T Nation

Sissy Squat

For the past 2 years I have done almost everything I can think of to increase my squat. I have done Westside, the Russian Squat Cycle, Ian King’s Limping Series, Olympic Lifting, etc. to increase my squat but have seen MINIMAL gain. I have varied rep/set protocals, excercise selection(front squat, zercher squat, OH squat, deadlifts, goodmorning, high back, low back, close, medium, and wide stances toes in, toes out) hell I even stopped squatting for 3 weeks. Nothing has seemed to help.

Leg hypertrophy hasn’t been a problem, but strength is. I have hit a road block in my training and I am desperately seeking some advice. Any and all help would be greatly appreciated.

what sort of weight are you lifting here? Are you an experienced trainer?
Whats your diet like?
How frequent were/are you training?

Fill the details in mate.

This is my 5th straight year of hard training. I am fairly experience but still consider myself to be intermediate. My max right now in the squat is 590 at my weight of around 220-225.

My diet isn’t perfect. I eat around 5,000 calories a day consisting mostly of lean beef, chicken, turkey and green veggies. I still have a ways to go before I perfect my diet. I have thought this was the reaosning behind my lack of progress but I still gain lean mass and all my lifts increase EXCEPT my squat. I have even spent a few weeks only squatting 135 trying to better my form, but that didn’t seem to help much either.

oh and ive trained the squat between 1-3 times a week depending on what program i was doing

Some questions:

Where do you stick or how do you fail?

How wide is your stance?

Do you use a squat suit? Belt? Wraps?

Describe your style: Fast, slow, sit way back? Head Up? Looking at your legs? Breathing? Hand position?

What do you have available for training your squat? SSB? Bands?

One obvious problem you are going to have is motivation: I would be surprised if 590 weren’t one of the better squats in your gym, and that leads to all kinds of mental barriers.

Find yourself a gym where a 600 squat is routine and I think you will find your problems solved. Of course that is a pretty rare gym!

Barring that, try a competition: Nothing like watching a dozen people squat 600+ to impress upon you that the goal is attainable.

My feet are 3-4 inches past shoulder width with my toes pointed straight forward. For my set-up my hands are wide on the bar pulling the bar into my upper back I take 2 big breathes hold the last one in push my stomach hard against my belt and sit back not down as far as i can i dont drop fast id say my tempo down is around 1-1.5 seconds.

on my way up i spread the floor with my feet and force my knees outwards as i drive my head into the bar and try to drive up with my hips i never look down…i dont wear a squat suit or knee wraps because i dont compete my sticking point is 1 inch above parallel if i can get over that i can make the lift…ive worked on low box squats to help with that and didnt see any improvement…

yea i am one of the stronger guys in my gym but very few do any type of squatting so im not around any that could push me in that lift unlike the bench i would have to travel out of town to find lifters who train the squat which is sad

Sounds like you have DT’s Squat 900 article covered!

The first thing that jumps out is that you are using a wide-stance pl-style technique using a pretty narrow stance…Have you tried working your stance out another 6-8 inches? If you aren’t cursing the makers of normal squat racks, you probably aren’t wide enough.

When you fail 1" above parallel, are you falling forward, losing your arch, or just stalling out?

If falling forward (the most common mode), GMs would seem to be in order. Possibly someone to give you a few verbal cues (“Big Chest”) to help hold you on the course…SSB/Cambered bar squats would also help.

Just stalling out might be hamstrings, but might also be stance…Nobody has strong enough hams, myself included! Widening the stance some will put your hips closer to the bar in the hole and givve you a bit more leverage…

You might also try some gear…Get a cheap suit that will get you over the stick, but still let you go full range. Work up until 600 feels like a warmup weight and then try it without the suit…Shirted benching has carried over fairly well to my raw bench…

Last: Find someone else, teach them to squat, and have them watch you.

Honest, it’ll help.

I agree with the suggestion made on trying to find a gym of big squatters. Probably going to be hard to do though.
Other than that their aint no real advice we could give. You sound like youve prioritised your squatting. Out of interest have you tried maybe 2 squatting workouts per week with NO other work for a cycle?

Just trying to throw some ideas at you, as one might appeal.
Thats a mighty squat, one day i’d hope to be their soon too!

I am not falling forward when I get stuck. I am just can’t get my hips to follow through and I strain for about 5 seconds then I just fall straight back. I have used bands and box squats for this and it didn’t help I followed Westside for 6 months and my squat never increased. My deadlift went through the roof, but I have hit a plateau on the squat. I will try widening my stance more I have a few more inches I could go out with it before I hit the edges of the power rack. Thanks for the advice.

if you haven’t already, i would go to elitefts.com and the q&a section, and ask this question. they’re some strong mofos so if they can’t help you then… i guess i’m out of advice, because that’s far more than i squat.

is your name keith perchance?

the name is chet and thanks for the advice guys

Though my squat isn’t as high as yours yet, I do believe I can help.

To fix your problem, you should try bottoms up squats. To do this, set the pins in the rack at your sticking point and lower the bar to the rack. Start each rep from a dead stop on the pins. This will definately help you out of the hole.

And if this doesn’t work, try squatting on an ultra low box, one that’s like 6"-8".

And again, if this too doesn’t help, spend a month or two focusing on the overhead squat. Once you get the overhead squat down, the back squat becomes a piece of cake.

Anyway, hope this helps you.