Head Position And Back Angle Head Position And Back Angle

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Thread: Head Position And Back Angle

  1. #1

    Default Head Position And Back Angle

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    For your consideration...

    Six months ago I was few pounds lighter, my hamstrings were weaker and I was using the head down position. Notice the loss of back angle and the segmentation of my squats.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mxEzu_sZx2M



    Now here I am one month ago. I experimented with head position over the course of my Russian Squat Routine. Here's head neutral. Notice how the good morning action gets increasingly pronounced just like in that video from six months ago:

    365x5 Set Five




    Now notice the head up position and how much smoother the squat is with minimal back angle loss and subsequent good morning.

    385x5 Set One

    Warm up w 315x2

    405x3x3 Set One

    Warm Ups and New 430 Max

    (That's Bryan Schwab and some of his crew offering encouragement on that max effort PR attempt.)

    Notice that even on my very heaviest sets, my back angle loss isn't anywhere near as bad as it was in that video from six months ago.

    Now we can say that my hamstrings just got stronger so I'm able to keep them engaged and keep my ass down (and keep the hip angle opening up at a rate that allows quad contribution), but I can tell you that looking up slightly has had a profound effect on my ability to maintain that back angle.
    Last edited by Gary Gibson; 03-15-2010 at 12:42 AM.

  2. #2
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    Default

    Yep.

  3. #3
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    Damn Gary!! Nice work. Inspiring for this old guy! What are you weighing in at now btw?

  4. #4
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    Default nice squatting

    nice weights you're squatting there & good depth. the more recent squats (heavier) look way smoother than the earlier ones. i found i was doing good mornings out of the hole too when i was looking slightly down, if i look staight ahead, this doesn't happen. most good squatters (that's not me) seem to look straight ahead, though some look up & some down...whatever works best for that individual.

  5. #5
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    So why is "look at the floor 6-8ft ahead" the Rippetonian decree?

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    Quote Originally Posted by MazdaMatt View Post
    So why is "look at the floor 6-8ft ahead" the Rippetonian decree?
    I think this is strictly for skeletal reasons, looking 6-8 ft ahead creates the most natural back alignment. Looking slightly up would be more of a psychological trigger as the body tends to follow the gaze of the eyes and the location of the head.


    edit: you could imagine somebody looking more downward to "tip forward" more and get his/her body into a more "good morning-like" position.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by MazdaMatt View Post
    So why is "look at the floor 6-8ft ahead" the Rippetonian decree?
    That's a good question. I've posted my vids on Rip's forum before and he has no complaints about my head position. I believe the advice to look down is actually fantastic for beginners and people who've been leg pressing their squats, but things change as you get stronger and you just have to experiment and see what works for you.

    Here's a Rip quote I like to keep at the ready for when the subject of head position or power cleans comes up:

    Absolutely not. Never -- and I mean NEVER -- try anything that someone in authority, like Me, has not specifically approved in advance. This is not allowed, and is specifically prohibited, because if you do this irresponsible thing -- this Trying Things For Yourself -- you might learn on your own, and again, this is PROHIBITED.

    Let me ask you a question: Are you from North Korea?
    So you start out a beginner with the head down cue, but if you notice that as the weights get heavier, there is a persistent tendency to segment the squat (like I was doing), you may want to tell her "try looking up a little" till she finds a head angle that works for her. The head angle, foot angle, stance width and a few other things have some wiggle room among individuals.
    Last edited by Gary Gibson; 03-15-2010 at 08:58 AM.

  8. #8
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    Gary,
    Have you taken any recent video of you squatting while looking at the ground though?

    The only reason I ask is that I feel that the only thing you have shown is that you have become a better squatter. If you counted the number of reps you have completed in squats in the last year or so, that number would be quite high.

    I propose that the amount of practice you have had with your squatting and the tweaks you have done here and there are more of an influence on the recently better looking squats, than your head position and eye gaze.

    I would almost bet that if you would still have the same form regardless of your head position at this point, with few exceptions.

    I think its a result of greater technique efficiency and greater strength...not so much where you were looking.

    Here's an experiment. Take a video of you squatting now looking down and compare it to the recent ones. See if you see a difference...

    What do you think?

    -Dwayne
    Last edited by Dwayne_KONG_Wint; 03-15-2010 at 09:05 AM. Reason: added experiment

  9. #9

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    The second video shows me in the middle of the latest cycle and losing the back angle when I look down. It was at that point that I started looking up a bit and found it cleared up the segmenting plenty.

  10. #10
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    starting strength coach development program
    I think I may try this, but i will stick with the conventional wisdom until my squats can impress somebody. I just managed 3x5@220 on saturday after some failures at lower weights.

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