Is it possible to progress too fast? In my opinion it is very possible, and at times a lifter may be best suited to control their rate of progression with the thought of long term strength progress in mind. In this scenario the first thing that comes to mind is a young lifter experiencing those “newbie” gains, but this concept is far reaching to other circumstances as well. So in my latest YouTube video, I give the full synopsis on my thoughts in regards to controlling the rate of progression in powerlifting. I look at the different circumstances and scenarios where it can be beneficial to control a lifter’s rate of progression. I give backing to the reasons of why controlling their progression can be beneficial, especially in the long term. I show the step by step process of how you can control progression through different applications of autoregulation and training max advancement. And then lastly I take a look at 3 case studies of my lifters. These include Alan, who is an incredibly strong teen lifter who saw exponential progress that ended up being halted by injury. Albert who needs controlled exposure/progression when reintroducing low bar squats with the squat bar. And Jimmy who was a brand new to powerlifting and added well over 200lbs to his total in the first year. If you are looking for a full guide on how to create sustainable progress for newer lifters, when introducing a new lift, or when moving up a weight class, this video is for you! Click the link above to view!
So a very popular post I made a while back covered the “why” behind high rep deadlifts and who they work for. What this really came down to is factoring distance traveled into the volume equation. In my opinion, distance traveled is one of the most important aspects of individualizing training. So I wanted to expand on this more and cover how this can affect all lifts on both ends of the spectrum. So in my latest YouTube video, I go into full detail on the effect distance traveled has on programming. Height, bodyweight, limb lengths, sex, high arch vs. no arch, sumo vs. conventional, and many other variables play into an individuals distance traveled per repetition on each lift. And fortunately we actually have a couple studies that have really broken this down for us, so I take a look at both of those and see the variance in repetitions people can perform at given percentages. From there, I discuss the “better” volume equation and how that accounts for why we see such disparity between some lifters and the rep ranges they respond to. And then taking that concept, I develop personalized percentages charts for what the possible outliers of distance traveled, short versus long, would look like if we accounted for this. From there, I show how using this concept can give an idea of the rep ranges certain lifters respond to and how that is implemented within a couple of my athletes programs. And then lastly, I give the synopsis of what this means for your deadlift, squat, bench, and total workload based on your individual leverages, technique, and body type.
There Isn’t Much Difference Between A Low Bar vs. High Bar Squat
Something I’ve alluded to in past posts and videos, and many times it has more so been in the form of response to a comment, is how I believe low bar vs. high bar squats are not as different as it seems. In my opinion, a squat is a squat, and the general movement and cueing is fairly similar, just the weight distribution then changes how we bias our movement to counter balance that load. From a goblet squat, to a front squat, to a SSB squat, to a high bar squat, and to a low bar squat, the same foundational aspect of the squat pattern applies. But with the more anterior vs. posterior loading, we will need to make slight adjustments in our hip and knee flexion to counter balance that weight distribution to manage our center of mass accordingly. But while there is this difference in knee vs. hip flexion, it’s more so the bi-product of the weight distribution and counter balance versus the lifter cueing the movement in an entirely different manner. What I am not saying is a high bar squat and a low bar squat should look exactly the same, but what I am saying is that for the majority of people, the thought process and cueing between the two should not differ much at all.
In the linked video (CLICK HERE) we have @colette.hd performing a high bar squat vs. a low bar squat. It is noticeable there is a difference between the two, but if you scroll over to the second picture you will see where my point more comes into play. On the far right is the bottom position when the squat is biased more into the posterior chain dominant, hinge based squat that is often encouraged for low bar squatting. As can be seen, between the high bar and low bar squat on the left and middle, there already is a fairly noticeable difference, and that was simply from the 2 inch change or so in weight distribution and placement of the bar on the back. When we then take that weight distribution change, overbias hinging, we then tend to find ourselves in this folded and over hinged position that is breaking the foundations of the squat pattern at its base level. Are the exceptions to this rule? Yes, just like there is with pretty much everything I will ever say. I actually have 2 lifters in particular that we do cue their low bar differently than their high bar, but that is based on their individual leverages dictating that requirement. But for 90%+ of people I have coached and trained over the last 12 years, this thought process applies.
And this can go the opposite way too. If you are trying to “squatty-squat” your goblet squats and trying to translate that to a low bar squat, it probably isn’t going to go well. As in my opinion, at least in the application to powerlifting, a “squatty-squat” does not fall into the foundational pattern we are trying to replicate throughout varying loading strategies that is competition specific, but is rather of a form training variability. Is there a time and a place for more hinge based movements or knee flexion dominant patterns, yes. But in regards to how we cue and manage our foundational squat pattern that applies across a range of loading strategies, this should be pretty similar and allow ourselves to simply adjust based on the counter balance demands. If you’ve followed me for a while, you probably have a good understanding of the foundational elements in how I teach and cue a squat. But if not, I’ll include a link below to the in depth squat breakdown video I have on YouTube.
I have been coaching powerlifters in some capacity for about 7 years, and full time for the past 4 years. In that time there has been a lot of learning. As a powerlifting coach, one of our main duties is to be a creative problem solver. When an issue arises, our goal is to find a solution. And as I developed as a coach, there were routinely 3 questions that haunted me. I just didn’t have an answer that was repeatable and predictable in finding these solutions for athletes across the board. But over time with experience, failing many times, and trial and error, I feel like I have a really good grasp now on the answers to these.
In my latest YouTube video, I dive deep into these 3 questions and the solutions and answers I’ve now found over the last 7 years. So what are these questions?
1.) Is the results of the current training block due to this block, or due to prior training blocks?
2.) Does a lifter need more or less volume?
3.) How many top sets vs. back offs or what make up of peak vs. average intensity does a lifter need?
These are very complex questions that over time I feel I’ve been able to narrow down into fairly simple solutions. My hope with this video is to expedite the headaches I had for other coaches and lifters. Click the link above to view!