I may have made a mistake.

And I sincerely apologize.

In this article here that I wrote…I said the low-bar-back-squats are pointless for weightlifting and should only be used as a SBD exercise. I still don’t believe there’s much carryover at all to weightlifting and a lot of guys have agreed with that.

Then I sat down and analyzed some things even more.

I noticed that some powerlifters that move from powerlifting to weightlifting, may not be back squatting as much with the weightlifting style than they did with the LBBS style. But if they’re already LBBS 650LBS…they actually have a much easier time moving heavy weight faster, in the HBBS.

I think that if you squat really wide stance or really narrow stance or anything like that, 800LBS is still ..800LBS!! I’m actually quite certain that if he moved to weightlifting and did HBBS, he’d hit a 600LBS or 262KG squat in a matter of weeks. Why? Because his brains are already wired to move a much heavier weight. So for a HBBS, certain muscles that he uses for a powerlifting squat, will not be available. He will however, still hit a lot more weight than those who exclusively HBBS.

There’s so many things that so many coaches have taught me through the years. This one slipped out of my head, but I remember a coach saying, being bullshit crazy strong, is still BULLSHIT CRAZY STRONG.

This was in weightlifting and he said that, his athletes may not squat till full depth. They do this funny squat off the rack, with the hips higher than knee where the lifter’s extremely strong in that position. But they’re still handling a lot lot more weight (I think in excess of 300KG) in a half squat off the rack than the guy that’s doing a full squat with …..200KG.

He said, it’s a shortcut method by using partial reps to train the body to feel what a heavier weight feels like first. Then he’ll raise his athletes by putting 10KG plates every week on their feet when they do that exercise and eventually the athlete will raise his squats. Sometimes if the athlete can’t raise the feet, he’ll just get them to do more reps and sets. Or he’ll just add more weight. Or he’ll reduce the weight and raise the feet. Sometimes he’ll shift the plates sideways so the athlete has to learn to tackle his own imbalances.

He recommended that I do that, but I somehow overlooked that method.

And then I remembered my own experiences too. When I started weightlifting, I already had a 145KG back squat, LOW bar. I did what I’d regard as somewhat powerlifting for a while. I stumbled like an idiot for a few days with the HBBS but the moment it started going, it went alright.

So yeah, I guess I may have been wrong. Strength is strength, regardless low bar or high bar. Everybody says high bar transfer to low bar. True……but what if your weakness is hamstring power? And you’ve done your quota of pulls and hamstring shit for the week. How did I as a weightlifter, forget that strength is strength regardless?

I remember….It’s called reading forums and being influenced. Sheesh I gotta spend less time reading these rubbish forums.

This ain’t too bad of a squat is it?

Skip to about 55 seconds.

6 replies
  1. Ado Gruzza
    Ado Gruzza says:

    There is a reason why it is the only English-language website on training that I follow with eagerness.

    I send you a long (but important) e mail. I hope you could answer.

  2. Chris
    Chris says:

    Hey Kirksman,
    How come weightlifters don’t do Safety Bar Squats? That seems to me like it would be a good same but different exercise since you can use the same technique as the olympic high bar squat but with a different stimulus.

  3. Joe
    Joe says:

    Hi, I think the big problem with low bar squats and whatnot isn’t the actual exercise, it’s context. For one person, low bar squats could help them out I guess, but for another, they might be bad for the number of reasons listed as arguments against it (ie, reinforcing bad motor patterns, etc.) Personally, I hate them. In fact I mostly front squat now as it helps my athleticism more than back squatting does, as using the theory of “weakness correction” I have weak abs. So in training for jumping, the front squat is helping me a lot more. I have strong legs and lower back, but weak core. Of course, there may very well be other people who have weak lower backs and legs relatively speaking, where a low bar squat could benefit them.

    But the problem is again, context. Nobody in America is actually using the exercises in the right context, simply because Olympic lifting is sort of a new sport here in America. So we don’t have a “system” developed to use exercises in the correct context really. We simply just don’t have the experience to do it. Also, as you said, I think Americans have a problem of not seeing how “results > science” we’ll argue all day about lowbar vs highbar instead of just trying it and seeing what the results correlate with.

    However, the only argument I have against your post is, how come Olympic lifters tend to transition very well to powerlifting or basically any athletic venture they choose, but we see very few transitions from powerlifting to Olympic lifting. Why is this?

    • Kirksman
      Kirksman says:

      Joe, I actually went from powerlifting to weightlifting. I can give you an answer which I see from this, but you may not like it.

      Training is very culturally driven. 3×10, 5×5,8×3. Why? The human mind is so powerful, yet when guidelines and trust is created, humans become EMOTIONALLY attached to “systems”.

      Research in the Western society (I noticed this when doing my papers) is extremely skewed. In fact, this doctor agrees;
      What they don’t want you to know, they don’t show. The failures, are never spoken about.

      And this is how the human mind works. We have this irritating thing where if we’re in an environment, we immerse ourselves in it, we find reasons and points to rationalize our action and thoughts. Emotions play such a very large part in our daily lives and that’s how we say “That person’s bad”, because they don’t conform to our perceived systems. Good example? Gay people. I as a Buddhist, am constantly reminded of that need to remain neutral but I still skew obviously.

      The white-man culture as we call it in Asia, of arguing and proving themselves right are STRONGLY frowned upon because its very backdated and helps the best debater prove himself right. Not the person with the best facts.

      Sincerity in discussions is what helped Asia grow to the beast it is today that’s why you see majority of the less English influenced nations now growing like weeds. They’re the guys behind the scenes that pull the strings of the puppets to help them achieve what they want.

      I’m not telling you this to make fun of anyone. I’m telling you the general idea behind the Generals in China, Burma, Vietnam, etc. I can’t speak for Europe, but I can speak for Asia, after spending 24 years there.


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