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BBB Assistance: Just Do the Lift or Hit Weaknesses?


#1

Hi All,
Beginning Intermediate Lifter First time poster here. Good suggestions are much appreciated...

Finishing up month 3 of Wendler 531 and noticed my ATG Squat (my weakest lift) has gone up the least of all my lifts. Yes I'm very happy it's up, but a 9% gain for a crappy lift seems very low to me compared to my Deadlift. Deadlift has gone up about 17%, and is now 1.5X my all the way down squat (with decent form).

I'm thinking my lower back and quads are a lot stronger than my glutes & hams, and I need to stop doing ATG Squats as assistance work, and just bomb my glutes & hams after I do my 531 sets. FYI, when doing squats I really have to concentrate to not let my back fold and take over the lift. Think I have a big strength imbalance that needs to be addressed by hitting the weak muscles directly.

Suggestions?

Edit:
Did a Google search, and apparently a 1.5X ratio of DeadLift / ATG Squat is fairly normal.
Will plan to continue doing what I have been doing for a least another 3 months and reassess.


#2

hamstring strength, at least for me, is pivotal for my squat numbers. I follow my squats with a few light sets of good mornings and get a good stretch. I noticed when I stopped doing them i felt way less solid coming out of the hole,my lower back hurt more after heavy days, and weight felt heavier on my back.

you may have stronger ham strings than you think but theyre getting torched from the deads. my squat didnt really start shooting up until I stopped heavy deadlifting as frequently, its super taxing on you even if you recover well. so maybe reset your dead or just take a month off from dead lifting all together and see how you feel on squats then reassess. I stopped deads for 24 weeks and i didnt get any weaker (forearms and traps shrank a bit though).

I was in the same boat as you running 5/3/1 and my numbers were great in everythnig but the squat. I realized i need to squat more frequently. I definately wouldnt stop doing ATG squats for assistance. but play around with dead lift frequency and maybe lighten the load of your assisstance squats to dial in your technique to better recruit glutes.


#3

[quote]Mike Pauza wrote:
Hi All,
Beginning Intermediate Lifter First time poster here. Good suggestions are much appreciated…

Finishing up month 3 of Wendler 531 and noticed my ATG Squat (my weakest lift) has gone up the least of all my lifts. Yes I’m very happy it’s up, but a 9% gain for a crappy lift seems very low to me compared to my Deadlift. Deadlift has gone up about 17%, and is now 1.5X my all the way down squat (with decent form).

I’m thinking my lower back and quads are a lot stronger than my glutes & hams, and I need to stop doing ATG Squats as assistance work, and just bomb my glutes & hams after I do my 531 sets. FYI, when doing squats I really have to concentrate to not let my back fold and take over the lift. Think I have a big strength imbalance that needs to be addressed by hitting the weak muscles directly.

Suggestions?

Edit:
Did a Google search, and apparently a 1.5X ratio of DeadLift / ATG Squat is fairly normal.
Will plan to continue doing what I have been doing for a least another 3 months and reassess.[/quote] I wouldnt worry gains in 3 out of 4 lifts is pretty good, keep working hard on getting stronger in the middle and the squat will rise.


#4

The balance of lifts rationale is ignorant, at best.

Person A bench presses 900. He squats 900. He would rather let his bench press go down, so everything is in proper “alignment”, than be a freak. Makes no sense to me.

Everyone is going to have a stronger/weaker lift. Exploit the freak, keep training the weakness. Better to be a has-been than a never-was. And until you are a freak, your weakness is being weak.


#5

An easy way to get a little extra posterior chain work is in your warm-up. When I’m only doing Yoke bar squats (jacked shoulders) and deadlifts, I add RDLs or GMs to my warm-up. I’ll hit sets of 10 RDLs for bar, 95, 135, 185, 225, and maybe 275 then keep working up on DLs. I pull each rep from the floor just like regular DLs. Definitely feel the extra hamstring work the day after.

On squat day I just do a few GMs with my first squat warm-up sets. Bar x 10 GM then 10 squats, 95 x 10 GM and 10 squats. Probably not too significant, but I feel my glutes and hamstrings more through the rest of my squat training.


#6

That’s interesting. Do you feel like it hurts the rest of your workout since you are pre-fatiguing a main muscle in your main lift?


#7

[quote]Jim Wendler wrote:
The balance of lifts rationale is ignorant, at best.

Person A bench presses 900. He squats 900. He would rather let his bench press go down, so everything is in proper “alignment”, than be a freak. Makes no sense to me.

Everyone is going to have a stronger/weaker lift. Exploit the freak, keep training the weakness. Better to be a has-been than a never-was. And until you are a freak, your weakness is being weak.[/quote]

Really appreciate and humbled by the response Jim.

Certainly not near freakville yet, but think I’m on (or just off) the long path there at least.
After 3 months on 531 I’m the strongest I’ve ever been, put 50# on my bench (first time ever over 300), 60# on my deadlift, don’t feel banged up, don’t think I’m going to stall during the near year, and I’m excited about lifting again!!!

Thanks to everyone else that commented. Appreciate it. -Mike


#8

[quote]nucknfutz wrote:
That’s interesting. Do you feel like it hurts the rest of your workout since you are pre-fatiguing a main muscle in your main lift? [/quote]

No. The GMs are really light, just first couple warm up weights for the squat. My legs feel primed, definitely not fatigued.

The RDLs are a little harder, but still not real serious weight. Pretty easy to test out though. Switch out a few DL ramp-up sets for sets of 10 RDLs. If you feel good, add another set next time. simple.


#9

[quote]dhickey wrote:
An easy way to get a little extra posterior chain work is in your warm-up. When I’m only doing Yoke bar squats (jacked shoulders) and deadlifts, I add RDLs or GMs to my warm-up. I’ll hit sets of 10 RDLs for bar, 95, 135, 185, 225, and maybe 275 then keep working up on DLs. I pull each rep from the floor just like regular DLs. Definitely feel the extra hamstring work the day after.

On squat day I just do a few GMs with my first squat warm-up sets. Bar x 10 GM then 10 squats, 95 x 10 GM and 10 squats. Probably not too significant, but I feel my glutes and hamstrings more through the rest of my squat training.

[/quote]

I really like doing GMs and RDLs simply because I feel really strong doing them, but they both work out my lower back, not my hams, and my glutes only a little. I never really feel “those muscles” working or recuperating unless I hit them in isolation.

Jim basically told me not to worry about weaknesses right now though, so…


#10

Sometimes its not worrying about a weakness as much as it is figuring out what your strengths are. What you think may be a weakness is actually not utilizing a strength properly.