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Mark Rippetoe's take on Ass to Grass (ATG / A2G) Squatting

Training discussion on Mark Rippetoe's take on Ass to Grass (ATG / A2G) Squatting, within the Bodybuilding Forum; my friend Dave76 who trains with Mark posted this on a forum which mark visits. here is the conversation: Originally ...


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Old 08-02-2007, 03:19 AM   #1
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Default Mark Rippetoe's take on Ass to Grass (ATG / A2G) Squatting

my friend Dave76 who trains with Mark posted this on a forum which mark visits. here is the conversation:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave76
Mark,
Ass to grass squatting seems to be all the rage these days. There are many people who believe that you teach ATG squatting. Could you comment, please?

David...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Rippetoe
Dave:

Thanks for bringing this up. Squat depth is critically important, but so is correct form. ATG-level depth most usually requires that the lumbar muscles relax the lordosis and that the hamstrings relax before extreme depth can be reached. It doesn't sound like a good idea to me that anything be relaxed in a deep squat, since doing this kills your good controlled rebound out of the bottom and risks your intervertebral discs. Those rare individuals that can obtain ass-to-ankles depth without relaxing anything might be able to get away with it, but as a general rule you should squat as deep as you can with a hard-arched lower back and tight hamstings and adductors. This depth will be below parallel, but it will not usually be "ATG".

Rip
this is just something for y'all to chew on...

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Old 08-02-2007, 08:27 AM   #2
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I have noticed for myself going a2g that my hams do relax a little and then coming back up when they begin to gain tension again, it feels almost like i could pull them. I go below parrallel but never quite a2g.

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Old 08-02-2007, 10:04 AM   #3
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^^^^Yeah.

The thing he is talking about that is may be dangerous and may also severely limit your potential is that the arch in the lower back relaxes when the erectors and the hams relax. It's sometimes know as a "butt-wink". Basically you'll find your butt pulling under towards your knees as the lower back rounds when you reach below a certain depth.

It would be hard for someone to prove it's going to damage you or whatever but like he said it doesn't sound like a good idea. Plus it's pretty clear that the hip muscles are at a severe disadvantage at that position and will not be able to engage properly. That right there could set you up for injury as well as giving you a weak squat comparitively.

One the other hand, with an average slightly wider than shoulder width stance, deeper means the glutes and hams can engage more and part of this is the sacrum nutation where the sacrum rotates and facilitates gluteal firing. Sometimes people argue that the this is the butt-wink and is thus a good thing, but I think it's two different thing and it's pretty darn apparent that for some people it involves excessive rounding of the lower back and thus excessive pulling on the vetebra and ligaments.

So he's saying go as deep as you can go but still maintain the "lordorsis" or lumbar arch. I do think that people can achieve greater depth with control if they have patience and work at it but probably most people who squat ATG do what Rip is talking about.

For me ATG means that my calves and thighs meet but if go so deep as to have my butt reach my ankles then I can't maintain the lumbar arch. I don't go that deep although when I first started squatting all the way down I did and my lower back problems really acted up. Once I stopped that my numbers wen't up and squatting didn't bother my back.

Hamstring and general lower body flexibility, not to mention strenght and control, is going to be the major issue but I reject to idea that everybody will be able to go ass to ankles or even thighs to calves if they just stretch enough. Structure is going to play a part and end the end as low as you can go is as low as you can go. But at first most everybody should be able to go lower with practice. One good technique is simply sitting in your utmost bottom position while maintaining lordorsis and control. This will both strectch and strengthen the muscles involved.

I think it's important and I'm glad Anuj posted that. I don't thing anyone needs to panic about it but definitely something to be aware of.

Last edited by EricT; 08-02-2007 at 12:36 PM..

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If you act sanctimonious I will just list out your logical fallacies until you get pissed off and spew blasphemous remarks.
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Old 08-02-2007, 11:35 AM   #4
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I think correct squatting is one of the most overlooked things in the rack. I was horrified to see some of my friends actually lift after talking about it "back during the high school football days" and what not. Oh their poor knees....... and i think when alot of people go down that far, they will find themselves leaning forward to compensate. Anyways i think the point is clear. a2g is not for everyone but like eric said with some stretching and form practicing everyone should be going well below parrallel.
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Old 08-02-2007, 11:35 AM   #5
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thanks E no, no need to panic whatsoever....i know im on the right track ;) but yes, this should be kept in mind.
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Old 08-02-2007, 12:48 PM   #6
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Makes sense, good post anuj.
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Old 08-05-2007, 11:12 PM   #7
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thanks matt
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Old 08-06-2007, 04:21 AM   #8
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Quote:
This depth will be below parallel, but it will not usually be "ATG".
Better late than never lol. I've only just found my groove so to speak a few months ago. Previously, I've always literally sat on my calves which took all the tension out of my muscles.. Exactly like what Mark described. Now, I still prefer keeping a close stance (shoulder width) and break probably about 2" below parallel vs. going all the way down. Tension stays in my muscles from beginning to end, and I feel a lot more comfortable doing it. I think the biggest plus to doing it this way is that it really slows down the negative on those puppies, thus creating longer tension. A2G for me in the past with anything from 405 + featured me free falling down to my calves and back up.

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