does feel better, more effective. So today I put it into practice. Now, I still have a ways to go to really get it right, but first impressions are quite positive and better than anything I’ve tried before.

The other thing was his notes about hand positioning. Now I’ve wandered around on this because I’ve heard so many approaches to hand positioning in the squat, and some are directly opposing… like some say to use the arms to drive up (like trying to press the bar off your back) to help with the overall drive out of the hole. Makes sense, but in trying it it never really worked for me… kinda drove me back down plus there wasn’t much for torso tightness (maybe I just don’t have the timing of the technique down tho). Others talked about spacing, like trying to get the hands really narrow, which indeed creates this great pad/shelf on which to rest the bar, but I never felt like it got me tight, just squished and hurt my elbows after enough times. But Chris gives a great cue: to grab the bar and try to bend it down across your back, like you’re trying to lat pulldown. I tried that and whoa… what a diff. Now in the past I looked at “pull the bar down” approaches but dismissed them out of hand because it felt like that was just adding more downward pressure, which of course isn’t what I want. But here, that cue PLUS the compacting of the torso really worked well and wow, my whole upper body felt so solid, so locked, so rigid… it was quite awesome!

That said, I do need more practice at the technique… I totally sucked at it today for sure. But I can see the potential and am going to keep it up.

The other thing was I started to wear a belt again. I can’t find the article now (updated: found it), but it was again from scrolling on Facebook and it made me rethink a bit of how I use the belt… especially how tight I cinch it up. I tried putting it at a position where I could still get a good deep breath but still have some back-pressure from it against my torso. In the past I’d really tighten it up to ensure I got the back pressure, but in return I couldn’t get a full belly breath. I may still play with the exact hole I use, but certainly today it was looser than I’d ever use it in the past and it still felt really good. I’m not sure it’ll put tons of pounds on my squat, but I can say the 285 and the 5x5x200 work sets went nice and explosive. Everything felt VERY good.

So I can’t say if it’s all because of the Duffin technique cues, the belt, or what… but whatever it all was, it all added up into something good. I’m happy with it. I’m going to keep working on Duffin’s technique tips, and keep wearing the belt because well… why not. The beltless stuff was good while I did it, but if I’m going to think about competition and such well, I might as well get back on the belt. I cannot see how using a belt, when appropriate, will be a bad thing for me… it was good exploration, so let’s try going back on it and see where things go.

Based upon Paul Carter’s Basebuilding

  • Squats (model 1)
    • bar x 5
    • bar x 5
    • 165 x 5
    • 190 x 4
    • 225 x 3
    • 250 x 2
    • 285 x 1
    • 200 x 5
    • 200 x 5
    • 200 x 5
    • 200 x 5
    • 200 x 5
  • Stiff-Legged Deadlift
    • 205 x 8
    • 205 x 8
    • 205 x 8
    • 205 x 8
    • 205 x 8
  • Leg Press
    • 135 x 12
    • 135 x 12
    • 135 x 12
    • 135 x 12
  • Standing Calf Raises
    • 65 x 10
    • 65 x 10
    • 65 x 10
    • 65 x 10
    • 65 x 10
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