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Squat issues as weight goes up

Posted: Wed Sep 22, 2010 8:56 am
by RobertB
Hello again,

Monday just gone I truly failed my new squat PR (well, not a PR if it failed! but bear with me) - it was a strange feeling to go down and know 100% I wasn't moving another inch up :) bailed and sat on my ass and it occured to me, I'd intentionally gone below parallel - watching the mirror at the side.

So I thought, I bet I've been edging further and further away from below/parallel as the weight has gone up, I watched my squat today and it seems right, without noticing, my way of compensating the additional weight was to loose form!

So question being:
As someone whos noticed themselves not squat low enough, is the advocated approach to A: drop the weight 20% and get it right - or B: keep my current squat weight and "improve" on it by going lower and lower each session.

My initial thought is A, but my general current approach is to eat a lot and not lower weight (if I stall, give it rest, dont just drop the weight) - this is the only thing making me wonder about B. That said, I know how much you guys praise squats and the importance of form.


Posted: Wed Sep 22, 2010 9:02 am
by stuward
I would try A first, at least for a workout or 2. Set up a way that you can measure depth. You can use a bench to touch and go or a band tied to the uprights. When you touch the band, come up.

Posted: Wed Sep 22, 2010 11:08 am
by KPj
I would drop the weight and make depth. It'll be worth it in the long run. Otherwise you'll have to keep doing this everytime you add weight to the bar.

I'm a believer that you should be able to squat deep before you start squatting heavy. Also, if you do it that way you'll always hit that depth where it feels like the ceiling has just came down on you...

I've seen a few people who can squat big weights to the quarter squat position but can hardly take anything from below parallel. I'm sure there's a place for partials. I personally don't like them in squats but would never rule them out to use for a limited time, if I couldn't think of anything else...


Posted: Wed Sep 22, 2010 4:10 pm
by Jungledoc
Also, looking sideways in a mirror isn't a good way to judge it. You have to be able to feel the depth. Just the position, turning to the side, etc., will take you off good form, lose tightness and maybe lose the rep. Either have a reliable friend watch and tell you, or take video of you for you to review yourself.

And I agree that you can't fix depth when you're near your max. Drop the weight and fix the depth.

Posted: Thu Sep 23, 2010 3:38 am
by RobertB
Cheers peeps

As I suspected! guess I thought I might be able to get away with keeping it high, but I'll drop the mini ego and drop the weight :)

Will get someone to keep an eye on me when I ramp it back up.

Posted: Mon Sep 27, 2010 3:17 pm
by Halfbreed
I agree, go for depth first, and make sure you can FEEL where you're at, rather than seeing it in a mirror. I never look in a mirror while squatting, because it distracts my focus, and with 700+ lbs on my back, I need all the focus I can muster. What I typically do is set up my laptop on a bench facing my side at about knee height, and review later. I pay attention to the way my squat feels, and review after every set, rather than getting caught up with trying to watch while I'm squatting. Plus it seems it would be damaging to turn your neck and spine to get a view at the mirror with all that weight on your back trying to get a Personal Best.

If I were you, I would get spotters, keep loading the weight, and force the depth, even if it means hitting forced reps and testing the metal. Get guys you trust, and that alone wil lhelp you gain just from the confidence to try heavier without fear of failing alone and having a resulting injury.

Posted: Mon Sep 27, 2010 6:05 pm
by frogbyte
What, you're recording this on a laptop and still haven't posted vids!

Posted: Mon Sep 27, 2010 10:52 pm
by Jungledoc

As a Deific Wizard of Sagacity, I do hereby command thee to forthwith make available to the population of the ExRx forums a moving picture of yourself performing a 700+ pound squat.

Also, I'd love to know something about how you train.

Posted: Wed Sep 29, 2010 8:37 pm
by Immortal
700 pound squat?? you a pro pwoer lifter or body builder? wow thats sick!! thats like putting 3 people on you or were you just using that as an example??? how much do you weigh???? thats pretty good

Posted: Wed Sep 29, 2010 9:50 pm
by Jungledoc
Look Halfbreed up on the member list, then read some of his old posts. There aren't too many; he's a man of few words and no bragging.

Posted: Mon Oct 04, 2010 3:19 pm
by Halfbreed
I'll have to get some new ones from the new gyms I'm at....I was doing this primarily in no, no bodybuilding or competitive powerlifting of any formal sort.

I don't think I should post any of the ones i had from prison, because I'm not sure how the state of "x" would feel about me doing so. However, I will, here in the next couple of weeks get a shot of my squats with 700 + lbs for you fine folks here at exrx, and try and figure out how to make it available. I don't really like putting my name/face out there due to reasons of disclosing my background and the direction I am now heading in my career and education, but I may need to solicit help from some of the members here on the nuances of technology. I was going to put a picture i have of me doing a squat with 705 on the bar for my avatar, but couldn't even figure out how to make it happen.

jungledoc....I'd love to discuss with you how I train...just shoot some directed questions and I'll answer. You may also be interested to know that there is a gentleman in my class that is currently an MD, and going for his law degree now as well...A doctor AND a lawyer?....overachiever, one might say.

Posted: Mon Oct 04, 2010 3:49 pm
by Halfbreed
oh, and I weigh close to 250 now. I'm on my way back up...going to start cutting it back down once I hit 275. And no, not an example. 735 PB squat. Feel stronger now, but haven't tried it out. Maybe I'll shoot for a new personal best in a couple of weeks, and use that as my vid for you guys.

Posted: Mon Oct 04, 2010 4:14 pm
by Jungledoc
Mostly just wondering how you program your lifts. Do you follow a published program like 5/3/1, or anything? How often do you lift, how often do you squat?

Posted: Mon Oct 04, 2010 5:21 pm
by Halfbreed
Not any kind of a scheduled lift, no...I listen to my body and test the metal. Typically I'll start with sets of 10 @550, then until I hit 675, I push it pretty hard. Once I hit 675, whether I can hit 4, or 1, I hit ones until failure, and if I'm feeling ok, always push until failure. I always lift squats with at least two spotters, and shoot for a forced rep, as long as I feel like I'm not going to buckle.

Depending on what I want to focus on during that period (2-3 months), I'll either focus on squats and do deadlifts directly after my squats, or alternate squats and deadlifts on a bi-weekly basis, so as not to overtrain the muscles and give them time to heal, as I push hard always and it takes a bit of time for recovery.

After squats, I typically either do the deadlifts, then weighted lunges, leg extensions, weighted wall sits, and calve raises, or I'll skip the deads, go straight to weighted lunges, and incorporate a leg curl. Again, in terms of scheduling when I lift, I just listen to my body. I know when I need rest and when I don't, and I've become pretty in-tune with my body, and don't structure my days on any kind of a formal schedule, though I have consulted such schedules while experimenting.

There's a lot more that goes into it, but basically this is the overall theme. I do two things: (1) I listen to my body, and adjust accordingly; and (2) I test the metal and always push hard. There is, however, a point in time where I slow down, take a month or two to just maintain, and let my body fully recover before going back in. In my experience, while I lose soem strength initially, I always blow by my previous strength limitations after this break.