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My Speed On Squats (Videos)


Ever since switching from high bar, narrow stance squats to low bar, wider stance squats my weight has jumped significantly but the one thing I suck at is the speed/explosiveness of the squats.

I am currently doing madcow 5x5 and will it is working pretty good. The thing is if you saw me squat 315 you'd think I probably couldn't squat 405 (but I can) just because the speed in which I squat both weights feels the same.

Anyways, any tips/suggestions to improve my explosiveness/speed on the squats? I do 3x5 box jumps before each session. I'm guessing lighter weight/higher reps would help improve that, but I've been following madcow 5x5 exactly how it is meant to be done.

Also to note, I am having trouble keeping my hip flexors loose. I do defrancos warm up and stretch my hip flexors both before and after my workouts, but they still remain tight. I can even feel the tightness when warming up with the bar and lighter weights, but I am still able to move the bigger weights.

**I was suppose to do 400x3 for the last set but was a dumbass and threw on 2 more 45's. Anyways, what do you think? What are my weak points and things I can improve on?



A video would be helpful.


Yea...shit. I'll try get on that and put up my upcoming Friday squat session.


Just bumping the thread because I finally added videos to it.


looks pretty good in my opinion
also, focus on filling ur lungs up at the top...in ur 400 set, u have the weight in ctrl, but u took too long at the top and lost concentration...thats why ur 3rd rep ddnt make it up...


I'm throwing some stuff out here because I have this problem, too. The fact that I spend the majority of my time in a chair hunched over in front of a computer not withstanding, I think it is due to a 'load order' error when I squat.

There is a mobility wod video discussing it, but my working theory right now is I use my hip flexors to over-arch and keep a too vertical back angle. I liked it initially when I started, because it kept me tighter out of the bottom, but eventually it led to a lower back tweak due to the upper attachment of the illipsoas or psoas or whatever it is.

I figured it out setting up to DL, when I started getting set up and feeling a pull/tension in the tweak spot in my lower back. I was able to make the adjustment and load my glutes and hamstrings first, before my hip flexors and continue onwards.

Now, I'm working on getting a little more forward lean in my squat, while still staying tight and I don't feel any agitation after squatting outside of the usual soreness.

Just a theory as of now.


Thanks, I noticed that to. I also forgot to shove my ass back before both 405 attempts.


Being more explosive doesnt just happen you have to work at it. You wont get more explosive doing grinders at 90+%. I would suggest doing speed work with box squats. The box will force you to create the power out of the bottom instead of a rebound/streach reflex. When doing "box squats" Sit back slowly forcing your knees out the entire time sit softly on the box then you release your hip flexors(every thing else in your body stays tight) then fire back up off of the box. Any time you are doing speed work your body should be 100% so lots of small sets like 10x2 done at the begining of the workout.

Your hips are rising before your back is extending they should come up together. It looks like a combination of your back being weak and your technique should be tightened up a bit, because when you missed the lift your torso was too far forward. Watch the so you think you can squat series on you tube. You have to fix the weak back with accessory work. squatting will not fix it.

suggested exercises: Standing upper back good mornings, Seated upper back good mornings, Back extensions flat or 45 degrees, And more ab work, your abs work with your back to keep your torso in a good position while squatting.

And I'll suggest it again Watch the so you think you can squat series with matt wenning. That video is an unbelievable free resource.


Thanks for the thorough response. Right now I am doing Madcows 5x5 routine and on Mondays I do back extensions 3x10. Perhaps on Wed or Fri I'll add in seated upper back good mornings.

I'll probably add in box squats once I stall in Madcow and go back to 5/3/1 or w/e. For my back work I am doing bent over rows 2x/week and deadlifts on wed. I also do chins in between all my pushing movement sets.


Dave G nailed the upper back issue. one thing to remember too when starting back up from the bottom, is to really squeeze your lats which will bring your elbows under the bar, not behind it. also, really ram your head/neck into the bar too as that will help keep everything align. I have the same issue man, and been working on it for a while. don't give up on it, as it will all eventually come together. one thing too I have an issue with is shoulder mobility. now I really warm up the area like if I'm going to be benching. helps a ton.


Thanks. Also, when you say bring your elbows under the bar, do you mean basically dropping them? Wouldn't that cause a lot of your upper back tightness to diminish? Or as Mark calls it "dropping elbows usually cause thoracic flexion."


@ 7:35^^


Nice video

The real Westside.... http://www.westside-barbell.com/forum/


A lot of people advise driving your elbows forward under the bar. I absolutely cannot do this as I have very minimal shelf on my back and lose tightness in the upper back. I know this works for some, but not I.


don't let them drop. when coming back up, flex the fuck out of your head/neck/lats for your don't fall forward. you may not be able to get the elbows under the bar if your shoulder mobility sucks dick (like mine), but the action alone helps keep me up straight. if you don't have the shelf for it, only thing to do is build a bigger upper back.


If it were only so easy.


nothing ever is when chalk, blood, and pain is involved. lol


If I think of pulling my elbows forward, I'll lose tightness too. I have to think of it as pulling my elbows down and driving my upper back/neck into the bar.


Your 335 looked awesome to me man, 405 is near your max so it's not going to fly up. If anything slow down your eccentric a little bit IMO, and really drive your hips through coming up.

@DaveG's comments, really try to stay tall when you're squatting, try the good mornings as assistance, I'm also a big fan of 45degree hypers to bring up the lower back strength.

As for your hip flexors, try doing some sort of warm up that involves a general warm up and then a few things to help activate your glues (bird-dogs, firehydrants, sled drag, band stomps). I got a lot out of a few minutes on a bike, a PNF stretch on my hip flexors and then a few lengths dragging a sled. For the PNF stretch get into a runners stretch (http://trainergreg.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/psoas-stretches-stretch-11.png), hold the stretch for 10sec, then contract your hip flexor as hard as you can by trying to pull the back knee forward (but dont actually move it, keep it pinned) for 6sec, then go into the stretch again for 10sec. You should get way more ROM and this should really help activate your glutes.

Let me know if it helps. Good luck.


Here is one more suggestion too based on your saying you made the switch from an Oly style (high bar, narrow) to a power style squat; you may want to try squatting in flatter shoes. I like a raised heel for cleans, snatches, etc... but not so much for squatting for squatting sake. I think you also may need to sit back a bit more, and the box squats will help that, but getting your heels down that extra 3/4in may help as well.

Buy a cheap pair of wal-mart knock-offs, or even try a few light sets bare-foot and see what happens. You may have to loosen up your calves/achilles first, but see what happens. Your exlposiveness may be suffering as a result of not being able to fully take advantage of your hams and glutes, which will also be helped by getting those hips back a little more... Just my thoughts. Keep it up.