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  • Barbell lifting

    Hi, I've been getting into barbell weightlifting recently. I don't squat down very far, so I am using a lot more of my back muscles. Is this bad? I'm currently lifting 70 kg over my head, but I'm reluctant to go any higher if it might be bad for my back?

    I may have to concentrate on squatting for a while because I have to admit, I don't squat very well, this might be the main issue.
    Healthy is the new wealthy.

    http://www.facebook.com/groups/ances...handnutrition/

  • #2
    You want to squat down to parallel. If you can't with 70kgs, I would advise you to use a weight that you can do it with and practice form with that. I would definitely focus on form to get better at squats.

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    • #3
      Ahhh... Yeh... Lower the weight! You should not be feeling it in the back at all, so yes it's bad. *cringe*

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      • #4
        focus on using your ass muscles. spend lots of time in a 'grok squat' without weights

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        • #5
          Even if you need to start with an empty bar.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Owen View Post
            Hi, I've been getting into barbell weightlifting recently. I don't squat down very far, so I am using a lot more of my back muscles. Is this bad? I'm currently lifting 70 kg over my head, but I'm reluctant to go any higher if it might be bad for my back?

            I may have to concentrate on squatting for a while because I have to admit, I don't squat very well, this might be the main issue.
            Whats the question then?

            Do you wanna be told "you gotta squat!" Or are you looking for a "squat can be replaced and it won't be the end of the world"? Cause I can make a fine logical case either way depending on your circumstances.

            However just to clear up not squating far down will use less back and glute muscles.... not more. Basically doing a half squat is just bending and locking the knees without activating the hips, hamstrings, glutes, and less stabilization of the back is needed.

            You might consider doing something like I do. I don't squat. I do deadlift, leg press, and hyperextensions. I've got pre-existing disc issues that get aggravated with the squat. Leg press can be just as bad though, so if you use it follow some of the tips for set up and use by Bill DeSimone. Example here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZSP7ArTlo28

            Guess before people jump in with the "you can squat with lighter weight" I should say .... yes... yes I/you can. I can do single leg pistols with a jump, I can grok squat sit for long periods, and I can do plenty of hindu squats. I just don't load my spine with more than 185lbs at this time (still do overhead presses).
            Last edited by Neckhammer; 06-15-2013, 06:42 AM.

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            • #7
              As has been mentioned already, check your form, I squat 65kg, to at least parallel, and I never feel it in my back.
              You can see proper form on places like bodybuilding.com and YouTube videos,

              What did you mean by "I'm currently lifting 70kg over my head"? Are you talking about a different exercise?

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              • #8
                I meant that I do a clean and jerk (or something approaching it) and end up with the weight above my head with my arms pointing upwards. I can squat that weight also its just that my legs don't go anywhere near parralell as part of the clean and jerk, I don't get 'underneath' the weight during the clean. I can get away with it because 70 kg isn't that heavy, I assume I'll have to get the correct form in place to be able to go to higher weights, otherwise I'll do my back in...

                I was thinking aloud really thanks for your comments....:-)
                Last edited by Owen; 06-15-2013, 08:00 AM.
                Healthy is the new wealthy.

                http://www.facebook.com/groups/ances...handnutrition/

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                • #9
                  Ok if you are doing a clean and jerk I would be dropping the weight until you have the form 100%, last thing you want is a twinge in your back with the bar over your head
                  Good luck

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Owen View Post
                    I meant that I do a clean and jerk (or something approaching it) and end up with the weight above my head with my arms pointing upwards. I can squat that weight also its just that my legs don't go anywhere near parralell as part of the clean and jerk, I don't get 'underneath' the weight during the clean. I can get away with it because 70 kg isn't that heavy, I assume I'll have to get the correct form in place to be able to go to higher weights, otherwise I'll do my back in...
                    I think that your training is all off here. If you aren't getting underneath the weight in C&J is it possible that you are actually performing something more like a Snatch? In C&J there are 3 phases - Drive, Catch, Press. If you arent getting under it in the catch you are going straight from drive into press - which is more like a Snatch. Either way - based on your description, its not ideal and you are likely to hurt your back eventually.

                    Ill give you my bar routine when I want to work on my C&J. Its good as it works the individual phases and once they are being executed properly, you can add more weight in. Purely, a guess, but I think you could do all this with a 40kg bar, and perform each element at 3 sets of 8 reps. Remember you are working on accurately developing each movement - so strict form is essential.

                    - From a power rack, front squats (with arms crossed over chest and thighs down to parallel)
                    - Bar on the floor, deadlift (good form, flat back especially in the early part of the lift and always look upwards) and remember to alternate grip so you dont have a dominant hand
                    - Back on the power rack, standing shoulder press (push slightly behind your head - not just straight up)
                    - On the floor again, complete full range Clean and Jerk. You probably won't have to do the split legs with only 40kg

                    Bearing in mind the sets and reps - this is a good workout that should take about 20 mins, and you won't need to train anything else. Just get it done, working on good form through all the parts and then go home and rest. If you keep this routine going perhaps twice a week on top of whatever other training, I'm sure you will progress well.

                    If you struggle with any of this routine - give me a shout and Ill try to answer your questions.
                    Last edited by 10 Bears; 06-16-2013, 01:22 AM.
                    Fortune Favours the Brave
                    _____________________

                    I can only talk from my acquired knowledge and experiences. You may have a different view or experience and I will respect that. Please respect mine.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by 10 Bears View Post
                      I think that your training is all off here. If you aren't getting underneath the weight in C&J is it possible that you are actually performing something more like a Snatch? In C&J there are 3 phases - Drive, Catch, Press. If you arent getting under it in the catch you are going straight from drive into press - which is more like a Snatch. Either way - based on your description, its not ideal and you are likely to hurt your back eventually.

                      Ill give you my bar routine when I want to work on my C&J. Its good as it works the individual phases and once they are being executed properly, you can add more weight in. Purely, a guess, but I think you could do all this with a 40kg bar, and perform each element at 3 sets of 8 reps. Remember you are working on accurately developing each movement - so strict form is essential.

                      - From a power rack, front squats (with arms crossed over chest and knees down to parallel)
                      - Bar on the floor, deadlift (good form, flat back and always look upwards) and remember to alternate grip so you dont have a dominant hand
                      - Back on the power rack, standing shoulder press (push skightly behind your head - not just straight up)
                      - On the floor again, complete full range Clean and Jerk. You probably won't have to do the split legs with only 40kg

                      Bearing in mind the sets and reps - this is a good workout that should take about 20 mins, and you won't need to train anything else. Just get it done, working on good form through all the parts and then go home and rest. If you keep this routine going perhaps twice a week on top of whatever other training, I'm sure you will progress well.

                      If you struggle with any of this routine - give me a shout and Ill try to answer your questions.
                      I've written this down, thanks. What I do is probably more like a snatch, yes. When I went above 60kg, my back started to say 'hold on a minute....' :-)

                      I have access to a gym with a power rack but I prefer to do this at home with my barbell, I suppose the advantage with a power rack is you can train with more weight?

                      Is there a particular function that the support belt has? Some people use them and some don't?

                      Thanks again,
                      Last edited by Owen; 06-16-2013, 01:07 AM.
                      Healthy is the new wealthy.

                      http://www.facebook.com/groups/ances...handnutrition/

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                      • #12
                        For me, the power rack is just a method of holding the bar in an elevated position so I can get under it and then progress into whatever exercise I am using.

                        I will even set it up for light weights that I could certainly take of the ground, but having them on the rack already is one less struggle that you will have to worry about. Its worthy to remember that its not always the big weights that can mess up your back as with a smaller weight, you are more tempted to bend over with straight legs, possibly twist your body a little - then snap! you are told by your body that you really shouldn't have done that... To be fair though, yes of course you can add more weight on the rack, but personally speaking, Im not looking to be massive any more so I don't mess around with the big weights and only train functional strength.

                        The weight belts are meant to stabilise your lower back muscles ie keep them all tightly in, so you don't relax them during an exercise and cause injury. It they really can make a difference when lifting heavy, but when you are 7 stone wet through and only lifting 20kg they will not make any physical difference to you at all (not that I'm suggesting this is you - but I hope you get my point!). However, some use putting on the belt as part of their mental preparation for the lift and if it works for them, who am I to say different? A more important way to protect your back is not with a weight belt, but with proper form. Get this right, and you wont get injuries, but you have to be very strict with yourself, never cheat, and always listen to the signals you get from your body. Sometimes that little twinge you got is really the signal to call it a day there and then.

                        Unless I am lifting over about 80kg (dependent on the exercise), I leave mine off. Mainly because the body has a whole series of stabiliser muscles, particularly in the lower back, that need to be free from the belt if they are to get a work out too. As an example, you wouldn't pick up heavy bags of shopping or some garden waste with a weight belt on, but you may lift the same amount of weight on a bar and think you have to be strapped in to a belt. Also, if you are picking up something heavy outside of the gym, and the stabilisers aren't robust enough or had a workout under stress to get stronger then a possible outcome is a sore back as they were the weak element in the chain.

                        Either way, I'm pleased that you think my advice has or may help your training. I would also say that whole body training exercises as C&J etc. are a great way to train hard in a short time and then get on with the process of recovery - which is where all the benefits come in, and they are excellent methods for loosing body fat. I'm sure if you Google whole body weight training exercises or something to that effect, you will find some useful workouts.
                        Last edited by 10 Bears; 06-20-2013, 09:23 AM.
                        Fortune Favours the Brave
                        _____________________

                        I can only talk from my acquired knowledge and experiences. You may have a different view or experience and I will respect that. Please respect mine.

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                        • #13
                          Hi thanks for the info. I actually did a workout the other day, follwing your advice - so the deadlifts, squats, shoulder presses and then the full C+J's - amazing what a total workout that was and I can see how it helps with functional strength. I've been in recovery ever since. I'm hoping to do another one in 2 days time, and do them every 5 days, possibly reducing it to every 4, then every 3, depending how I get on.
                          Healthy is the new wealthy.

                          http://www.facebook.com/groups/ances...handnutrition/

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