Form vs. Increasing Weight Form vs. Increasing Weight

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Thread: Form vs. Increasing Weight

  1. #1
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    Default Form vs. Increasing Weight

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    Hey Guys,

    I am determined to get my form as close to perfect as I can during the SSNLP. I know I have some form issues but they aren't horrible and I know what I need to fix, I just need practice. When do I hold back on weight to fix an issue and when to I go ahead and add but still work on technique?

    Current weights:
    Squat: 155 (working on knee slide and more aggressive ascent)
    BP:120
    DL:190 (working on lowering more quickly to not waste so much energy)
    OHP:75
    Chin ups: 8-10

    About me:
    Female
    36 yo
    5'9"
    155lbs

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
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    There is a delicate balance here. When you first learn the lifts, they should be perfect or very nearly so with the weights you're using at the beginning. As you get to the grindier, harder parts of the LP later on, there usually is a little bit of degradation at the margin of new weight increase. How much is OK is ultimately a somewhat subjective determination, for which an experienced coaches eye is very useful. And what I'm about to say somewhat depends on having a developed eye, because I can't say "15 degrees of internal rotation and adduction of the hip leading to knee cave is OK, but 20 degrees isn't," or "lifting the chest when 5 inches out of the hole on 3 of the 5 reps is no good, but lifting the chest when 6 inches out of the hole on 2 of the 5 reps is fine." It just doesn't work that way and there is an inherently qualitative element here.

    So the way I think of it is this:
    1. Before and during the lift, your mental game is focused on doing your damnedest to make the reps perfect. Really working and focusing on the 1-2 cues per rep that you need to fix it.
    2. After the fact, if it wasn't perfect but was still good - you acknowledge that it still needs work and will do so, but you continue to add weight. If I were grading it like a school paper, I would have to give it at least a B or B+ to be in this category.
    3. One way to know whether it is working and you're not just feeding your ego to add more weight, is if the weight at which you CAN produce a perfect rep goes up over time.

    For example: If you're struggling at the margin of 155 to keep it perfect. But you're trying your best to do so, working the cues you need to work, and produce a B+ squat. So you add weight and keep doing this. A while later when you're now struggling with 185, how does 155 look? If you listened to the three things above, 155 will now be essentially perfect, or at least an A. If it's not, that means you're not working hard enough to make your reps perfect even when it's difficult, and are pre-accepting that since it's not gonna be perfect, might as well not focus on form and just think "UP!!!!!"

    On the other hand, if you can't even produce a B+, or maaaaybe a B level squat at the heavier new weight, you probably need to take some weight off the bar and focus on technique, mastering it as you ramp back up.

    The problem is, how do you assess what a B or B+ squat looks like? That's where the experienced coach's eye is needed and very useful.
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  3. #3
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    Michael,

    Thank you very much for your detailed and quick response.

    I have been trying to watch lots of videos in the forums and reading all the feedback to try to develop an eye for errors and corrections. It's definitely a learning process. What I feel and then what I see on the videos of my sets is not always congruent but I feel like the more and more sets I do, the more in line these two things are. Yah! for developing proprioception.

    Is this a B?

    YouTube

    Thanks again. It's much appreciated.

    Margaret

  4. #4
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    Ya, I'd say so. There are some things to be addressed but the bones of the squat are pretty solid in terms of bar position, back angle, hip drive.

    Main things to focus on first:
    1. Don't tilt your pelvis or wiggle your hips right before descent. Big breath, brace your abs, then hips and knees move together. Not hips first.
    2. Cut of 1-2 inches of depth so you can stay tighter, and also...
    3. Avoid getting forward onto your toes as you drive up out of the hole.

    I see you're still doing sets of 5 and not yet switched to triples. Are you still also squatting heavy and adding weight 3 days per week?
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  5. #5
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    Thanks for the feedback. I will make note of all those things and think of them on Monday.

    That video was actually from Day 3 of the LP. I just started last Monday (Sept 25). I started at 160# on Monday but after watching the videos and getting advice on the regular forum realized my form needed work. So on Wednesday I did 150 and things seemed ok, so on Friday I did the ones you saw at 155. All 3x5.

    I have a few issues with my deadlift and OH press as well but I would say they are pretty much inline with the issues here. I know what they are now, just need to practice.

    Advice? Seems like switching to 5x3 already would be leaving a lot on the table.

    Thanks again,
    Margaret

  6. #6
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    Probably started too heavy. I'm guessing you have some prior training background before starting SSLP? As I noted in my first reply, the whole "If it's a B/B+, then add weight while addressing the issues that make it a B+ instead of an A" thing was predicated on first starting and learning with a weight that you can do perfectly. Or at least at which the weight itself isn't causing it not to be perfect, rather a lack of familiarity with the movement, which corrects over the first couple weeks, with the weight still being light enough then that it's damn close to perfect. And the whole B/B+ thing is only for later on, when you've already established that foundation with an A squat.

    So, practically: if you can fix and improve these issues at the current weights, do so and keep adding. If you never established a foundation of A grade squats and they're only getting harder to improve, technically, from here as you add weight, then you need to take some weight off the bar to establish that foundation so that A level technique is already established and performed as a matter of routine, before the weight gets heavy enough to make that difficult.
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  7. #7
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    Yes, I agree. I started too heavy. I have trained with barbells but had never done a low bar squat so that is new as is the OH Press technique. I am videoing each set and reviewing before the next but I feel like without intra-set or even intra-rep cueing, its difficult to make the proper adjustments. Plus my "eye" for errors and corrections is obviously not well trained so I can usually see something is off but don't know exactly what or how to correct it. I feel like that is a skill in itself, on top of learning the movement. I figure there is a learning curve to the whole thing.

    I am aware of what I need to fix, now I just have to do it. So I will take weight off the bar and make sure I can do them pretty perfectly and then start adding weight.

    Getting this feedback from you is immeasurably helpful. Thank you for your time. I really appreciate it.

  8. #8
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    Ah, as I suspected - you have a strength base but not with this exact technique. Yes - back it up to a weight at which any deviations from the model are due to your inexperience with it, and not the weight, but not so light that you don't even feel the weight at all. My guess is this will be 125 or so. You'll be back at 155 in about 2 weeks, with better and more confident technique, then continue going up from there.
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  9. #9
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    Again, thanks so much.

    I worked at 135# for squats today and things looked and felt much better.

    I am registered for the WF Seminar in December. I am hoping to working steadily until then. Your advice has definitely gotten me on the right track.

  10. #10
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    starting strength coach development program
    No prob. Going to the seminar in December is an excellent choice! Alas I won't be there since I will be running the mock meet for my strength cycle that weekend here in NYC, but when your squat platform coach compliments you on your form, which will no doubt be an 'A' by then, you can say, "Wolf. It was all Wolf."
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