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pliment the competitive exercises by bringing up lagging muscle groups or technical deficiencies in a lifter. Here are my favorite exercises to address various weak points for the Powerlifts.Weakpoint GuideSquatRounding OverBeing rounded over at the upper back in the squat is most commonly due to lack of tightness in the setup. To correct this, refer back to the Technique section of this manual and follow the steps for a rigid upper back position. If you feel you are doing a good job with the technical aspects of the setup but are still being rounded over, then we can look at exercises to address this problem.
Safety Squat Bar SquatsThe Safety Squat Bar (SSB) is the most useful specialty bar for the squat and due to its forward facing camber places the weight slightly in front of the athlete’s body. This will try to pull the athlete forward and force them to develop strength pushing back against the weight and fighting to stay upright.Front SquatsSimilarly to the SSB, Front Squats place the weight in front of the athlete and will cause the athlete to have to fight to stay upright and build up the postural strength in the upper back. The athlete’s ability to overload front squats though is often limited because of mobility restrictions in holding the bar, so I don’t find it to be quite as effective as the SSB for this purpose.
General Upper Back TrainingAdding muscle and general strength to the Lats, Rhomboids and Traps will all benefit you in not losing your upper back position in the squat. Pullups, Chinups, Lat Pulldowns, DB Rows, Chest Supported Rows, Cable Rows, Upright Rows and Shrugs can all be useful for Hypertrophy and General Strength training for these muscle groups.
Sticking Above ParallelThe most common area for an athlete to miss a squat is a few inches above parallel on the way up. There are many reason that this can occur but the most common reason reason is a relative weakness in either the low back com-pared to the quads or the quads compared to the low back. Weak Legs and Strong BackI find this to be the most common deficiency in an athlete’s squat. You can identify this discrepancy in strength when the athlete’s knee shift backward as the first movement out of the hole, this causes their hips to rise faster than their shoulders. Because the athlete has a relatively strong back, they’ll be able to fight against the weight for a few seconds in this position and occasionally good morning their way through the sticking point. A very heavy conventional dead-lift compared to high bar squat would be another indicator that an athlete has this weakpoint. We use the following guidelines to help inform our decisions about Relative Leg vs Back Strength…Certainly there will be athletes who may not follow these guidelines, usually ones with very short or long arms, but for most athletes this chart should be very useful.