The following extract comes from a fascinating twelve page pamphlet I recently got my hands on. Written by the Strongman and Powerlifter Bill Kazmier, the pamphlet details everything a budding strength enthusiast needs to learn to perform on the platform. Over the next few weeks we’ll be dissecting Kazmier’s advice for the Squat, Deadlift and the Bench Press.
In the meantime, do enjoy the Strongman’s general tips and advice for performing the perfect powerlifting squat. As always…Happy Lifting!
To squat with a weight is a simple enough concept, yet there are still many considerations necessary in order to perform with maximum efficiency so gaining maximum poundage. Perhaps the best way to illustrate the practicalities of squatting is to run through, step by step, the execution of a competitive squat making relevant observations and suggestions upon its performance.
Approach the bar with positive thoughts of a successful lift, definitely not a time for doubt.Grip the bar with as narrow a hand spacing as possible, with thumbs around the bar, while still allowing the bar to be carried low without too much discomfort to the shoulders, elbows or wrists.
The position of the bar on the shoulders should be within the International Powerlifting Federation (I.P.F.)rules-no lower than 1’14 inches between the top of the bar and the top of the anterior deltoids. A position in which you should feel stable, should be able to stand sufficiently upright as to satisfy the referees, and one thataffords the best leverage advantage to you body structure. With the correct position you should not be able to round your back during the squat even if you wanted to. Elbows should not be held high but rather forced down so that you can feel contact between tensed tricep and lat. Lighter lifters be aware of the possibility of the elbows touching the thighs whilst in the bottom squat position (an infringement of the rules). Adjust your grip to avoid this if it seems probable.
A solid bar and arm position is important. You should feel like yourself and the bar are one, joined together, and that squatting with it is like squatting with a natural extension of yourself.
Stepping out from the rack and assuming the correct foot stance should be done with as little delay as possible, taking just enough steps to clear the racks and positive adjustments to get the feet set. Keep your attitude positive and confident and look up to the position you decide to focus on to await the referee’s signal.
The foot spacing is dictated by individual structure and leverage. To keep within the limits where all the muscles involved can work best together I would definitely go wider than shoulder width but not excessively wide, with toes pointed slightly outwards.
Inhale deeply before the descent and keep the head forced back slightly throughout. Upon first unlocking the knees for the squat the butt should consciously be pushed backwards. This inclines the trunk forward and helps keep the lower legs in a more upright position.
Going down in the squat should be controlled. To let the tight suit and knee wraps work best for you drop a little faster towards the bottom position and rebound whilst driving strongly with the legs.
It’s important to endeavor to keep the knees as much over the instep as possible. This makes it easier to sink into the break parallel position and lessens the distance the bar travels.
Drive all the way through when coming up with the squat, keeping the lats and arms tenseq under the bar so maintaing solidity and control, gradually exhaling upon completion.
Lock the knees and resume an upright position to receive the referee’s signal for the completion of the liftand to rack the bar.
If you develop a good strict style in training it should follow automatically in meets. Practice makes perfect-developyour squatting “groove” and work at makingit a natural movement for you. Don’t gettoo avaricious in training, seeking those big poundages you are not capable of in strict style. It’s best to train within yourself, de- veloping good rather than bad form withthe confident knowledge that big singleswill be yours at contest time. Finally, cor- rect form is often governed by the tight suit and wraps. Use these in training for at least the last 4 to 8 weeks on the heavy days to condition yourself to the style.