WPC Raw Worlds in Riga, Latvia are not until mid-November so I do not need to get very serious until about mid to late August. Until them I ruled that I would NOT full range back squat until August and that I would not squat anything over 65% of my backsquat UNLESS extremely partial ROM. So for the first few weeks where I could barely even perform a full range body-weight squat, I relied on heavy heavy partials. I would load up the bar to its maximum and do partial reps until my head would feel like it was about to explode. Anywhere from 15-20 reps, only moving a few inches, would light every muscle in my leg and back up...and I probably went from 5'9 to 5'7 in the process. And then I would doing sets of 100-150 body weight squats(unless it hurt) and 100-150 walking lunges(no weight) just to flood the area with blood.
As my ROM increased without pain I incorporated 'Hellraiser' safety-squats and front squats. With these squats putting you at a mechanical disadvantage in the squat I am able to not have to load the bar so heavy to feel as though I am stimulating change and also I can rework my squat technique.
The front squat allowed me to focus on my quad and upright position in the squat. Because it requires a high degree of hip flexion it allows me to really test out my rec fem without loading as heavy as I would need to in the backsquat. The front squat is, in my opinion, the most important movement for people to learn before they learn the actual back squat. If you can front squat nicely...you can back squat nicely.
And the next lift I love to do is the HELLRAISER(click me for article) aka the Nera Safety Squat. This really loads the upper back and forces you to focus on staying upright. It is a war the entire time. 500 lbs no hands is just as difficult as a regular 650 back squat. I never look forward to doing a set of hellraisersbecause they are grinds the entire set.
The front squat forces you to stay upright and tight during the entire squat and also builds the quads ability to squat. Many people, especially wide stance squatters, focus on the hip extensors and back, whereas I prefer to squat as a quad dominant lifter...quad dominant lifters also rarely ever have to question whether or not they make depth. :P
The Hellraiser is a beauty to couple with the front squat because it still forces you to stay upright, but instead of threatenning a drop forward of the weight...it threatens to roll your head into your chest...into the floor!! Most people push up on the bar with their hands...but if you eliminate this it forces you really control your decent and maintain an upright posture...otherwise the bar will literally push your head forward and your chest in...its not a good feeling....people wonder how i've grinded through some heavy squats...hear is the answer.
By the end of the two exercises the legs are lit, the back is fired up like a motherfucker, and the squat technique is crisp.
SATURDAY, JULY 23rd, 2011
FRONT SQUAT: 495x3, 545x1, 495x3
(for not having even back squatted anything over 500 in the last 8 weeks...this is pretty good. When I am feeling stronger I will post a 600lbs front squat or at least a 6 plate front sq)
HELLRAISERS: 505lbs x 3, 415lbs x 10
Kettlebell Swings(overhead): 3-poot(106lbs) x 25 x 3 sets