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PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2012 9:34 am 
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So I'm in my 9th cycle of 5/3/1, and I'm basically baffled by the difference in progress on deadlift versus squat.

Basically my deadlift progresses seemingly no matter what i do while my squat remains stalled seemingly no matter what i do. Some of this I think is because, as my trainer says, my build favors deadlift. But still, 9 cycles of no progress on squat? Really?

Crazy thing is that now that 9 cycles have gone by, I've done plenty of different accessories, including volume squats, pause squats, split squats, and even step-ups and lunges during one cycle. None of this seems to have done much for squats, though as I say, it's all doing great for deads.

The only exception I saw was on 5+ and 3+ days of the last cycle, when I had done some really challenging db squats. My squat numbers surged for two weeks and then fell back. Based on this I built myself a trap bar, which will be easier to deal with than db's.

i'm not sure I'm even asking what to do, I just don't understand it. My I-just-made-this-up theory is that my quads are weak. Just complaining I guess :smile:

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2012 10:35 am 
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by no progress you mean, same #'s on the last set with same weights each time?
or at least never surpassing previous highs.

If you hadn't' said the DB Squats were so beneficial, I would have suggested strongly, to do Good Mornings, and other things to work on your lower back. But maybe that's not the issue. I still suggest that.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2012 10:54 am 
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Where does your Squat form break? There usually is a sticking point somewhere in the pattern. There might also be the solution.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2012 11:10 am 
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Dub wrote:
Where does your Squat form break? There usually is a sticking point somewhere in the pattern. There might also be the solution.


I get two issues, both occur a few inches above parallel. Either I'll get wobbly or I'll begin to pitch forward. If either of those happens I stop the set after that rep.

@Oscar, a kind of up-and-down, good weeks, bad weeks, but the average doesn't move.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2012 7:46 pm 
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switch out squats for front squats for a while. Might help.

Also, it may just be the case you are built for deadlifting and not for squatting. Some lifts'll always be better than others.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2012 7:31 am 
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A quick check on your Est 1RM over the last 6 weeks for squats show this (using the exrx calculator) -

237 - 259 - 259 - 267 - 262 - 254

I wouldn't consider that no progress. Didn't you say you had a week of illness recently? That might explain the duff week this week. Interestingly i found this guys blog, linked from Wendler's website, it's a record of his year using 5/3/1, with a Smolov squat cycle or two thrown in -

http://531year.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/final-post.html

He found that for him he made the most progress when he was hitting 10, 8, and 6 reps on his 5/3/1 days. It might me an idea just to reset your max a little and get some higher reps in for a while.

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2012 7:53 am 
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Dub wrote:
Where does your Squat form break? There usually is a sticking point somewhere in the pattern. There might also be the solution.


As Dub noted, the sticking point is a good place to start.

Your story is much like mine.

Born To Deadlift

As you trainer said, it appears you are born to deadlift, not to squat. That is my case, as well.

In all the years that I've squatted, it still feel like a new exercise everytime I do it. However, anyone can improve in any lift if they work at it.

Meanwhile, I take to the deadlift like a duck to water.


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I get two issues, both occur a few inches above parallel. Either I'll get wobbly or I'll begin to pitch forward. If either of those happens I stop the set after that rep.


Stopping The Set

That is exactly what you need to do. Once you technique falls apart, stop the set. Continuing to peform the exercise with poor technique reinforce bad technique.

As you noted in the past, you turn the the squat into a "Squat-Morning"...great term.

Sticking Point = Running Out Of Gas

What you need to remember is that sticking point is like a car running out of gas. The car doesn't stop exactly at the point where it runs out of gas. The car rolls further down the road.

It the same thing with strength sticking points.

A Few Inches Above Parellal

The reason it is sticking at this point is that you're not generating enough power out of the hole.

Solution

1) Increase your strength out of the hole.

Perform exercises from the parallel position begin the movement from a dead stop. Drop down into a parallel postion and hold it or don't start the movement for 4 seconds.

Pausing for 4 second kills the stretch reflex. That mean the movement is a pure Limit Strength movement.

Exercises

Pause Squats-Drop into a parallel squat. Hold for 4 seconds and then push the weight back up. This will build strength out of the hole. You can't use as much weight nor do too may reps. Reps are 1-5 per set.

Trap Bar Squats-Drive with the legs. Maintain an upright position with the back. Pause the bar on the floor for 4 seconds between reps.

Box Pause Trap Bar Squats-The same principle applies to this as the Pause Squat. Stand on a box. Lower the weight just short of the floor, then stop. Do not let the bar touch the floor. Hold it for 4 seconds and then perform the concentric part of the movement.

Step Ups Squats-Step up on a box without initiating any movement by rocking forward. That means start the movement from a dead stop.

Leg Press--Same thing. Lower the weight down to approximately a parallel postion. Hold for 4 secondes and then push back up.

Belt Squats-This is one of the best exercise there is for increasing leg strength. It takes the lower back out of the equation and allow to really blast the legs. Same principle, pause between repetitions.

You can use other movements such as these as long as you apply the same principle of starting each movement from a dead stop.

Isometric Squats-Place the bar in a power rack so that you are in a parallel postion. Then perform an isometric squat. This will build strength from that postion.

2) Increase Your Power and/or Speed Out Of The Hole

Let's use the car analogy again. Think of driving your car though a mud hole. To get through the mud hole you hit the gas, increase you speed to that momentum will help you make it to the other side.

That is exactly what you want to do with you squat or any other lift. Hit your sticking point with enough speed to that you slide through it.

Exercises

You need to perform some plyometric squats. That means you need to perform squats in which you have a recoil our bounce out of the hole.

Vertical Jumps-Drop down to parallel, rebound quickly from the parallel postion and then jump up on the box.

Jump Squats-Research shows load of 10-40% of your 1RM (1 Repetition Max) with approximately 30% to be the best. Thus, if your best max squat is 300 lbs you would use a loads of between 30 -120 lbs.

Drop down into a parallel postion and then jump up in the air with the weight.

Power Squats-Research shows that power is best developed with loads of approximately 46-62% of your 1RM. That means load of 138 lbs to 186 lbs.

The objective need to be the same with the Power Squat as with the Jump Squat, Compensatory Acceleration. That means you want to push as hard and fast as you can with each repetition.

You want to jump or try and jump with the power loads. However, research shows that you with these load at about half way up, you beging to put on the brakes and slow down.

To combat the slow down you want to use...

Bands and/or Chains

Adding bands and chains provides a braking effect. It allows you to continue to drive up with more force and power. It teaches you to push all the way though the movement.

Trap Bar Power Squats-You can make the trap bar squat a power movement by applying this principle.

Pitching Forward

Pritching forward is a survival mechanism. Once you leg drive stops, your survival mechanism automatically find a way to maintain your momentum. That usually occurs by pitching forward.

That mean by strengthening your drive out of the hole, you eliminate or minimize "Pitching forward."

What Pitching Foward Tell You

It also tells you that you need to strengthen you core. Doing so allows you continue to maintain an upright position rather than pitching forward.

When you pitch forward, you increase the force/load due to the fact that you are drifting further from you Center of Gravity.

Leakage

Dr Stuare McGill (the back guy) basically noted that you are able to produce more force by making your core a ridig hard piece of steel.

McGill termed it as "Leakage" (something like that). Lifters often refer to it as "Staying Tight".

"Staying Tight" in your trunk allows you to maintain more force in a movement.

Ab Strength

Being a good deadlifter is a statement that you have a strong back.

That means by increasing your ab strength, this will minimize or eliminate your pitching forward.

Ab Exercises

Bret Contreras' "Inside The Muscle" provide some great ab exercises. http://www.t-nation.com/testosterone-magazine-627

Kenny Croxdale

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2012 10:53 am 
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Phil, I like that link, and Kenny, great stuff as always.

Ken, just to play devil's advocate, it might be that deadlift is a less technical lift and progress on a weekly schedule works better. Where squat is more technical, a higher frequency may be better. I've been squatting every workout this year and I think my squat is benefiting as a result. I hit a PR this week and that's the first time that's happened in a long time. Adding a day or two of speed work and/or rep work might help.

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2012 12:04 pm 
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Too many good replies to hit them all, but a few things stand out. The recommendation for more volume and variations on squat is a common theme in the replies above. I might say that I'll be doing "all of the above" in terms of the advice given, but not all on the same day :smile:

Also, my trainer today told me, "You have the lower back of a 420# deadlifter, and the legs of a 320# deadlifter." Improving both lifts he says is going to be all about leg drive. Lots of squat variations, including sumo deads as these also develop leg drive. He also advocates more volume and variation (today we did low box squats).

We are also changing my program, I won't be doing deadlifts on Saturday with the trainer anymore. He wants me off 5/3/1 for deads, he says build to heavy singles, and he says my form is fine and I don't need anybody watching. Starting next week I'll be doing squats on Saturdays with the trainer, he wants to see whats up with them and what can be done.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 10:00 am 
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I would just like to chime in and say that I experience this as well. My squats progress insanely slowly, while I'll be pulling 190kg in the deadlift for reps soon. What Mr. Croxdale said is really the one thing I've heard that describes it the best for me: "It feels like a new exercise every time I do it."

I can live with having a bad squat, but mine is really terrible. I'm only on my 2nd 5/3/1 cycle, however.

At any rate, good luck!


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 4:50 pm 
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Ken--here's my take on this. Just my rambling, so take it with the proverbial grain of sodium chloride.

At any moment in your life (more importantly, when you start lifting), for a given exercise there is a limit, a number that even if your stabilizers were strong in proportion to the prime movers, and your motor skills were up to snuff would be the most weight that you could move for that exercise. But you don't know what that is. If we had a magic strength tricorder that your trainer could wave over you and find out, we might approach training a little differently, but we don't so we have to basically guess where to start. Well, do some trial and error. Obviously, we pick a starting point that is lower than that unknown limit. We have two goals, really--one is to get out lifting closer to the limit, and the other is to increase that limit. The first is easier than the second, and has been called such things as newbie gains. So for any two (or three or more) lifts, the difference between the true but unknown limit, and your guestimated starting point is different. For one lift you have a long way to go before you approach it, for another you start out much closer, so you hit a wall sooner.

As you increase your loads for each lift you at some point get into a range that has more training value, that starts to change what the limit is. Generally we continue to increase our loading faster than the limit increases, so eventually our lifting reaches this limit. From that point on, the only thing that will increase is the actual strength limit, or the limit strength, or whatever. With the two lifts that you are comparing, it will appear that you are no longer making progress on one lift when you reach the limit, but on another you will still be moving along--just because you aren't to the limit yet.

Sure, your anthropometrics affect what the limit is for every lift. That will determine that one will eventually go higher than another.

When a lift is seeming to "stall" it may well be that you are now just in a different phase of training that lift. Don't be discouraged. Just realize that the gains going forward on any lift will slow when you are training at or near your limit strength. They will slow on the other lifts eventually, too, so you will no longer be baffled by the difference!

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 6:53 pm 
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Doc, makes sense as an attempt to explain a plateau. Was the plateau created or was it always there? Who knows.

A combination of more of the same and significant changes will move the plateau.

and while I'm getting all mystical, the 1RM that can be lifted is not the true 1RM.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2012 2:14 am 
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The "plateau" is where you find it. It is there, but it is creeping up as you approach it. When you catch up, you are "stuck", at least in comparison with how you were progressing previously.

Yeah, as you train, it moves.

The last sentence I don't understand at all.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2012 9:19 am 
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Jungledoc wrote:
The last sentence I don't understand at all.


"The 1RM that can be lifted is not the true 1RM". An extreme tangent, nothing to do with the thread, derived from "The Tao that can be spoken of is not the true Tao." A weigh lifting koan.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 11:20 pm 
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A good way for me to break out of a squat stall is to basically hold the bar just like a normal squat start position and then breathe in strongly and out strongly 10 times then go down and up then 10 times again. This helped me break a 2 month stall I had on squat when I first started. After that, every last set of squat I do now is always the 10 breathe thing no matter how many reps I'm doing even if its just one. You're all probably going to think I'm crazy lol


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