Today’s article is a guest-post by raw powerlifter Greg Nuckols (see his bio below). Greg wrote a great article on glute training for powerlifters several months ago, and today’s article is just as excellent. Greg reviews one of my favorite papers on squat mechanics. In fact, last week, my two assistants and I put together a wooden model of body segments to help further explain the concepts included in this article. I’ll post a video on this in the next month or so. In the meantime, enjoy Greg’s review.
Forward lean in the squat – is knee-dominant or hip-dominant better for moving more weight?
By Greg Nuckols
This is a write-up for one of the classic studies in squatting mechanics – Kinetics of the Parallel Squat by McLaughlin, Lardner, and Dillman. I’ve seen it referenced in almost every study I’ve ever read about the squat, and I finally managed to find it full-text. And let me tell, you, for a nerd like me, it was page-turning excitement.
Five months ago, I wrote a blogpost titled The Keys to Stronger Deadlifts. Since it was very well received, I decided to do the same type of article for the squat.
The most difficult position in the squat occurs right after the lifter comes “out of the hole”, at least in terms of joint torque magnitudes. This is especially true for raw squats, since squatting gear (briefs, squat suits, and knee wraps) provides enormous passive elastic assistance at the bottom of the lift. Still, positioning and explosiveness out of the bottom position in the squat play a large role in determining where the lifters’ sticking point will be. It is thought that ideal foot positioning and trunk angle in relation to the lifters’ specific body proportions play a large role in making a successful squat. But what exactly are the critical factors in elite level squats?
I’ve never understood why so many lifters love to follow gurus who preach to their students that there’s only one way to squat (or one best form that suits everyone). Pull up video clips of the 20 best squatters in the world and you’ll notice markedly different form from one lifter to the next. Louie Simmons, arguably the most successful powerlifting coach in the history of the sport, employs dozens upon dozens of types of squats with his lifters. This isn’t to say that you should change up your workout every session or jump around between different variations with no rhyme or reason. It does mean that you should experiment with bar positions, stance widths, and styles to find what’s most comfortable for you and also what transfers best to your goals.
Below is a guest post from my friend and training partner Charles Staley. Charles competed a few days ago in Las Vegas and went 9/9 (made all nine lifts). I was so happy for him! He pretty much moved down a weight class while retaining all of his strength, which is not easy for a seasoned lifter. Below are some tips for fellow powerlifters.
I recently returned from Las Vegas where I competed in the 100% Raw! Powerlifting federation’s World Championships as an age 50-54, 198-pound lifter (I competed last year as a 220 lifter). Perhaps even more gratifying than the win, was a handful of lessons that I learned along the way, and I thought I’d share them with you here today.