T Nation

At What Point Should I Listen to Pain?

I squat heavy everyday. Sometimes merely almost everyday, but generally everyday. And just yesterday, I officially started lifting a heavier 1RM percentage for my work sets. And also increased the volume. Still only once a day, but more volume. My last workout was 385 pounds for 12 sets of 1 rep. That was my max capacity and I was happy I calculated it correctly. The twelfth set really really felt like a true, final set. It was extremely grindy, and for the first time in this training block, it broke down my form. It was ugly.

And the pain in my knees, which never ever went away ever since the first week of daily squatting began, is still bugging me as I am writing this post. Literally the only time it goes away is whenever I properly get done with my warm up. Squatting an empty bar is incredibly painful, and the pain only goes away after I do a few sets of 135 for some fives.

Yesterday was a bit special. So I was squatting. At about 1/3rd through the workout, there was a sharp pain on my right knee. I felt it before when I was doing cardio from some weeks ago. So when I felt it on that squat workout, I thought of backing out and calling it a day, since it may be a sign I will get hurt if I continue my squat sets. I thought “Let’s do one more and see how it feels”. I felt stupid for risking it, but I did. So I did one more set and then paid attention to how it felt… Pain was gone… So I kept squatting.

And now here I am, many hours after that squat workout, and my knees are hurting.

Should I now do less squatting or I should still be fine with some more? I think I’m starting to feel it in my back as well. For some reason, my tailbone hurts and I don’t even get hit on the tailbone from any blunt object. What the heck.

Is it appropriate to back down on the squatting frequency and volume?


P.S. = What about squatting intensity? Should I reduce it too?

Man, just read back through what you wrote and ask yourself if you think it is sensible to continue as you are.




This gif is getting a lot of use recently. Must be that season.

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If you mean from me? Yep… im in a mood.

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If someone said to squat less would you? Honestly?


I think we know the answer based on previous posts.


What would Napoleon do?


Come on bro! How you feel is a lie! That’s just Phantom Pain in your knees! If your family’s life depended on it, you would squat!


At what point should you listen to pain? I’d say this is a good point.

Can’t post a link to the host. But anyway, I found that video just recently after digging around. What do you all think?

I’m thinking of composing another syllogism for this. I mean, if logic and a legendary figure supports the same point, then the point is gonna have a strong claim to being the truth.

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We would really need a form check video on this.


Casual workout later. I’ll record it.

Good call.

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Do you think squatting everyday is optimal?

I used to think more squat frequency was better. I now do once a week squatting, and have made consistent progress. I haven’t had a squat related injury either.

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I’ve found squatting twice per week is optimal. One heavy day, one light day.

I shouldn’t really mention this but I composed what you call a “syllogism” that argues for the effectiveness of high-frequency squatting and posted it in this forum somewhere two months ago. I’m proud of it. What does that say? It says that I deeply believe in the power of going maniacal on your squats in terms of frequency, intensity, and volume. Top that with Paul Anderson being one of my heroes, top that with being inspired by elite, old-school Bulgarian weightlifters who crushed the Russians, and top that with having an eight-month experience doing an actual, to-the-letter Bulgarian weightlifting program that took my clean and jerk from less than 135 pounds to 205 pounds with zero addition to bodyweight when I was a teenager, and you get a dude who can’t be convinced that any other method is as good as going maniacal on squats.

I just wanna know if this thing that will make me stronger will not kill me. Metaphorically-speaking.

I don’t know much about Paul Anderson, nor was I around watching them elite old-school Bulgarian weightlifters but nevertheless I’d suggest that if your rationale for doing something is that some other person or persons did a thing is that you also think rationally about what they did up to that point, and what other inputs go into that equation.

Presumably, these people all had elite level genetics. So, if you don’t then that is an indicator as to why you might fail where they succeeded in adhering to a specific methodology. With the Bulgarians, I’ve read in the past (paraphrasing)

If you take ten thousand kids and you put them through high-frequency squatting and 9999 of them wash out but the last one can sustain the training and wins the country a gold medal you still have a gold medal. Who cares about the injured 9999 kids?

Perhaps these people were training from a very young age too, so they had time to build exceptional tendon resiliency. Unless you also got your start then, that too might be a reason why you cannot emulate their process.

You can try other people’s process, there is nothing wrong with that, but unless you titrate in that direction (I have no idea if you have done this or just hopped into the deep end of the high-frequency pool) it might backfire — which it seemingly has. If you have gone from a low frequency, say 1x/wk and built towards your current frequency over time and are still having issues that is your clue that with the body that you have, the lifestyle that you have, the nutrition that you have, and all the other inputs that go into the training equation then when your training is modelled in this fashion the output is: “doesn’t work without pain”.

Well, you are going not going to be convinced that it isn’t the most optimal.

I can tell you that the individuals I know that have big squats, don’t get close to that frequency. Most squat once a week, and deadlift once a week (hitting legs twice a week). My point is that what you are doing or what they are doing might not be optimal, or it might be close to it, but progress can be made at much lower frequency.

The Bulgarian weightlifting program was a system that involved of having a lot of lifters going into training and a lot of them falling out due to injury.

And, to add to @mnben87 s sentiment. Even if it is not optimal, it sure is better than regressing.

You have no intention of listening to advice given: why ask for it?