T Nation

How to Improve Squats


#1

Hi peeps,

I've been squatting for quite a long time but I really want to go deeper meaning that I want to go lower (ass to grass). I currently use a box that is about 60 cm long, yet I'm not even touching it as I go down... any suggestions?

Also, I feel that my left leg is the only one doing the effort. During my 90 sec rest between sets, I feel my left leg so sore but not the right one. I do make sure that the bar is even on my back but I still feel the lest leg is not doing any effort... symmetry problem?


#2

Buy "Becoming a Supple Leopard" by Kelly Starrett. That will give you everything you need to improve your squat.

--Me


#3

Truth.

His hip openers are brutal, esp with band distraction. I love it.


#4

If by "60cm long", you mean 60cm tall, that's a really high box for you to be not touching unless you're 10' tall.

If that's the case, that would mean you're not just squatting high, you're squatting REALLY high. Is it a mobility issue or do you just have trouble hitting your reps if you go lower? If it's the latter, it means you are using way too much weight.

Try posting a vid of your squats (at what you would consider to be a reasonably high intensity set) on the powerlifting forum. They'll definitely get any form issues sorted out.


#5

Leg wind mills
Goblet squats

You should be doing dynamic stretches pre leg days and preferably most days.

Koing


#6

depth? increase frequency to as much as 3 times a weak and do agile 8's before hand. concentrate on digging in with the heels and pushing up from there.


#7

Sounds like you have a set of complex issues feeding off each other. Mobility (K Starrett!) is going to be a big piece of solving that puzzle, as is single leg work for your weak leg, glute activation work for what is most likely sleepy/nonworking glutes with your depth problem, and a decision to sacrifice weight for a while to nail form. Goblet squats will help to nail down form, but won't do everything regarding fixing your problems with mobility and feeling only one leg working.

You'll need a video posted--make sure when you post the video you mention that you are squatting for bodybuilding purposes, as powerlifters will otherwise assume competitive powerlifting goals and respond accordingly.


#8

I hear people all the time say they cannot squat to depth or go lower because they are not flexible enough. Sadly generally they just do not know how to squat correct. Before anybody can actually diagnose poor flexibility by somebody its always a wonderful and useful idea to get a better understanding via video of how you actually set up under the bar and what position your knees, feet, and general body position is at the bottom of the squat. Are you pushing your knee's out? Is your stance to wide or to narrow? Are your feet directly forward or out-ward?

In general more flexibility is never a bad thing, but squatting to parallel is not hard even for people who posses very poor mobility and flexibility. So like Arogorn said, post a video.


#9

If by parallel you actually mean parallel (crease of hip and top of knee parallel to the floor with heels down, knees tracking correctly in line with toes, arches in tact/activated), then I'd have to disagree. Lots of people lack the flexibility and/or mobility (which is more determined by strength/active flexibility) to squat to parallel without training for it.


#10

Symmetry always an issue when performing bilateral exercises, particularly if you bring a history of unilateral experience to the gym (such as jumpers, throwers etc).

If you are feeling like one limb is dominating, you could always proceed your squats with 2-3 sets of single leg squats on non dominant leg. Other than that, a good mind muscle connection can help, really focusing on driving out with both legs equal.


#11

This is weightlifting, there is always exceptions to every rule. I've had people that could not squat to parallel to save their life, but with some minor adjustments to their technique they easily are capable of hitting parallel. My point with my above post was the majority of people automatically blame flexibility on not being able to reach proper depth. Stretch all you want, do all the mobility work you want to do, but if you cannot squat properly or don't know how you are wasting time. I'm not saying that 'EVERYBODY' falls in this category, but a lot of people do. Not long ago I worked with a kid that was going to play college football who could not squat to parallel to save his life with his heels flat. After 20 minutes of telling him to move his stance to approx. shoulder width apart, rotate his feet out and allow his knees to travel the same path as his toes it was automatic.


#12

[quote]Aragorn wrote:

Sounds like you have a set of complex issues feeding off each other. Mobility (K Starrett!) is going to be a big piece of solving that puzzle, as is single leg work for your weak leg, glute activation work for what is most likely sleepy/nonworking glutes with your depth problem, and a decision to sacrifice weight for a while to nail form. Goblet squats will help to nail down form, but won't do everything regarding fixing your problems with mobility and feeling only one leg working.

I do this exercise as a warm up in regards of the mobility issue. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U1jC1sWTUFc