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Switching to High Bar (and running The Bridge 3.0 with HBBS)

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  • Switching to High Bar (and running The Bridge 3.0 with HBBS)

    Hi everyone.

    So, just to get it off my chest: I feel that when Low Bar-ing, I more often than not find my squat depth inconsistent for each rep. I LBBS throughout SSLP and The Bridge 1.0.

    I have a tendency to squat too deep. On "good" days, I would squat 1" below parallel (by thinking about squatting high), but on other days, I would sometimes go a bit too deep on some reps.
    This might sound silly, but I'm kind of a perfectionist when it comes to form. I want all my reps to look very similar and to be repeatable. So the depth inconsistency thing has been bugging me and making me a bit paranoid haha.

    I was always thinking of going back to High Bar and doing them ATG, which I have no problem doing (I started squatting using HBBS before running SSLP). That way my depth is consistent. However, I'm confused on the assistance exercises for HBBS if I were to use it in The Bridge 3.0. I was thinking of paused HBBS, pin HBBS, Front Squats, and tempo HBBS.

    Also, I wonder if using HBBS instead of LBBS is approved by the coaches.

    Insights are greatly appreciated!

  • #2
    You can choose HBBS as your main squat. However, if you do ATG you are sacrificing load. I would not choose ATG simply out of OCD over not being able to consistently cut the rep at proper depth. Instead, I would work on improving your kinesthetic awareness so you can go just below parallel consistently. And yes all the variations you can do on low bar can be done with high bar. You can even still include low bar as an S-S1 variation.
    Last edited by PWard; 12-10-2018, 10:27 PM.

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    • #3
      Thanks PWard!

      Umm, just a question, is sacrificing load still a problem if I can rebuild my ATG squat weights back up? I mean, the whole point is to not worry about hitting a point somewhere below parallel (somewhere "in air"). By going ATG I know 100% that I hit depth, and it is easily repeatable.

      Also, my lower back is still extended when I go ATG, so aside from the slightly slackened hamstrings, I think I haven't compromised force production significantly.

      I have always refined my kinesthetic awareness throughout LBBSing. But still, the possibility of going either too low/high still bugs me...

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      • #4
        Even if you can get stronger with a longer ROM doing ATG, you will still be stronger sticking to the full ROM of just below parallel. Is it the end of the world? No. But I still think there is benefit in learning how to feel and consistently hit the proper ROM. But if you are super opposed to going that route, I think you'll still be fine from a general perspective provided you do not plan on ever competing.

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        • #5
          High Bar is definitely BBM "approved" I made the switch to HBBS as my comp lift for similar but opposite reasons - I was inconsistently squatting too high with low bar, and consistently hit ~1" below parallel with high bar. I agree with PWard that you should learn to squat a little higher if you're interested in maximizing weight on the bar, but squatting ATG is fine if you tolerate it and prefer it. Don't get paralysis by analysis by too strict about form.

          For the variations, I do a HBBS pause/pin, SSB/front where they prescribe high bar, and front squat where they prescribe leg press/belt squat (since I have no access to them). You could do low bar as a variation too if you wanted.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Abel J View Post
            Thanks PWard!

            Umm, just a question, is sacrificing load still a problem if I can rebuild my ATG squat weights back up? I mean, the whole point is to not worry about hitting a point somewhere below parallel (somewhere "in air"). By going ATG I know 100% that I hit depth, and it is easily repeatable.

            Also, my lower back is still extended when I go ATG, so aside from the slightly slackened hamstrings, I think I haven't compromised force production significantly.

            I have always refined my kinesthetic awareness throughout LBBSing. But still, the possibility of going either too low/high still bugs me...
            I think that's really up for you to decide. The thought is LBBS allows you to do a little more weight, if your goal is to move the most weight possible then yeah I guess LBBS makes more sense. But if you can do HBBS and progress consistently, clearly showing that you are getting stronger, does it matter? At least that's the way I approached it.

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            • #7
              Alright, thanks guys!

              Just curious, how do Paused HBBS and Pin HBBS differ if you end up going as low as possible anyway? Wouldn’t both of them just be squats from a dead stop?

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              • #8
                No. In a paused squat you are pausing for 2 seconds. In a pin squat you are not actively pausing, as soon as the bar comes in contact with the pins you push.

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                • #9
                  For the variations, I do a HBBS pause/pin, SSB/front where they prescribe high bar, and front squat where they prescribe leg press/belt squat (since I have no access to them).
                  Do you do Front Squats with higher reps too (like 6+)? For instance in Bridge 3.0 from week 6 onwards, BBM prescribes 2ct paused HBBS, which will be switched to 2ct paused FS, and they are done for 8 reps. Do you notice form breakdown or upper back fatigue?

                  To quote SS BBT 3rd ed.: "Front squats are usually done in sets of three, due to the greater sensitivity of the exercise to form deterioration. Volume is accumulated with multiple sets across."

                  Or I guess you eventually adapt to higher-rep FS's due to the RBE...

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Abel J View Post

                    Do you do Front Squats with higher reps too (like 6+)? For instance in Bridge 3.0 from week 6 onwards, BBM prescribes 2ct paused HBBS, which will be switched to 2ct paused FS, and they are done for 8 reps. Do you notice form breakdown or upper back fatigue?

                    To quote SS BBT 3rd ed.: "Front squats are usually done in sets of three, due to the greater sensitivity of the exercise to form deterioration. Volume is accumulated with multiple sets across."

                    Or I guess you eventually adapt to higher-rep FS's due to the RBE...
                    I do not agree with what's written about front squats there. Like anything, you'll adapt to any rep range front squats with practice. I haven't had any issues doing sets of 10 2ct Pause Front Squats. Sure, it's pretty uncomfortable to hold the weight in the rack position that long, and I did have a little trunk and mid back DOMS when I first started, but form is just fine, fatigue is just fine. Just use RPE to put an appropriate weight on the bar and get some stress in.

                    Alternatively, I think you'd be fine just doing the paused HBBS on the bridge 3.0, even if you high bar as your Comp Squat.

                    Comment


                    • PWard
                      PWard commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Eek, you actually do a front rack for that high of reps on front squats. With high rep front squats I'm all about that #straplife! LOL. But yeah, I totally agree. I actually think that front squats are great for hypertrophy, so as much as I dread doing them, high rep front squats = gainzZz.
                      Last edited by PWard; 01-03-2019, 02:51 AM.

                    • llaffin
                      llaffin commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Haha yeah, it really killed my wrists the first couple times but now I can endure the torture. Gotta love those quad gainzZz.

                  • #11

                    Alternatively, I think you'd be fine just doing the paused HBBS on the bridge 3.0, even if you high bar as your Comp Squat.
                    Originally I was going to do 2ct paused FS since weeks 1-5 already prescribes 2ct paused squats for 5 reps, which I'll do high bar.
                    Problem is I forgot to read that weeks 1-5 prescribes 2ct paused squat OR SSB squat. I think I'll put FS in there just because it's done for 5 reps, and being a slightly less-specific movement to the HBBS, it is more "appropriate" to put FS in a developmental block.

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                    • llaffin
                      llaffin commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Sounds like a plan!

                  • #12
                    I have another question, if you don't mind.

                    On Day 3 of Weeks 1-4, The Bridge recommends 10 reps of "Leg Press, Belt Squat, or HBBS (prefer leg press or belt squat)."

                    Problem is, my university gym doesn't have a belt squat machine, and after trying it for the first time, I don't really like the Leg Press because of the limited ROM. Can I sub in Hack Squats instead? I like the fact that you can get all the way down and really feel the tension on your quads.

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                    • #13
                      I think you're kind of missing the forest for the trees. A little extra ROM, or a feeling of tension in your quads are not necessarily better. You're focusing on all the wrong things. What you instead need to ask is what is the purpose of that variation in that specific program, slot, and week? What are your ultimate goals that you are chasing? And what variations are most specific to all of those considerations?
                      Last edited by PWard; 02-02-2019, 03:14 AM.

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                      • #14
                        What you instead need to ask is what is the purpose of that variation in that specific program, slot, and week? What are your ultimate goals that you are chasing? And what variations are most specific to all of those considerations?
                        Sorry for the lack of context. My Comp. Squat is currently the High Bar Squat, and I go as low as I can without losing tightness. I feel that my quads are the limiting factor in the HBBS since the more upright back angle greatly diminishes hip drive, so it's my goal is to strengthen and/or hypertrophy the quads.

                        This is my reasoning for using the Hack Squat over the Leg Press:
                        I think the Hack Squat, with its longer ROM, is more similar to the movement pattern found in the HBBS compared to the Leg Press. Also, since it is a machine-based exercise, and is thus less-fatiguing (probably subjective, but oh well), it allows me to accumulate higher volume on said movement pattern. Since the mechanics of the HBBS puts more emphasis on the quads, I think I may get more quad hypertrophy as well.

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                        • #15
                          Since you are doing high bar ass to grass as your comp movement, you're not really optimizing for maximum squat strength as it is. So I mean since you're already consciously choosing a ROM that is counter productive for strength purposes, it probably doesn't matter what you choose for variations since absolute weight on the bar is obviously not your main priority.

                          That being said, you didn't fully answer the questions either. I'm asking the questions to lead you to the answer as opposed to just giving you the answer, so that you understand the why, because the why is more important than the how. You answered why you think the hack squat might be more specific to an ass to grass high bar squat, but you didn't look at the purpose of the actual slot itself and it's place in the session, week, and block. Specificity to the comp lift is super important for some slots and blocks, and for other slots and blocks you intentionally want to choose less specific variations. So what do you think the purpose of that specific slot is, and how does it fit into the block as a whole?

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