torso strength and squat big weights

hey guys and gals, my name is Chris and I’ve been checking out the forum for awhile and I love it. Although it’s a “sprinter’s” website, I’ve gotten excellent strength info from it.My problem is…I think torso strength and squatting into the 400’s. I just did some partials with 405 and i can feel my torso and whole body shaking unlike when i handle weights in the 315lb range. My best “psyched up” max is 375, but without psyching up I would say around 350 or so. I’m really slender in the torso,abdominal area and am not sure if I’m strong enough in the core. question is…in your core exercises how much weight do you lift for a particular exercise such as decline sit-ups,spread eagle situps? I feel my legs are strong enough to handle 405 but I believe my core is holding me back…in fact I know it is. Also, at what point strengthwise should your core be strong enough to handle that much weight? A little info…5’9,180lbs,ecto type frame,pb squat 375(psyched),350ish(not psyched),good morning(225x1 psyched)deadlift 350,snatch grip deadlift 245x5x2r,front squat pb300(psyched) . I hope this is useful info and any help would be much appreciated. Thanks. Great forum!!

Work on your good mornings and weighted abs. The ammount of weight varies. You know all the exercises now you just gotta work em and work em hard. Find which exercise is your worst and work it till it is one of your better ones. Then rotate to a new movement. This will all vary on the individual. For me, as my good mornings go my squats follow.

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clc great to see you posting and do not hesitate to get involved more.during squats i concentrate on the core area alot because this can ensure greater stability.i focus on contracting the abs to full effect and this gives me a solid feeling which in turn aids a rock solid base,just like the foundation of a house.

you maybe slightly shakey with 400 due to the fact its a new load which you are not porperly accustomed confidence grows with such weight you will lift better.believe it or not but pilates is great for strenghtening the core with body weight alone.

don’t forget to keep the abs tight during squatting!

I do all those exercises but I don’t seem to be getting any transfer over to the squat. I’ll get stronger in the core exercises but it doesn’t seems to help in my stability. As for tightening up my abs with 405 on my shoulders… I try and the weight overcomes my core strength. With 315-330 it’s no problem keeping the abs tight, but gettig around that 400lb mark is another beast. What I might do tonight is go to the gym and do partials with like 405 or more and just focus on my abs so they get used to the heavy weights. For all you guys that can squat 405 or more what numbers do you have on your assistance and core exercises? Another thing that I did not mention is that I am swayback…lumbar lordosis and an anterior pelvic tilt. Could this have anything to do with my core being so weak when I get to double bodyweight squats? Thanks

“where i train, i train alone…where I walk, I walk alone”

Yes I think the Lordosis would put the abs/core on a “pre-stretch”. Muscles are weaker in the stretch position as they are lengthened (not enough crossbrdge formation). If you spend time working on your lordosis (I think stronger hams/glutes/abs) then any correction should help your squatting. Pilates is a good Idea too.

I squat~450 and goodmorning 315… Decline abs w/45lb plate for reps.

I also have lumbar lordosis and long leg to torso lenght ratio (partly becuase of the lordosis) and thus I have never been a great squatter.
Good follow up post by 101, i have allways wondered why my squat progression over the years has sucked. In any other exercise I have progressed rapidly. For example, if i started doing stiff leg deadlifts again i would be S.L.D "ing more than I can squat within 6 weaks!
I have noticed that when I improve my ab strength my squats go up.
However, sometimes i think, to hell with squats cuase I’m just not that good at them. I improve better in the full squat than the parallel squat becuase there is less back arch /lordosis type in a full squat than my paralell squat. I’m only doing squats becuase their a “great” exercise, but they don’t suit me personally.
As a side note; I read a magazine artical a few years back about Marion Jones doing a gym routine that comprised of powercleans and front squats with no back squats. Maybe she did back squats on other days, maybe not. I’ve got to find a resollution to this; I’ll stick at the classic squating a little longer with my new assistant excercises and if back squats don’t go up big soon, then I’m done with them.

try getting a weights belt, leaving it one buckle loose and work on filling your stomach with air (expanding your stomach against the belt).

The wider your torso the more supported you will be when you squat and over time this will help your squat technique and the weight you can lift.

Give it a go, use the belt as a feedback mechanism to ensure your filling your stomach with air and not your chest when you take a deep breath.

I might try the weight belt thing. I feel your pain Goose, my lordosis is pretty severe…so bad I can slide my entire forearm behind my lowerback in the classic stand against the wall postural test. 101, I think you are absolutely right with the prestretch thing, as certain ab exercises are somewhat uncomfortable such as hanging leg and knee raises, and crunches which i don’t do. can’t seem to press lowerback into the floor when performing floor crunches and my hips seemed to be set back further when doing any type of leg raise. My problem is really I don’t think 405 is big weight, maybe to the average gym rat it is. I refuse to give up so easily and will squat 405. I’m at the point where I need some help. Those are some great numbers 101. Thanks again everyone. Everyone suggestions are welcome.

I also have pronounced lordosis and my squats suck as well. I have found I can lift as much in oly squats as in PL ones. I keep trying front squats but they require great flexibility.

I found that by using wrist straps (u know, the ones bodybuilders sometimes use, or a strongman doing a deadlift before working on grip strength)… Well, if u loop the straps over the bar, and hold other end of straps 5 to 7 inches ABOVE the bar, I’ve found this to be the only way I can do front squats without a problem, and even go deep in
them. Front squats are also a very good posture exercise, when ever I’ve done them I really feel and sense the link between torso stability and leg strength.

Oh yeah, anybody tried “Zercher squats”. These are for torso strength.
You hold the bar, cradle it in your fore-arms- (light weight) and just squat up and down. Zercher Squats have been recomended by some top powerlifting clubs/literature for those who need xtra torso strength.

Try the front squat/snatch grip dead combo.

It is AWESOME :smiley:


clc315 I’m the opposite of you. I can deadlift 385, wide-stance GM 225, but can only squat 285. My weakness lies in my legs, ankles and technique, knees buckle, ankles unstable, fall forwards. I think my torso strength is decent, I do all variations of GM’s(especially wide-stance, rep range <6)and side bends(go as heavy as possible, medium/reps 6-8) for torso strength. I will occasionally do other stuff but these are staples in my programs. I use atleast 100lb db’s for my side bends, I only weigh 150lbs so thats heavy for me. Don’t be concerned with the variety of lifts you do and just stick to the basics, just focus on 2-3, rotate exercises like 101pro said and you’ll see results. Hope this helps…remember, hit the obliques HARD, they help you get out of the hole, the faster you get out of the hole the more weight you’ll lift.

Front squat/snatch grip combo is my favorite. It works you thoroughly.I’ll usually do 5x6x3r with a fairly light weight in the front squat and then do 6x2r in the snatch grip deadlift with around 240lb and then finish up with goodmornings or natural ghr’s. Tough stuff to say the least. had a female personal trainer and come and ask me some questions about the snatch grip deadlift with led to all kinds of strength stuff…she’s pretty well developed but seem to be torn between “form” over “function”. If i talk to her enough we might have a convert. thanks again. I’ll start incorporating side bends also

The Zercher Lifts may help. That’s a good reccomendation from goose. Also work on stretching the Hip flexors and quads. This may be of some help. They pull the pelvis forward into the lordotic (is that a word) position.

I did some partials with 405 and 455 last night and say i have a new respect for the guys that can C&J and Snatch that much weight. The partials gave my core a great welcome. Must bump up and intensify my core training. Thanks for all the great info.

Lordotic is a word. Go to the top of the class!! Nice use.

it is interesting what has been mentioned on this thread. I am currently having problems getting squat up, i gain strength on it fast, but now i think im peaking abit. But i have’nt trained much for my core, so i think that might be a missing link, i know my core is weak cause my lower back caves in most of the time and i for most of the lifts get up with a forward lean like im doing a goodmorning. I have lordosis as well anterior pelvic tilt, and would like to know what ab excercises benefit well, i do 3x40 crunches on medballs, sprinter situp variations, and saxon side bends with 15-20lbs dumbells, what other ab excercises that i do?

…oh yeah and also V-ups.

when you can do an 30sec ISO hold situp with a 120lbs dumbell on your chest, just above parallel, on a lat machine then your core is fairly strong…try it some time…it hurts so good :slight_smile:

Stuart McGill has the big three that he reccomends. These are the basics, there are progressions off of them

  1. Crunches- 1 knee bent, 1 leg straight toe dorsiflexed. Pull the shoulderblades off the ground only. Keep the abs tight/braced during the repetitions

  2. Side Planks. On elbows and feet you can do reps, like a side bridge, or hold for time, or any iso-dynamic combination

  3. Floor Bridge- On back, knees bent at 90 degrees, feet on ground. squeeze glutes and raise hips off floor. the key here is to use the glutes more than the hamstrings. so you really need to focus on the squeeze and let that drive the hips upward. You can do reps, isometrics, iso-dynamic, etc…