Front Squats by Dan Green
As long as I can remember, the squat has always been my favorite lift. But it took me a long time to get good at it. My lifting from the time I was a freshman in high school until 2011 was based around football and I was at the will of football strength coaches. But I can remember as a freshman in high school I was 6’1” 145 lbs. and had the weakest squat on my high school football team. Which was a small 3A mountain school in Colorado. Fast forward to April, 2012 and I set the IPF World Record Raw Squat with 881 lbs. wearing just a belt and knee sleeves weighing 350 lbs.
Besides doing tremendous high volume squatting with higher than normal intensity, the Good Morning has been the bread and butter assistance exercise to brining my squat up to where it is now. For an assistance exercise to carryover to your main lift; you must understand it’s purpose and WHY you are doing it. This is why you cannot follow a program blindly and what works for Lifter A may not work for Lifter B. Because of my squat style, I choose to do Low-Bar Good Mornings. I am a low-bar squatter and I have a big intentional lean so I emulate that with my assistance lifts. A close stance, upright squatter would benefit more from front squats and higher bar good mornings.
When I began powerlifting full time after I was done playing football; my squat days were basic and consisted of this: Squats, Good Mornings, Box Jumps, Abs. Good Mornings were the only direct squat assistance I would do and the results speak for themselves. I would do GM’s at the same rep/set/intensity scheme that I would perform my squat. When I perform GM’s, I walk the bar out and set-up identical to how I would squat. Then I break at the hips just as I would for a squat, but instead of lowering my hips down, I continue to push them straight back. I lean as much as possible until I feel that if I leaned any further forward I would lose it; then I come back up. Sounds simple enough right? I do not concern myself with keeping my legs straight – I push my hips back and lean forward as much as I am comfortable with then drive the hips forward and come up. I do not have good video of me performing a GM but below is an exercise I made up called “Good Weeks” which I began doing as rehab for my torn hip labrum when I could not squat. They are very similar to my GM’s but where I would usually come up from the GM, I drop my hips to a box, then shoot my hips up intentionally, returning to the GM form. Here is 585 X 5 against green bands.
As a powerlifter, when picking assistance exercises focus should be on MOVEMENTS and WEAK POINTS, not MUSCLES. So if a lifter misses a squat in the hole, the answer isn’t to try to bring up the glutes and hamstrings – it is to focus on where he missed and why. In this case pause squats or box squats (not WSBB style – just to break the rebound) would be the answer. I, like 80% of raw lifters miss a squat a little less than halfway up after the rebound from the hole slows. As a result I choose to do GM’s the way I do because I reverse the weight about where I miss a squat. But because of the gap in relation to my hips/bar, I am in a compromised position making the lift harder. I hope you can take away bits and pieces of this article and incorporate GM’s into your arsenal to take your squat to the next level.
Have Questions About This Article? Ask Them In The Comments Section BelowBlaine Sumner is a drug-free powerlifter who competes in the IPF and USAPL both raw and single ply. He holds the IPF Raw World Record for Squat (881 no wraps) and Total (2,056) in addition to winning the 2012 IPF Raw World Championship. Sumner played Division II football at the Colorado School of Mines where he started at nose tackle for 4 years in addition to scoring 8 touchdowns as a short yardage fullback. He also set NFL testing records for 225 bench reps (52) and Kirwan Explosive Index (95). In addition to having a 33” Vertical Jump and 50” box jump at 350 lbs., Sumner was a 4 sport athlete in high school (Football, Wrestling, Lacrosse, Track). He is originally from Colorado and now lives in Oklahoma City where he trains at HATE Barbell and works as a Petroleum Engineer. Facebook, YouTube