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Old 11-08-2007, 12:10 PM   #1
Brandon Oto
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Rip's low bar argument

This is for anyone who's a CFJ subscriber and saw the clip from Rip's lecture.

Anyone else baffled? In subsequent cuts, he first describes how he advocates the low bar position because it shortens the lever arm and reduces shear stress on the lower back, and how he'd dial that stress to zero (with the lowest possible bar position) if he could. Then in literally the next clip, he explains that with proper muscular tension, there IS no shear stress, the squat is an exercise for your back, and you're supposed to be dealing with that force, using your rigid erectors..

I have no differences in philosophy here, I'm just wondering if I'm missing some logical point that would be useful. Anyone understand what he's trying to say?
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Old 11-08-2007, 02:18 PM   #2
Sean Manseau
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Re: Rip's low bar argument

blame operator error, but all i know is, the day i switched from high to low bar position, i got a lower back strain.
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Old 11-08-2007, 02:59 PM   #3
David Aguasca
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Re: Rip's low bar argument

that's a good point. maybe he's trying to reach a balance here. and IMHO the comment about the squat being a back exercise was to point out that the back is involved, so we should pay attention to it, not necessarily that it's a GREAT back exercise.

it's also possible that the reduction of shear stress on the lower back is more about shifting more of the muscular stress to the legs and hips rather than on the back, because, after all, "with proper muscular tension, there is no shear stress." so, the problem is less about structural safety and more about movement effectiveness.

to add some possibly clarifying information: less back strain isn't the only reason he prefers the low bar position. he also likes it because it is more hip-centric than the high-bar position. i can definitely attest to that...the first heavy squatting day after changing rack positions, my hamstrings felt like jelly. no noticeable difference on the lower back, though, and i have a pre-existing injury, too.
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Old 11-08-2007, 03:40 PM   #4
Brandon Oto
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Re: Rip's low bar argument

I know about the other reasons, just confused about this one.

Speaking mechanically, if you move the bar down the back, it will reduce the leverage on both the back and the hip muscle. I guess nobody's worried about injuring the glutes/hamstrings, though, and the sharper hip angle with the low bar position more than counteracts the decreased lever arm, in terms of applying force to the hip? That makes some sense...

[Edit with additional thought] However, this doesn't change the fact that if your position is "there is no shear force to the spine with proper muscular activation," the whole exercise of moving the bar down to shorten the lever is moot. UNLESS the sole reason for the shift is to change the hip/back angle to emphasize the posterior chain, which Rip does cite, but he also talks about the stress to the back and by his own thinking that seems to be a non-argument.

Last edited by Brandon Oto : 11-08-2007 at 03:45 PM.
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Old 11-08-2007, 03:48 PM   #5
Chris Walls
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Re: Rip's low bar argument

It wouldn't hurt moving it down to minimize the sheering force for those times when you might not have 100% "proper muscular activation". Better safe then sorry and all that?
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Old 11-08-2007, 04:03 PM   #6
Leonid Soubbotine
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Re: Rip's low bar argument

When Mark was adjusting my shoulders and the bar - I felt like a damn rotisserie chicken - my shoulders were hurting like hell.

Next squat session a week later I got a PR by 31 lbs - 374 (old PR was 343).

Love the low bar sq, just barely ever do back squats.
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Old 11-08-2007, 04:40 PM   #7
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Re: Rip's low bar argument

The reduction of torque on the hips/back argument doesn't make sense. As Rippetoe himself emphasizes, a bar with any weight on it must remain over the middle of the foot in order for the bar-body unit to remain balanced over its base. So this means irrespective of bar position on the back, the bar will always be in the same position relative to the feet--all that changes is the position of the hips relative to the feet/bar and the resulting angle of the back.

In a high bar, Oly-style back squat, the torso is nearly vertical because the hips remain very close to the feet. In a low-bar squat, the torso is inclined forward a great deal because the hips are well behind the feet. This means the lever arm, as measured horizontally from either the hip joint or lumbar spine to the center of the bar is longer in the low-bar BS, placing MORE torque on the hips/lower back. This is pointed out indirectly by stating the low-bar squat places more emphasis on the posterior chain than the high bar--it does this by increasing the torque on the hips/back--so how can we in the same breath claim the low bar squat reduces torque on the back?

Don't misunderstand me, I have no problem with the low-bar BS, and in fact prefer it for most athletes outside of weightlifting. But to use it under the pretense of reducing torque on the back is misguided. Maybe all the PCP I just smoked is confusing me, and Rippetoe can step in and straighten me out on this one.
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Old 11-08-2007, 05:13 PM   #8
Brandon Oto
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Re: Rip's low bar argument

Okay, who wants to shoot him an email with a link to this thread?
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Old 11-08-2007, 05:47 PM   #9
George Mounce
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Re: Rip's low bar argument

Brandon - do you have Starting Strength? I'd get it.

If they don't ship to Holland I'll buy it for you and ship it to you for Christmas.
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Old 11-08-2007, 08:48 PM   #10
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Re: Rip's low bar argument

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brandon Oto View Post
Okay, who wants to shoot him an email with a link to this thread?
I just did.
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