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Back Squat

(E1/8) Sets Across

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5 Rounds for time of:
12 Jumping Split Squats
8 Clapping Push-Ups

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Getting ready to Squat
By Coach Margie

When you approach a loaded bar, make the decision to be there. Develop your Set Up. This is not the time to saunter up, ease yourself into position and expect to manage maximal loads successfully. As strong as you may be, if you are not mentally prepared to own the barbell, well… the barbell will win every time.

As simple as squatting is, it takes all your guts to do it right.

There are two parts to your Set Up: getting underneath the bar, and preparing to squat it.

Getting underneath the bar:

1)     Mentally psych yourself up to lift the weight. Get mad, excited, juiced, pumped, jump around, curse at the bar, or go deep within yourself and find that quiet place of absolute certainty. Whatever. Experiment to find your intensity and focus.

2)     Now, get underneath the bar and get a good strong rack position. Make sure the bar is wedged in tight between your hands and your shoulders. Build stability by finding tension in your upper body: remember this is where the weight will sit, so you want to create a firm shelf, not some namby pamby, twiggy little thing that will snap in two. If you have a low bar rack, raise your elbows up behind you, and push the heels of your hands against the bar. If you have a high bar rack, grip the bar tightly and push up against it.

3)     Take a big breath into your belly, hold it and bear down. Your stomach should get fatter. Now squeeze your butt and stand up confidently with the weight on your back.

4)     Walk back two or three steps and set your feet.

Preparing to squat:

1)     Let the bar settle on your shoulders.

2)     Make sure your rack position is still tight.

3)     Take another big breath into your belly and bear down. Get fat!

4)     Now SQUAT!

This is your ritual; use it every time you play with a barbell.

Happy lifting!

Watch this video to see exactly what we're talking about

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Reader Comments (15)

Just registered for this weekend at CFV.
July 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPaulie T-Shirts
@Paulie: yeah, that's kick ass!!!
July 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDan Rx'd
Me too. This is going to be fun!

Great text, Margie!
July 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAndy H.
David or coaches,

do you guys know the link to that last back squat cycle we had?
July 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterShawnS
Margie: This really speaks to me. Last week I got up to the bar and I bailed on my 1st squat. I went down and I felt I wasn't coming up. Needless to say, this really bummed me out. When I look back at the fail, what comes to mind are a few factors. 1.Incomplete recovery from the last session 2. lack of sleep 3. approaching the bar like a loser. I was nervous about the weight before the lift, and I allowed myself to get beaten by the bar. I have lifted more than 50% more for my 1 RM, but last week I let it get to me. I honestly felt like a loser. But them's the breaks, 1 step forward, 2 back. The mental factor is so important.
July 21, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterjack

Here is exposure 8/8 of last cycle, you can track back to each previous lift with the "compare to' link in each post. Ive advised people to start at a weight 2-3 exposures behind their last exposure from last cycle. this way you're not starting at a heavy load that will stall before all this month's exposures are through.

July 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDavid Osorio
Did this one last night. I hit 215x3x5 in early June so thought I could work across at 205 easy.LBBS(5): (45, 95, 135, 185) 205x4, 205x2, 185, 185Wasn't aggressive enough and gave up too easy. Lame-o.Then to complete the evening of no-fun, Helen in 18:12ish. First 1.5 rounds with real pull-ups, then backed down to the white band. Running and pull-ups = goats.I want to try this one again in a month or two.
July 21, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterkatie
Recent NPR article on barefoot running:


Not anything we didn't know or that we haven't seen things like this before, but I enjoyed watching the video that shows the "shockwave" that's generated when you run in shoes.

July 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDan Rx'd
I surrender.

Tried to put it off til the strength cycle's done, but it can't wait. Seeing an orthopedic surgeon tomorrow morning for this blasted, busted, pulsing, ridiculous finger. What a stupid injury. I give the finger to this finger.
July 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMichele
I'll trade you my clavicle for your finger, michele!
July 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDavid Osorio
I know, I know, you are more hurteded. You are the king of pain, I am but a minion.
July 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMichele
Considering doing this at work...always a risky proposition.

For the jumping split squat is it 12 total (6 a side) or 12 right/12 left.

Night shifts end soon, finally regularly back in the gym soon.

Fox- had that headache from the DU's for a full day.
July 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNoah
Great working out with Jay yesterday, welcome to Brooklyn (hope to see you back in a month)!Warm up: 45x5, 115x5, 135x3, 155x3185x5x3 - Lower back still hurting but better.

WOD - 4:15 rx - clapping push ups degraded somewhat near the end, doing them one at a time.
July 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDavid Mak
Warmup:-800m run barefoot.

LBBSQ:(45x5, 75x5, 105x5, 125x3)work: 140x5x3-Felt good and strong. Plan on bumping up 5lbs each exposure.-Nice lifting with Tanya!

Plyo-WOD:4:46 modified to 5 clapping pushups.-Can I say again how much I hate lunges. Cute that you guys added that jump in there to make them even worse. Clapping pushups are hard and I was surprised I could do them. First round ok, then the rest were in 2's then singles.

Bonus:-800m run (in socks) with 14lb med ball.I was never in a comfortable position running with that thing...which of course means that I need to do it more.
July 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJess
Then, LBBSQ, first exposure:(45x5, 95x5, 135x5) 160x5x3

Thanks Paulie Short-Shorts and Margie for some excellent coaching. It turns out I've been front-squatting my back squats. Whoops.

Plyo-WOD: 4:16 as Rx'd. This sucked in an excellent way. More plyometrics, please! I especially loved (i.e., hated) the clapping pushups.
July 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCharlotte

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