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Author Topic: Power squats or Olympic squats?  (Read 3559 times)
oldtimer1
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« on: August 19, 2017, 06:56:18 PM »

Which one do you guys do? For many years I used a power lifting type squat. Low bar placement and semi wide stance. Throwing the back into the lift. I also did Olympic squats with a high placement of the bar and a upright stance sinking it.  I haven't used the squat for a couple of months now instead using the leg press, hack and dumbbell squat. Thought my skinny quads were responding well to the previously mentioned thigh exercises. Tried goblet squats but eventually felt it wasn't a good fit. Now that I'm getting back to Olympic squats I feel so inflexible I can hardly get any depth with a decent weight. Almost feel like I have to learn how to squat again.

With the explosion of cross fit it's now a bragging right of what you can clean and jerk again. I think it's a good thing over what's your bench? The ass to the grass Olympic squat is a major component in Olympic lifting.
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jpm101
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« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2017, 06:26:55 PM »

Over the years, speaking to and watching  a lot of guys and even some very powerful women lifters, I find that front squats and bench squats the most affected for mass and strength. With less stress on the lower back area. With bench squats, most find it an excellent way to learn proper squatting protocol, with more leg/hip and less lower back involvement. Athletes find better performance, from field events to football, with either of these two excellent lower body movements.

Would also include one legged squatting style exercises. As weighted step ups. one legged squats, lunges, etc., to improve squatting abilities themselves.

Body flexibility comes with each lift the more these exercises are worked.

Good Luck.

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« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2018, 06:07:50 PM »

ATG high bar squats are a complete waste of time and effort for a bodybuilder.
If you arenít an Olympic lifter, then you donít need to squat ATG.
Olympic lifters need to develop power and strength out of the hole because as the weights get heavier they are catching the bar lower and lower.

Parallel or slightly below is perfect for bodybuilding purposes.

CrossFit? Well, thatís a complete joke! I wonít even give it any more words than that... LOL
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oldtimer1
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« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2018, 03:03:30 AM »

ATG high bar squats are a complete waste of time and effort for a bodybuilder.
If you arenít an Olympic lifter, then you donít need to squat ATG.
Olympic lifters need to develop power and strength out of the hole because as the weights get heavier they are catching the bar lower and lower.

Parallel or slightly below is perfect for bodybuilding purposes.

CrossFit? Well, thatís a complete joke! I wonít even give it any more words than that... LOL


I disagree with you. Simple rules of physics state a greater range of motion is more work than a lessor range of motion. More work equals a greater stress to a muscle trained and that leads to a greater adaptation. I see guys in every bodybuilding gym using a limited range of motion in everything so they can handle heavy weights that they wouldn't be able to handle if they used a full range. They are nurturing their fragile ego. One can see this in the leg press,squat, and various shoulder/pec pressing motions especially. Having written that I just used slightly below parallel squats yesterday due to not using barbell squats in months. They do have value. 

Regarding crossfit I realize bodybuilders have a negative viewpoint of it. From the crossfit practitioners viewpoint they think the same of oiled up drug using thong wearers posing to music.  Crossfit has a lot of value. The beginners or the lack of potential members are the ones used as an example of it's failings. Same can be found in all bodybuilding gyms for failures. Truth be told if you go to any crossfit gym it's top members are amazing. One thing missing from the typical split bodybuilding routines is training for power. They might train for strength but not for power. The Olympic lifts are fantastic for athletic transfer,  sprinting speed and vertical leap development. Having said that I will contradict what I wrote. I train in a typical bodybuilding method with a few exceptions. I use power cleans. Sometimes snatches. I run both distance and sprints. I cross train with limited boxing drills.
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IroNat
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« Reply #4 on: June 07, 2018, 03:56:29 AM »

Olympic (high bar) squats are generally believed better for developing the quads/bodybuilding purposes.

I have always done them, usually from a very narrow stance.
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« Reply #5 on: June 07, 2018, 06:20:10 PM »

ATG for life!
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« Reply #6 on: June 10, 2018, 05:45:40 PM »

I use ATG olympic squats and front squats exclusively. I also throw in some single leg work every training cycle. I dont do let presses, machine squats, etc.. The only machines I use as far as lower body training would be the hamstring curl every once in a while.

Here is what I have found from doing this:

- My leg development is better than before.

- My mobility and flexibilty sucked and I had to work on it pretty hard. IMO anyone who seriously trains with weights should be able to perform a barefoot ATG overhead squat. This will ensure you have the proper lower and upper body mobility to perform free weight lifts. When I first realized how poor my mobilty was I could not get into a full squat position barefoot let alone an overhead squat.

- High bar Olympic style squats are a tool for Olympic weightlifters to develop leg strength. They are a means to an end not the end itself. So they look at it from a what's more productive for development of leg strength not what allows to lift most weight in the squat it self. Powerlifting squats are a competion lift and they ARE after maximum weight, it's not a developmental lift necessarily. So they choose a style that will allow them to use the most weight.

- Failing with a high bar squat is much safer than a low bar squat. A low bar squat ends up failing over your head, a proper high bar squat can easily be dumped behind you.

- A high bar placement is more natural. Just like a properly racked front squat can be performed without your hands touching the bar, a properly racked high bar squat can be done like that as well (not with maximal weights of course). The same cannot be done with a low bar squat, the hands play a crucial role in locking the weight in place which also causes heavy stress on the shoulders BTW.

As far as a Olympic lifts are concerned. I think they are great. Right now I use clean pulls and snatch pulls and feel that this has helped my traps and upper back. IMO the most explosive part of the lift is getting the bar from the floor to "catch" height. It is also the part of the lift that requires less technical mastery which few people will posess without proper coaching. I would like to eventually work into full Olympic lifts but for now this is serving me pretty well.
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« Reply #7 on: June 23, 2018, 02:17:44 AM »

I use ATG olympic squats and front squats exclusively. I also throw in some single leg work every training cycle. I dont do let presses, machine squats, etc.. The only machines I use as far as lower body training would be the hamstring curl every once in a while.

Here is what I have found from doing this:

- My leg development is better than before.

- My mobility and flexibilty sucked and I had to work on it pretty hard. IMO anyone who seriously trains with weights should be able to perform a barefoot ATG overhead squat. This will ensure you have the proper lower and upper body mobility to perform free weight lifts. When I first realized how poor my mobilty was I could not get into a full squat position barefoot let alone an overhead squat.

- High bar Olympic style squats are a tool for Olympic weightlifters to develop leg strength. They are a means to an end not the end itself. So they look at it from a what's more productive for development of leg strength not what allows to lift most weight in the squat it self. Powerlifting squats are a competion lift and they ARE after maximum weight, it's not a developmental lift necessarily. So they choose a style that will allow them to use the most weight.

- Failing with a high bar squat is much safer than a low bar squat. A low bar squat ends up failing over your head, a proper high bar squat can easily be dumped behind you.

- A high bar placement is more natural. Just like a properly racked front squat can be performed without your hands touching the bar, a properly racked high bar squat can be done like that as well (not with maximal weights of course). The same cannot be done with a low bar squat, the hands play a crucial role in locking the weight in place which also causes heavy stress on the shoulders BTW.

As far as a Olympic lifts are concerned. I think they are great. Right now I use clean pulls and snatch pulls and feel that this has helped my traps and upper back. IMO the most explosive part of the lift is getting the bar from the floor to "catch" height. It is also the part of the lift that requires less technical mastery which few people will posess without proper coaching. I would like to eventually work into full Olympic lifts but for now this is serving me pretty well.


low bar squat is like arched bench, it's a tool used to lift more weight. The flatter i am on bench press, the bigger my chest are. In the past i used to arch like a pler, my bench went up but my chest litteraly disappeared because it was all triceps. Same for squat, low bar is hitting lower back / hamstring.
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« Reply #8 on: June 23, 2018, 10:42:45 AM »

I use ATG olympic squats and front squats exclusively. I also throw in some single leg work every training cycle. I dont do let presses, machine squats, etc.. The only machines I use as far as lower body training would be the hamstring curl every once in a while.

Here is what I have found from doing this:

- My leg development is better than before.

- My mobility and flexibilty sucked and I had to work on it pretty hard. IMO anyone who seriously trains with weights should be able to perform a barefoot ATG overhead squat. This will ensure you have the proper lower and upper body mobility to perform free weight lifts. When I first realized how poor my mobilty was I could not get into a full squat position barefoot let alone an overhead squat.

- High bar Olympic style squats are a tool for Olympic weightlifters to develop leg strength. They are a means to an end not the end itself. So they look at it from a what's more productive for development of leg strength not what allows to lift most weight in the squat it self. Powerlifting squats are a competion lift and they ARE after maximum weight, it's not a developmental lift necessarily. So they choose a style that will allow them to use the most weight.

- Failing with a high bar squat is much safer than a low bar squat. A low bar squat ends up failing over your head, a proper high bar squat can easily be dumped behind you.

- A high bar placement is more natural. Just like a properly racked front squat can be performed without your hands touching the bar, a properly racked high bar squat can be done like that as well (not with maximal weights of course). The same cannot be done with a low bar squat, the hands play a crucial role in locking the weight in place which also causes heavy stress on the shoulders BTW.

As far as a Olympic lifts are concerned. I think they are great. Right now I use clean pulls and snatch pulls and feel that this has helped my traps and upper back. IMO the most explosive part of the lift is getting the bar from the floor to "catch" height. It is also the part of the lift that requires less technical mastery which few people will posess without proper coaching. I would like to eventually work into full Olympic lifts but for now this is serving me pretty well.


A thoughtful analysis and great post. I have trouble getting my elbows up for a front squat. I did them many years ago but now I almost feel like I have permanent stiffness in my elbows, hands and shoulders. When I do power cleans I catch the weight in the press position which is far from ideal.  Jerking with elbows down puts a tremendous amount of torque on the shoulder joint when you shove the weight up. Now I just clean the weight.  The jerk in my limited mobility would only lead to a torn shoulder. 
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« Reply #9 on: June 23, 2018, 11:16:22 AM »

A thoughtful analysis and great post. I have trouble getting my elbows up for a front squat. I did them many years ago but now I almost feel like I have permanent stiffness in my elbows, hands and shoulders. When I do power cleans I catch the weight in the press position which is far from ideal.  Jerking with elbows down puts a tremendous amount of torque on the shoulder joint when you shove the weight up. Now I just clean the weight.  The jerk in my limited mobility would only lead to a torn shoulder. 

I am actually working on my front rack position myself again. I have made attempts before but I could not get comfortable completely. My best front squat in a a front rack position is 315lbs and with the arms crossed it's 365lbs for a double. Ironically when I squat in the front rack position the weight feels very light on my legs but I can't keep the bar secure.

I also feel like not having a solid front rack is really holding back my overhead press and push press. I can bench and deadstop floor press 315lbs, incline 275lbs, but can't overhead press or push press 225lbs even once.

Last night I tried a new approach that seems to help. Will take a little while to get my body to adapt it though.
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oldtimer1
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« Reply #10 on: June 23, 2018, 06:21:04 PM »

I use to get over 225 jerked over head with less than the ideal elbows down. When you dip and try to apply that power to your hands there is a lot of wasted energy. It's like trying to sprint with pillows on your feet.

 If you have the bar on the "shelf" with the elbows up you are shoving the weight over head with your body and not through your hands. Put your hands straight out horizontal to the ground. The bar will find that shelf. Jerking the weight from that position with you hands on the bar will be the ideal way to transfer the power from your legs to get the weight over head.

If you notice many Olympic lifters have their hands open when they catch the weight off the clean. Only those with great flexibility can keep their hands closed around the bar. In Olympic lifting back in the day they had three lifts. They were the snatch, clean and press, and the clean and jerk. In the clean and press it's elbows down because you are pressing the weight with shoulder and tricep power. The legs have little to do with it unlike a jerk.

The two pictures show two legends in the game. Kono with a closed hand catch from the clean and the other an open hand catch.


* Tommy Kono 66.jpg (15.76 KB, 350x191 - viewed 206 times.)

* open hands 1.jpg (28.87 KB, 564x365 - viewed 206 times.)
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« Reply #11 on: June 24, 2018, 12:02:19 AM »

ATG high bar squats are a complete waste of time and effort for a bodybuilder.
If you arenít an Olympic lifter, then you donít need to squat ATG.
Olympic lifters need to develop power and strength out of the hole because as the weights get heavier they are catching the bar lower and lower.

Parallel or slightly below is perfect for bodybuilding purposes.

CrossFit? Well, thatís a complete joke! I wonít even give it any more words than that... LOL



 Roll Eyes Really.

Youíre completely wrong.

Full squats back or front for compleate thigh development.

You donít see many Olympic lifters with weak or turnip thigh development.
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Yev33
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« Reply #12 on: June 24, 2018, 06:06:42 PM »

I use to get over 225 jerked over head with less than the ideal elbows down. When you dip and try to apply that power to your hands there is a lot of wasted energy. It's like trying to sprint with pillows on your feet.

 If you have the bar on the "shelf" with the elbows up you are shoving the weight over head with your body and not through your hands. Put your hands straight out horizontal to the ground. The bar will find that shelf. Jerking the weight from that position with you hands on the bar will be the ideal way to transfer the power from your legs to get the weight over head.

If you notice many Olympic lifters have their hands open when they catch the weight off the clean. Only those with great flexibility can keep their hands closed around the bar. In Olympic lifting back in the day they had three lifts. They were the snatch, clean and press, and the clean and jerk. In the clean and press it's elbows down because you are pressing the weight with shoulder and tricep power. The legs have little to do with it unlike a jerk.

The two pictures show two legends in the game. Kono with a closed hand catch from the clean and the other an open hand catch.

I now know where the shelf is but I have to get to a point where I can hold the bar with the full grip for a press or a push press like this:
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iui94VWFhnA" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iui94VWFhnA</a>
I have tried to push press off of a partial grip but there is just way too much risk of a wrist injury for my liking. On a jerk you catch the bar on a fully extended arm over your head. On a push press the leg drive gets the bar to around forehead level but after that you have to press it to lock.
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oldtimer1
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« Reply #13 on: August 06, 2018, 03:07:16 PM »

On the jerk you are initially shove that bar up with your body and not through your hands. That's why many Olympic lifter do it with open hands. Only as the bar is flying up do they squeeze the bar in their hands.  
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IroNat
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« Reply #14 on: August 07, 2018, 10:46:42 AM »

Stress and muscle activation in various positions of a squat.


* Knee Flexion.jpg (109.04 KB, 1022x715 - viewed 123 times.)
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« Reply #15 on: August 19, 2018, 03:08:51 PM »

So much text in this thread so I'm just going to give my two cents. I squat with the bar on my traps go to parallel at the lowest, legs spread out about 1.5x my shoulder width, and this is because not only are you activating your leg muscles you normally do but you are engaging the biggest muscle (your glutes) even more and you are actually able to lift more weight.

In addition to that, I have read that the traditional squat is surpassed by another leg movement in muscle growth: the leg press. Easier on the joints, heavier weight (which isn't good or bad), more control, just a better option if you had to choose between squats or leg press, especially better for older BBers because you really have to take care of those joints. Personally I do both squats and leg press so I have the best of both worlds.
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