Bench Pressing and reviewing my squat training

Back on July 15, 2011, I wrote a training log entry called, "an old dog might be learning a new trick."  In that post, I wrote about how I had discovered the Rippetoe video on "fixing hip drive" and thought that this pattern was something I should incorporate.  Within that training log entry I wrote:

"My quads are sore. For some reason I had thought that cue would cause more hip extension recruitment--Rippetoe calls it 'fixing hip drive'--but when I think about it again, I realize that the cue, for me, is all about knee extension--the hip extension acts in coordination with the knee extension to keep from dumping the weight over one's head."

After a year of training that squat pattern, my competition results have been less than impressive. While my training has suggested there has been some improvement, my competitive results have shown no improvement.  In hindsight, I learned a new trick but maybe not the right trick.  I don't think the time spent has been a waste as there is always benefit to stressing the body to regular doses of heavy squats but I definitely still think there is something more to learn and optimize.  

I don't know if everyone needs to be trained to actively and forcefully thrust their hips forwards in a squat but that action has never been a part of my squat motion.  The Rippetoe hip drive cue, while effective in training parts of my squat pattern, definitely didn't result in any development of the hip thrust pattern.   I think it's a perfectly fine cue if one is already predisposed to actively thrust the hips forwards out of the hole.  

I'm going to be very curious to see how integration of this motion into my squat pattern affects my competition lifts.  If it works, I should notice a change in my squat sticking point.  Right now it's a point just a few inches out of the hole.  Assuming the hip thrust works the way it should, I should be able to generate more speed in that range and my sticking point should change by either going lower or higher than it currently is.  Hopefully a change in sticking points will also mean I've set a new PR in the squat.

As for today's training, it was bench press day and I was looking forward to a session of bench pressing without any back pain.  It's almost two months to the day since the beginning of my recent back issues and now that they appear to have resolved themselves, I want to start pushing towards my goal of a 150 kg bench press in competition.

Without the distraction of pain in my back and left glute, I was able to increase my total workload over last week's session.  However, in the "it's always something" category, my right elbow flexors (brachialis probably) were too sore to allow any heavy pulling or dumbbell presses.  So today was only bench presses, like a bro, yo!

Bench Press:  135x10, 135x5, 185x5, 225x5, 245x5, 265x4, 265x3, 245x6, 245x6, 225x6, 225x5

Assuming nothing flares up tomorrow, I'll be able to consider myself healed.

Also walked 18 holes with Vivian today as we played the Oakville Executive Course.  A nice par 63 layout without too many challenges, it was a great walk on a great weather day.  


  1. Hi Craig, I have never liked the concept of the hip drive.

    A tight lower back, strong abs and chest up in the hole, that's always been my cues. If I miss a heavy squat at a meet, it's because I've messed up one of those in my technique. Then I end up forward on my feet and/or my upper body leaning forward too much.

    1. Thanks Tom! One of these years I'll get it right! Working this new pattern in and trying to eliminate the 'hip drive' pattern has definitely resulted in my squat form becoming much more "chest up in the hole". Now I've just got to get better at it so that I can keep my chest up through the push.

    2. also, makes me regret not squatting with you and your team when I had the chance!

  2. Hello Craig! It's been a couple of weeks. Really enjoyed getting caught up on your posts. Very interested in your hip conversations and absolutely agree. Ha! Loved the "bench like a bro, yo!" comment. Thanks for the smile.


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