For months I've been doing squats with no progress, I really can't figure this out. When I do them I always feel tired but I don't feel the muscles working, there's no pump, no soreness afterwards. I've tried many variations, low reps with as much as I can handle, high reps, everything. But when finishing the set I just feel tired, I don't know what's lifting the weight but I'm sure it's not my quads, lower back or glutes.
I did some research to see if anyone had this problem also and I came across this post: wannabebig.com/forums/showthread.php?t=35958
The original poster is describing exactly the same thing that I'm experienced, I couldn't have said it more accurately.
To quote him "Other than that, I have no idea what my problem is. Every other lift is perfectly fine, I feel the muscle doing the lift, I get a pump, I get sore, I progress, I get bigger. Squats have been the total opposite. I squat with perfect form and feel nothing in my quads. It's like a ****in magic trick. WTF??" that really fits me with this problem.
If doing back squats ditch them for front squats. Also try them in a smith machine for something different to. Try this next time ramp up in weight to 6-8 heavy reps in narrow stance (toes pointed slightly out, sit back, knees pushed outwards and follow feet angle ) front squats without locking your knees.
Rest a bit.
Then walk over to a leg press/hack squat machine. Load up a weight you think you can get 10 solid reps with and push yourself to do 20 pausing a little here or there along the way. Also do this without locking your knees. If you can get more then 20 push it until you hit failure. Then add more weight next time.
If you do this exactly as I described aren't hobbling out of your gym and aren't sore for days after you're being a pansy ass with the weight and intensity you're using.
What's your range of motion? Are you sitting back and arching lower back properly? Toes pointed out and pushing your knees out on descent? Are you doing any machine work after to really nail your legs also?
You might just have a shitty mind/muscle connection. I imagine you might be very tall or really inflexible.
You doing any mobility drills/foam rolling before your workouts?
Have you tried doing an isolation exercise for quads before hitting squats?
Something is wrong in the recipe. I guess it was my trainer and stepdad at the time telling me that real men squat and nancy boys use the foam pad, but I don't think its leg day without the squat and I don't advice you drop the squat just yet. Switch up the rep range. Shoot for sets of 20. I did 5x20 with 135 back in the day. First 2 were a challenge the rest were torture. If you don't feel that you ain't alive. Like Carlitos said try out the front squat. Thats another scorcher. Try pre exhausting your quads on the leg extension. 4x15 should do the trick.
Again, "Other than that, I have no idea what my problem is. Every other lift is perfectly fine, I feel the muscle doing the lift, I get a pump, I get sore, I progress, I get bigger. Squats have been the total opposite. I squat with perfect form and feel nothing in my quads. It's like a ****in magic trick. WTF??"
Sound like you're having trouble getting the proper muslces to fire during the lift, give this a try- Hold onto a support about waist height (i like door knobs) and sit back into a squat as far feels comfortable. Then focus on arching your back, you should feel a stretch in your inner thighs. From the bottom position focus on flexing your glutes and quads and keep them flexed as you slowly rise to the upright position. Rinse and repeat until it feels natural.
Thanks for the suggestion, It must be a bad case of mind to muscle connection, I really hope it's that. Also thanks for not flaming me, many people seem to think that I'm trolling or something which frustrates me pretty much.
Personally, I don't "feel" squats in the same way I "feel" curls or any other exercise. This goes for any foot position I take. Doesn't mean they don't work though, as squatting has put an appreciable amount of size onto my thighs.
I've a similar problem and it's getting a huge issue! My upper body is progressing at a far faster pace than my lower body. I've a very good mind-muscle connection in my upper body...crazy pump in my lats, arms, chest...but almost nothing in my quads. I don't feel them working. It feels as if my legs were from another person (from a crippled paraplegic centenarian)
I believe the issue is a structural one (Bad squat leverages) Recently I found out a solution (hope so!): Besides continuing to squat (front squat is better for us), also add quads and glutes dominant exercises like heavy split squat, bulgarian split squat... The more we'll force our body to recruit the quads and glutes, the stronger they'll get, the more our body will tend to rely on them during squat. But if you don't first strengthened your quads, under heavy working load your body will do all in its power to adopt the most advantageous leverages (mostly targeting the posterior chain) getting the job done, hence the quads not being adequately stimulated.
Sorry for my french, hope you still get the point!
I squat ass to the grass (calfs touching hamstrings) and I still don't really feel it in my quads. Don't get me wrong,I'm not saying I don't use them at all, but other muscles overpower them. My posterior chain always gets tired before my quads, and the stronger my posterior chain is the worse it is.