T Nation

Bottom Squatting


I've been stuck traininmg at home for the last while , and for seeable future. The problem is with my current set up I can only squat by starting from the bottom. I'm running 531, and yesterdays squat workout, week two I was suposed to get 3 reps with 385. It took 3 trys to get the first rep up, and it was ugly, but than once I set my feet, I got 5 reps.

I'm wondering from a strickly PLing point of view, weather only squatting from the bottom will hurt my progress moving further. I'm comming back from an injury, and a long layoff. The weights are comming back fast, and I don't want this to hinder my progress. I'm sure this will get me strong out of the hole, but my 5 rep max is the most it seems I can do. Would like to here thoughts from other PLer's on this, thanks


I have a pic in a thread here called "Home Gym, No Rack" by Jathan.young, it's a pic of the set up in my Garage, can't make a link right now for some reason. It would explain why I have to squat from the bottom. I'll try to link it latter, unless someone eles can figure it out. Thanks


Buy a cheap pair of Squat Stands can find a nice pair for under 250 shipped


You should definitely get a new setup; build a rack, use blocks on the sides, do something to start from the top! You'll never be able to progress as much if you always start from the hole.


I do most of my heavy squat training starting from the bottom of the movement, but I gradually increase the range of motion by using chains, which also helps to get set up better, and even then, my assistance work is started from the top to keep the movement grooved. You can definitely get strong only starting from the bottom, but you'll be missing out compared to if you could train all aspects of the squat.

You can build cheap stands with 2x4s and buckets of concrete, or use some dressers on either end of the bar to elevate the plates or something like that. It's worth getting creative.


Use Google. Guys are using 2x4s.. cement and 5 gallon buckets to make cheap squat stand. Look to understand. Its simple tho...


I use straps hung from the rafters to hang the bar. The reason I haven't changed this is because I use my garage as a shop, and make money doing odd jobs for people ( I'm a welder) also till recently this setup was working well my numbers were going up weekly. I could weld up a rack of some sort, or just order one (I'm in the gym buisiness after all) but I only have a one car garage, and a rack would get in the way. I originaly thought my training at home would be temorary, but it's been a year already, and it looks like Jan. before I'll get back to a real gym.

So the thoughts I'm having are get a rack (or stands) and work around them in my garage, or spend this time working on my explosiveness out of the hole. It will hold back my top number, but in the end when I get back to the gym I'll be strong out of the hole. I was just wondering if anyone else had spent time doing just rack squats (from bottom) and how it worked out for they're top numbers.

I do 531 with extra volume, around 15 sets a day, so the rack squats only effect my one top set, all my speed, and rep work (50-80%) is fine being worked from the bottom. Might even be a plus. I'm on the fence, wonder if anyone's tried this approch


I just saw your post Pwnisher, Thanks kind of what I was looking for, and I know you know your stuff. I'm probably going to have to bite the bullet, and just buy a rack. It just sucks, most of you guys know I own my own gym, just stuck at home for legal reasons. I just know I'm going to buy a rack, and the next day they'll let me go back to my gym, thats why I've been holding off, but you basicaly just told me what I already knew.


maybe make something like this. When you are done with it you can repurpose or toss it. Maybe even 'pay it forward' to some kid in your area.


Either approach has benefits. Squat stands, made or bought, can be moved out of the way into a corner so they're very handy if space is at a premium, and can be cheap to make. I like a 4x4, measured to just above your normal rack height and then cut a V into the top. Fill a 5 gallon bucket with cement, center the pole in each of them and let it solidify.

The other approach is good too. I've written about good things bottoms up squats did for me in other threads, got some disagreement about it, but it's an ok thing. I think it's a good thing to train this way for a while personally. I personally didn't have any trouble with my top numbers, although they weren't at their peak when I went through that phase. It builds starting strength, and it's much easier to train an SSC rebound out of the hole than it is to train actual starting STRENGTH out of the hole. So maybe they take a dip for a short time when you finally get back to the real thing, but it's going to come back real quick a) because you're actually stronger in the position and hence can get more speed out of it and b) because training a rebound effect is much quicker and easier than straight strength, and c) your back will be stronger from having to muscle things up, at least that's the effect I've noticed.

The other thing is if you take that approach it is a great time to really focus HARD on mobility and flexibility---you are using less poundages anyway, so no fear of losing more, and it will actually help you get stronger because you'll be able to get a better set-up to start in the bottom with the extra mobility (mobility tends to make you stronger anyways because you're healthy, but that's a very unsexy way of thinking for most of us).

Also starting in the bottom is a skill just like anything else, so it can be more "comfortable"/stable just through practicing said skill. For instance, the first bottoms-up front squat workout I did this year was terrible...something like 80% of my 1RM regular front squat as my 1RM from the bottom. 2 weeks later it had jumped up by 10%. That's easily enough to get a training effect either way--especially considering there's no stretch so you're actually working the muscles HARDER in the hole even though the weight is lighter (see Thibaudeau's thoughts on the matter), plus more stabilization, so you don't need to be hitting the same numbers you were in the first place.

So really, it can be done either way, 4x4 wood is cheap and so are paint buckets and cement.


To add onto Aragon's comments about comfort, with your current set-up with the bar suspended I find it's easier to get into the groove for the squat by bending forward into the bar like a good morning. Once the back you walk forward until your hips are under the point that you suspended the bar (so it's a straight line from the suspension point to your hips). This means the bar is going to be in front of it's normal starting point. When you're ready to squat, you essentially roll back onto your heels and have the weight press you into the bottom position of the squat, and then start from there. It's a similar feeling to rolling a deadlift toward your shins before pulling, and helps generate a little power in the start while making it easier to get into position.

You can see me use the technique here


Jake, maybe check into this. http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_22280_22280 You can hang your bar from these hooks, with 2 more straps or even chains laying around your shop, much like JoeySmith does for his pseudo monolift hooks. You could then use your current straps as spot pins. this would let you start your squats in the top position and would be a cheap fix.


Yup, that's a great description. I used to do the same thing with squats from pins when I first started experimenting with them years ago, although it's a bit more complicated because they don't swing like the chains (I rolled the bar into my groove instead). Now that I have increased mobility it is much easier lol.

Side note, it's really almost identical to how I've seen a lot of people do "chain suspended good mornings"....just on purpose this time :wink:


You guys are awesome this is just the kind of info I was lookin for. I'm currently getting the first rep of my heaviest set up with an almost sumo type squat, than I reset my feet, and get a few more reps. I'll try the good morning set up. Also Strengthdog these hooks are a brilliant idea, I don't know why I haven't thought of this myself. I can weld up a set of hooks like this, or even better weld up a long set of hooks that clamp to the rafters, and act like stands that stay out of the way. Awesome I'll clamp some hooks, they'll only have to be about 3 ft long, and I can rack, and rerack the weight leaving the straps for safety. this way nothing will be in the way, best of both worlds. Thanks to all.
I hope all you guys aren't expecting royalties when I market these hanging squat racks, lol


....Royalties in the form of beer?

...or supplements... :stuck_out_tongue:


That's awesome! glad we were able to spark some creativity for you. I'd love to see your hooks when done.


I couldn't carry a conversation with my wife at dinner last night, because my mind was designing hooks. I'll get somthing drawn up this weekend, and probably break out the welder on Sun.As far as pics, lol, I'm a cave man with a computer, but I'll see what I can do. I couldn't even move a pic from one Tnation thread, to another yesterday, haha,

This is where I'm at, a piece of angle will hang down (3ft) with a hook, off the back of the hook, a gusset will run back up on angle to the rafter, there will have to be two points of contact with the rafter, so it doesn't move around when you rerack. The piece that clamps or bolts to rafter, will have to be atleast 2ft long, to acomadate hook, and the brace being two ft apart (like a triangle) anyway it makes sense to me. thanks latter


you always have the most innovative ideas



At first, I was thinking, "What the hell is he talking about?", but then after you did it I was like, "Wow, that was smooth."


I see I'm not the only one who numbers his squat rack holes!

Damn dude, how cold is it in your gym? You looked like a sherpa in that vid, and I thought I saw a side of beef hanging in the corner :slightly_smiling: lol