T Nation

Loading Pattern for the Squat?


#1

Which part of my body am I supposed to be feeling tension on during the squat? I understand the upper back tightness and bracing of core, but am completely lost when it comes to the lower body.

Right now, before the descent i keep my entire lower body flexed, but after 1/4th the way down i can no longer contract my quads and it seems to transfer to only glutes and hams. Is this the proper feeling I'm supposed to feel or should I dial back the weights and place more emphasis on keeping quads contracted throughout the ROM too?

video of squat: https://www.dropbox.com/s/kfzomevy8gu94j8/highbarform.wmv?dl=0


#2

[quote]awwww_fuq wrote:
Which part of my body am I supposed to be feeling tension on during the squat? I understand the upper back tightness and bracing of core, but am completely lost when it comes to the lower body.

Right now, before the descent i keep my entire lower body flexed, but after 1/4th the way down i can no longer contract my quads and it seems to transfer to only glutes and hams. Is this the proper feeling I’m supposed to feel or should I dial back the weights and place more emphasis on keeping quads contracted throughout the ROM too?

video of squat: https://www.dropbox.com/s/kfzomevy8gu94j8/highbarform.wmv?dl=0

[/quote]

I can’t see the video at work.

The distribution between quads and hams depend on your squatting style and what is optimal for your body structure. You should feel tension in your hip flexors and glutes throughout the lift.


#3

I hate to be unhelpful, but I couldn’t tell you. Personally, I just get as tight as I can and pull down into the hole slow enough to retain as much tightness as possible. I don’t ever really feel my quads except above 95% or after about three reps. Mostly I feel my hamstrings and hips.

I’d say your best bet is to check your videos. If the bar moves up and down in a dead straight line at a right angle to the ground and you’re not in pain you have nothing to worry about no matter where you feel it. Unless you’re training for aesthetics, in which case you do kind of need to feel the body part you’re wanting to train, but beyond that I know precisely jack about aesthetic training.


#4

hey guys, thanks for the replies. I guess that is the root of the problem… I don’t feel my hip flexors and only start to feel the glutes the further I descend down. I’m actually quite relaxed (lower body wise) during the squat lol…

[quote]MarkKO wrote:
Personally, I just get as tight as I can and pull down into the hole slow enough to retain as much tightness as possible. [/quote]

How do you go about to achieving this? Anything you’d recommend I try?


#5

I don’t know about this feelings stuff and I don’t really like to talk about my or other people’s feelings, but what I can say is that you shoot your hips back as soon as you ascend out of the hole and your knees are going back too soon too and about mid-way up you recover your position.

What’s helped me with this issue is to stop doing that.

Okay… maybe that’s not all that helpful… I do that by imagining myself as having rigid shins and knees in the hole and really pushing my hips forward in the hole by squeezing my glutes ultra hard like I’m trying to crack a walnut. I bet if you try that, everything else will come together.

It’s not very dramatic so I bet just being aware of the issue and using cues like the ones above will fix that. But if it doesn’t, you could try working in front squats afterwards to help ingrain good habits since if you try the same thing with a front squat you’ll either have sore wrist or dump it if it’s heavy.


#6

[quote]awwww_fuq wrote:
hey guys, thanks for the replies. I guess that is the root of the problem… I don’t feel my hip flexors and only start to feel the glutes the further I descend down. I’m actually quite relaxed (lower body wise) during the squat lol…

[quote]MarkKO wrote:
Personally, I just get as tight as I can and pull down into the hole slow enough to retain as much tightness as possible. [/quote]

How do you go about to achieving this? Anything you’d recommend I try?[/quote]

First, you need to get a big bellyful of air and once you’ve done that squeeze that air as hard as you can. I do that by tightening my whole midsection: push the air against your closed throat and out your backside at the same time. You should feel your whole midsection go rigid when you do this. You might even feel your glutes squeeze too, and that’s no bad thing. Keep that pressure and tension and pull your butt back and down all the while squeezing your midsection really hard. You need to do this in a slow and controlled manner because otherwise you’ll lose the tension in your midsection. When you hit depth reverse direction as fast as you can and accelarate upwards, but more importantly keep pushing your air against your closed throat and butt until you’ve locked the bar out. It can also help to pull the bar down hard into your shoulders and push your elbows forward (that just keeps your trunk more upright, but I find it a huge help and I think it may keep my upper back tight too).

Personally I don’t really feel a huge amount of tension in my legs/hips as I pull down into the hole but I do feel a massive amount of tension in my whole trunk. If I lose any of that tightness the lift becomes much harder.


#7

hey, just wanted to update on the progress. That “trying to crack a walnut” cue clicked for me lol. I did dial the weights back and focused on ingraining the motor pattern but I felt tremendous tension built throughout the hips and legs… this was something I never felt before during squats and was exactly what I was looking for to feel.

now I have to work on acceleration. I actually made the attempts harder on accident with pausing at the bottom because I’m not confident enough to aggressively reverse direction yet.

but damn muchas gracias for the sound advices. I will continue to improve this bastard stepchild lift of mine!