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Structural Balance and ATG Squats for Results

Ben Patrick, [24/09/2022 00:53]

@Harlie_Dalzell seems to be a lot of glutes and VMOs from the bottom position. But what keeps me from worrying about it is Structural Balance.

Doesn't really matter. We have ATG Squat, ATG Split Squat, and Poliquin/Petersen Step Up ratios.

Those alone give us a tremendous framework for results compared to worrying about opinions of what works what. I believe 125% but Ben Clarfield can confirm. 150% is probably more like where most people are at. Poliquin believed in a very strong and deep squat.

When I trained with him in person he repeatedly yelled "DEEPER". I thought I had a deep squat until he was coaching me.

The ATG Split Squat takes the back of it and I believe ensures your quads are strong enough

Few people can hold great form with 41% for 8 REPS with 1rm Back Squat, which was Poliquin's full range of motion split squat number. Poliquin Step Up was 8 reps with 46%. If you have both of those, I don't believe your quads will be a limiting point on your Deadlift. You can take the quads pretty far out of a deep squat depending on how you do it. But to reach the form targets of an ATG Split Squat, there's no way around it.

Yep, so if you did the math of your ATG Split Squat relative to your Deadlift, you would have a very workable number there. All positions work in their own ways. All are great strength exercises. Structural Balance simply gives ratios so you don't get too far away from one quality to another.

Yep, heels elevated and slow eccentric is definitely hard to avoid quad strength increase!

Front Squat 85% of Back Squat. That one I've coached for almost a decade now. Less than 85% is a major problem in my opinion. So you can use front squats with slight heel elevation and slow eccentric as a supplement to your squats and deadlifts. You don't have to only do one kind of squat etc. in a program. But it all goes to what your goals are, and then to the Structural Balance numbers and bringing up your weakest link while training sensibly toward your goals.

@Harlie_Dalzell I have two tips for you:

1. Ben Clarfield is going to have a lot of gems to drive up squat. In a different life I'd be pursuing squat even harder. For me, it's kind of like this:

My life sucked ass. Reverse sled, reverse step ups, ATG split squats, changed my freaking life and fixed so many issues and I can get just about anyone into them in one session.

Meanwhile, I DO work hard to make sure my Structural Balance numbers line up.

But the point is I don't have any personal goals on #s other than being balanced.

2. I DID get some people f***ing strong on deep squats...

This was my first training partner after college when we really go to go all-out together

This is 484, No knee sleeves no belt, crazy depth. Here's exactly what he did...

We used ATG Split Squat + all the posterior chain shit to support the squats and what drove his squat up was adding chains.

Here is work from his program BEFORE this PR. It was all chains squats...

That's 440 pounds NOT including the chains, and those were some heavy f***ing chains.

The chains allows you to improve your strength getting through the sticking point, without sacrificing depth

@Harlie_Dalzell here was our mindset back then....

1. Get amazing at ATG Split Squats and ALL Posterior Chain ranges

2. Get your squat WITH chains over what you can squat now without chains!

That's how we made massive Squat PRs but with absolutely freaky athleticism and joint transformations at the same time.

#2 may need to become a bigger theme in ATG, because that's what worked best. But chains are harder to come by. Perhaps I'll have to start making and selling chains.

On my PERSONAL side of what was going on then, I fell in love with NOT squatting because the squats took so much energy, and I found that I got faster and jumped higher off the Poliquin & Petersen Step Ups and Posterior Chain work, and while they were exhausted from heavier lifts, I had more energy for hip flexors, tibialis, etc. So the reality is I think it takes some patience to work on all of it and I'm still torn with how hard I should work the chain squats, both in myself and in marketing.

That's the reality. I don't have any hidden motives. On social media I try to put out the truest data to what has helped me.

It would be easier for me if someone had gone harder on the chain squats the way I did with the accessory work. @KendallAB that's the beauty of the chains. They approximate the strength curve. So in one motion you get perhaps the greatest total strength development.

I would still say that for myself personally, I'm probably passionate in this order:

1. Reverse sled

2. Reverse step up

3. ATG split squat


5. Triple flexion, posterior chain

Anyways to re-cap this, while my friend went on from the ATG Split Squat & Posterior Chain phase to a Chain Squats phase to then PR at 484 pounds, I stayed on the single-leg stuff because my knees were still fucked compared to now...

My right leg basically couldn't do bodyweight on reverse step ups. I had some gnarly imbalances that my friends didn't have that I was training with.

(Fernando and his brother and one other guy who wound up hitting 500 ASS TO GRASS at like 200 pounds, craziest VMOs I've ever seen to this day)

So we each have our own respective journeys. ATG is an overall system. But I'm just one example and those guys had to have more mass for their sports hence the chains squats we became really passionate about, and it gave a really tangible goal.

If you look back at his 440 with chains, you can see that some of the chain is still there even at the bottom. Meaning even at the bottom it's more than 440. And when he started he couldn't do 400. So he put in work to an extent that we KNEW he had changed completely and not surprisingly his speed and jumping had transformed. However, his SINGLE-leg jumping and TOP-end speed didn't change as much compared to the naturals as his standing vertical and his start did.

So things like triple flexion are what separate some of those qualities. And I was busy for years working on that stuff.

Life is still in us and there's a lot of room ahead. I believe working on Structural Balance and adding in things like tibialis and hip flexors etc etc into the mix is the way FORWARD for ATG. Not removing squats or incline bench presses, etc., but embracing the entire body of work. And let me tell you if you get your CHAINS squat more than your current squat is now... Well that was our in-person recipe.

Yep even Deadlift should go into the Calculator. The more items we have on the calculator the better.

This is why I'm calling my personal program "Limitless Athleticism" because it's not just a few lifts. We have so many areas to increase. Anyone's potential is much higher than traditional training would suspect. And anyone can train the rest of their lift with legit goals. There's no age that your Structural Balance stops giving you training goals to be proud of. You vs You.

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