T Nation

Bottom-of-Squat Advice Needed


How can I improve my performance in the bottom few inches of coming up out of an "ass-to-the-grass" squat? The miniscule weight I can get up off the bottom really seems to limit the value I get out of the rest of the motion.

Should I just do thighs-parallel-to-the-floor squats and add some exercises (straight-leg deadlifts, or ham curls or ???) to get stronger in the bottom of the squat? - then go deeper after I get stronger?

If so, what should I add?


I strongly suspect there is no quick fix - and I equally suspect you already know that. :slight_smile:

Just do it again next week etc. Expect to go forward and occasionally backwards in your max-lifts; but also expect it to have definite positive trend upwards.

I assume you mix it up - deadlifts, weighted walking lunges / step-ups, farmers walks and all that, right? If not, you certainly need to. Just keep at it. You have the advantage of experience (as do I, sadly...) - us old bastards can be patient...sometimes. This is a good one to be patient with. :slight_smile:

Have faith; and a Happy New Year too! :slight_smile:



If you want to get stronger in the bottom position of the squat, you have to squat in that manner. I agree with the other guy about mixing up exercises. You can add walking lunges so you get used to contracting out of a strong stretch. While working up in your sets of ATG squats, practice descending under control and then as you get low drive up with power. Think of yourself as a spring.


I have 2 suggestions that worked pretty well for me:

  1. Box Squats. Find/Make a box 2 inches below parallel. Start with like 12 sets of 2 at your 50% 1RM, 45 secs rest between sets.

  2. Also a good Hip sled machine can help. Make sure you get really get the max ROM when coming down. I.E., Legs pinned against the chest, then press up. Also might want to consider having your feet high on the platform to recruit more hammys.


Also, I use to squat in the Chuck Taylors which are flat soled. I realized that these are more suited for a powerlifting parallel squat than an olymipc style ass to grass squat. Anyway, I had trouble getting out of the hole and my ass would typically come up way to early causing me to practically good morning the weight up. I switched to wearing boots since they have a small heel and I found the biomechanics of the lift to become much more favorable. The shoes of olympic athletes have heels in them as well. I'd suggest giving it a try with a pair of boots.


Along with the above a pause at the bottom to lose the strecth reflx can help as well and is VERY humbling just sit at the bottom for 3 seconds and Push as hard as you can.



Thanks, Wiz. I do mix it up, but I'm not sure what's most effective - all, I guess. As for experience - very little in BB - I'm an oldNEWBIE. Patience I've got, knowledge, I don't.


Thanks,Krollmonster - I'll try 'em.


Thanks. btm62. I tried the box squat today, but I'm not sure where to put my feet w/r to my knees - same as regular squat- knees over feet? I tend to tip over forward. Maybe put my heels on a board?
I work at home, so the sled idea might force me into the gym, if I can't progress with the other ideas posted here. I have to start really light to get up at all.


Thanks, Matgic. Would a board under my heels work? I guess the idea is to emphasize thjrusting through the heels rather than toes, but I tend to fall forward.


Thanks, Phill, but I'm already humble (maybe humiliated would be a better description), given the miniscule weight I can get up, thanks to decades of pencil-pushing instead of exercise.


Thanks to all. I appreciate your advice.
It seems to me that I'm so far out of the range, that I need an exercise that allows progressive increase from light stress/weight to more stress/weight, rather than the other way around. [With at least 3X10 @ 75% 1RM - which I can't do in the ATG squat.] That aproach has produced good gains in deads, db presses, etc. for me over the 9 months I've been lifting. Maybe the hip sled (gym fees!) more straight-leg deads, and step-ups. I'll try lunges, too and box squats, but they seem a bit beyond me, for now.


One thing that helped me was to use a belt, and to push out my belly against the belt. This helped me have a stronger base/tighter feeling, and gave me some help with my arch in the down posistion; which has always been weakness. Who would have thought those Westside tape would help at all:)



Who'd a thunk? Westside always sounded like something I might look into someyear, after getting some basics down.

Suggestion sounds good, tho' - I'll put it on my pre-lift reminder sheet. Thanks


LOL well good youve taken the first step by dropping the ego. do them even if body weight and you will progress FAST!

Good luck Bro.