T Nation

Over 50: Losing Squat Faster Than Deadlift?


#1

Hi, this question is mostly directed at the over 50 crowd. I’m curious if you’ve noticed you lose your squat faster than your DL or is it just me?

I tend to lose strength during the fairer months and gain it back during the winter. I’ve been noticing over the last couple of years, my Deadlift is coming back at it’s normal pace but my squat is lagging behind. Last winter I had a forearm injury so I wan’t deadlifting in the first half. Noticing how slowly my Squat was progressing, I chalked it up to not deadlifting. I thought I was missing out on valuable carry over. This winter I don’t have that excuse. My DL is where it should be but my squat is woefully behind.

Is this a thing or is it just me?


#2

60 here.
I’ve found my squat has a little more variable to training than my DL. For DL low moderate volume for the top set. I pull the top set usually as singles of 3-5 total reps and keep the intensity hopefully over 80% of a max effort. 2nd DL exercise is either SSB good morning or SLDL of 8-10 reps for 3-5 sets and some row variation.
For me squats are a little trickier,sometimes volume ( sets across as a top set ) sometimes a little more intensity for the top set works best. Usually I start a cycle ( I train in long blocks ) with more volume and slowly add intensity, and gradually decrease the volume. I do the reverse with the second exercise with squat, and for me the key is finding a second exercise that helps my squat. Some years it has been just more squatting, but recently I’ve found Zercher squats and a some leg press to help.
Also I used to squat and pull on the same day. I gave that up at about 10 years ago.
I do face pulls between each set of squats and I think that has helped. Another “trick” I like when the weights feel heavy are to do “static holds” at the end. Load up the bar with 10-20% more than you feel you can squat well. Unrack the bar like your going to squat and hold tight for a few seconds and rerack. Start slow and gradually add weight, 3-5 of these are plenty. In time your working weights won’t feel as heavy…
Good luck. I think squats are king.


#3

It sounds like our DL training is pretty similar except I don’t do as many top sets, 1-3, and I go a little higher in intensity, 90+.

On squats, I typically pyramid to a last set of 3-8 reps at a weight that I can complete the reps w/o actually having to grind any out. I try to keep all reps fairly fast.

To try to get a little more results on my squats, I’m going to try adding a cluster set at the end. Yesterday I went up to 275, did a set of 5 then I dropped down to 265 and did four sets of four in 8 minutes. I kind of liked it, all reps were fast and felt good. The trick will be to fit the cluster set in to my allotted one hour of training on Mondays. The other trick will be to actually get results.


#4

1 top set in DL done as singles 3-5 reps.
Good luck, sounds like you have a solid plan.
Enjoy


#5

Since I haven’t gotten any corroboration, I’ll assume this is a problem unique to me and not related to age, which I should probably be happy about.

I’m still frustrated with my squat though. My DL is comfortably up to 405 and I think at that deadlift, I should be squatting 315.

I squat on Mondays. Two weeks ago I did 275x6, last Monday I did 275x5 then the cluster set described above. Today I was only able to do three reps at the same weight. I’m sure I could have ground out four but I was significantly weaker when I should be getting stronger.

My diet has been decent. My sleep could be better but it’s probably been good enough. Due to plantar fasciitis, I’ve resorted to wearing orthotics for the last few months. Long term, orthotics are bad for my hips (piriformis) and the hips have started to hurt a little but I don’t feel like the they are the limiting factor. It feels more like quads are the weak link.

How about this question: Best assistance exercises for lagging squat?


#6

How often do you squat? And where do you fail?


#7

Once a week on Mondays. I Squat Mondays, Some form of Split Squats on Wednesday and DL on Friday. My training sessions are fairly short. One hour including about 20-25 minutes of mobility/prehab/rehab stuff for my warmup.

I never fail, but I’m the weakest at the bottom of my parallel squat.


#8

I am not qualified to give advice, but I like my trap bar for quads.

This article tells you how to pick assistant excerises for a weaknesses. Don’t know if it will help you, but it’s worth a shot!


#9

Thanks ChickenLittle, I’ll check that out.


#10

Old guys get flat asses, that points to glutes.

Orthotics, foot problems, hip and piriformis issues point to weak glutes.

Weakness at bottom of squat points to hip and glutes.

If your hips and glutes weren’t doing their thing, your quads would have to take up the slack and do all the work. This could make them feel like the weak link, when they are really just taking most of the load because they are strongest.

Normally, I would never, never, never say this. But you’re super Experienced, and compete in a non lifting sport, and show all the signs of lagging glutes. So, maybe, you could use the Barbell Hip Thrust as a straightforward, direct way to to build up your hips and glutes.


#11

53 here. My lifts come and go. Some days I can have a great DL and others its just not happening. I cant squat free weight anymore due to knee issues and do smith squats or leg presses.

Personally, about a year ago I stopped chasing numbers when I lift. To me its not worth the chance for injury at my age, and my ego has finally calmed down a little. I focus on “activation and stimulation” meaning that my volume is higher and weight is lower but contractions and pumps are bigger. I also hit the same muscle group multiple times a week. Not always the same exercise or weight but like I said, I try to activate and stimulate the muscles frequently.


#12

On one hand I don’t think my glutes are weak because 1. I think relatively speaking, they’re strong as fuck and 2. In October I did a standing long jump of 9 feet 5 inches and I think that requires some pretty good glutes.

On the other hand, I haven’t done any glute specific/isolation training in a couple years due to a pain in the back of my knee. For some reason glute bridges and hip thrusts irritate a chronic knee pain I have. I have to acknowledge there is a strong correlation between my lagging squat and not doing any type of thrust work.

I read your post today before my noon training and I included some single leg hip thrusts using dumbbells for weight. I kept the weight light and didn’t have any pain. I plan to work up the poundage slowly to deal with the knee pain. Hopefully this will do the trick.

By the way, I’ve seen into the future and verified I’m destined to have that old guy flat ass. A few years ago my appendix ruptured. After the surgery and a few weeks of recovery I got on the scale and was shocked to see I lost 20 pounds (180 to 160). I then went and stood in front of the mirror and was dumbfounded. I didn’t see it. My chest, shoulders, even my quads looked basically the same. I could see maybe 5 pounds but not twenty. Then I turned sideways and said “holy crap!” because my ass was gone.


#13

I’m 53 also, Studhammer, at least for a few more weeks, and I concur about chasing numbers. I quit keeping a log years ago because it was just leading me to get hurt by always trying to beat my last numbers.

Obviously, I’m somewhat aware of my numbers and aware of my comparative strength, i.e. squat vs DL. I’ve kind of gone in a different direction then you have on the rep scheme. I don’t like high reps and over time I’ve gone lower and lower. I rarely do more than 8 reps and 3 to 6 is typical for me. Except on deadlift where 1 to 5 is typical.


#14

That’s a nice broad jump!

Maybe “weak” was a bad word to use. But your glutes do all kinds of stuff controlling your knees and shin angle and foot pressure. The single leg stuff is probably better for “balance” or “control” that than using a barbell.

Good luck! I hope you can leap even farther in the spring.


#15

FF, It looks like you steered me in the right direction on the glute work. Today I did 295 for a fairly easy 5 so the squat is moving in the right direction again. Thanks!


#16

Holy Shit, that’s great! Way to go!

Single leg, with a dumbbell? I gotta try some of those.


#17

Yeah, single leg with dumbbell. I use a pad for my hip, it’s just two squares of memory foam taped together. I set the DB on there with my shoulder blades on the edge of a bench and crank away one glute at a time.

The way I’ve been working them in is light weight sets mixed into my normal warmup movements, then a blast set with heavy weight after I’m done squatting or DLing. On Monday, I went up to 60s for 10 reps on the warmup and the blast set was 100 X 15. That’s a killer for me, by the way. As I said up top, I’m not big on high rep training so a set of 15, pausing only for a few seconds and then doing another 15 on the other leg gets me downright winded.

I’d rather do them two legs at a time with a barbell, or on the floor as Glute Bridges, but hassling with heavy weight on a barbell is too much trouble and too time consuming. The single leg method, I can grab a DB and go.