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Squat Falling Behind Other Lifts

Hi everyone,

I DL 185kg for 1 rep. Bench 137.5kg for 1 rep. Both have progressed nicely the last year. I squat 122.5kg for 1 rep… Its getting increasingly frustrating and embarassing.

I have had my form, although superficially, looked at by a leading powerlifter in my country, and it checked out. No doubt it can be improved, but at least its ok. Like the other lifts.

What do I need to do, to get my squat going? Its still going up, but at a much slower rate than the other lifts during the course of a year.

Is it a matter of technique? Programming? I´ve run 531 the last 1,5 year. Considering switching to one of the fullbody templates, which has you squatting 3 times a week.

In this video is a recent 4 rep max.

Put a belt on - it will help you out.

Form looks fine stop squating in front of a mirror for one. Try throwing in pauses maybe once a week up the volume or frequency or insensity. All you can really do and eat for dat squat pr

More volume. As long as you can recover adequately.
5.3.1 isn’t bad, its just not a lot of total volume.
If you like that program, just add another squat day, and don’t neglect your core work.

@tsantos Yea, I’ve considered the belt aswell. Using it on my heaviest set of DL. I´ll start using it while squatting.

I´ll try and up the weekly volume/frequency aswell. I´ll see what my body can recover from. I´m doing ab rollouts and back raises a couple of times a week.

Funny you mention the mirror thing. A few times a month I use a different gym without mirrors, and that is more challenging. The thought behind this is that I will be better at activating the right muscles without using my sight as stimuli/initiator?

Thx guys, you have put it in perspective. Its good to get some new eyes on whats going on in my head.

https://youtu.be/OTquzDmeAbc Listen to what Stan had to say in this video. About the mirror it does your form more harm than good and you won’t have a mirror in a comp so I wouldn’t train with one. You should be able to squat without seeing yourself. Your form should become muscle memory extactly the same on every rep learning without a mirror to control your body will help you in the long run

stay away from the bloody mirror lol

i’ve noticed that when I squat in front of a mirror, the weight feels heavy as f, and it’s not moving right. You get caught up in looking at your body and the different things that are happening and lose focus.

You need a mirror only when you are doing biceps curls.

  • make your quads stronger. Do front squats
  • get tighter under the bar, you seemed loose to me.
  • try low bar.
  • get a wider stance
  • do some jumps for explosiveness
  • do a lot of lunges (they help with poverty squats and are easy to do, if you don’t feel them, try reverse-lunges)
  • put on a belt
  • do some stretching so you can get in a better postion, you seemed a bit limited in your movement

you can alway be strongerest


I personaly like the mirror but it does make comps a bit harder though I still hit roughly where I’m at anyway

I don’t know how anyone can answer this question with the really limited information you’ve provided.

You say you’re running 5/3/1 but what exactly does your programming look like? Are you tracking your volume and progress? Have you charted that out to see where your progress began to slow down?

Are you sleeping OK? How many hours? Eating OK? How many kcals? Are you gaining or losing weight?

I would spend some quality time researching the Wendler sub-forum here and his site. Also check out the articles at EFS. They also have a great youtube channel.


You get decent volume running multiple FSL sets. Add in a squat variation after DL and you’re getting even more.

How can you even say that without even knowing what template he’s using?

As stated in my original post, my other lifts are progressing well, which should indicate the basics are ok. Im in a caloriesurplus, gained 9 kg in a year, and sleeping could be better, about 7 hours.

I just came off Beyond 1.1-1.4, which has you squatting alternating 1 and 2 times per week. My squat progress has always been slow. It only went up 30kg the last year, where dl was 60kg and bp 27.5kg.

It’s true my mobility could be better, but how much would it improve my squat if I can get below parallel with good form as it is?

I don’t think anyone can answer that, but what I can tell you is that when you squat to full depth, there are more muscles or fibers involved, which will help you develop more strenght. Not to mention how much out of the stretch reflex you can get. I guess you have seen weightlifters who do a clean and then can’t get right up on the front squat portion, they just sink a bit and bounce off and get up. It’s a powerful tool.

When you learn how to do that, you start using pauses so that you are training your “raw” power. You combine this “skill” with the power you got and BOOM + over 45lbs on your squat in no time.
It’s like training your bench with feet up and learning leg drive

Full range of motion = more gains

It was an assumption based off this comment. If he is thinking of switching to squatting 3x a week, then that may trend towards more volume. I was just encouraging him in that direction. Still an assumption though, your’e right.

One thing to keep in mind is that the squat is the most technical of the powerlifts. So for me, what that meant at one time is that I had to ‘practice’ the movement in order to get pounds on the bar. I think the 3x squat template could be good for that.

Also, it might be a muscle thing. It could be time to beef up your legs. Don’t be afraid of things like leg extensions, leg curls, and leg presses because you think they might be ‘non-functional’. Muscle is muscle and when you put a bar on your back that could potentially crush you often enough, you’re body will find a way to use that extra leg muscle. Split squat variations are great too. Of course, front squats are awsome because they can do this while also ingraining good squat habits.

I liked to do squat variations 3x a week while I’ll only do barbell bench and barbell deadlift variations once a week. I had a heavy day, a hypertrophy day, and a day where I’ll follow the lower to mid range of prilepin’s table in 70-85% range and try to move the bar as fast as I can. I just put that there for an example of how to set it up without killing yourself.

I remember in one full body template by Wendler, you do just the minumum reps twice a week and once a week push it. I also think I remember that as you acclimate, you can start to add reps to the minumum. I’m already thinking of zillions of ways you could set this up using 5/3/1 ideas and principles to creat your own template with it still being 5/3/1.

Good advice on here. I would suggest, if you’re not already doing it, to apply as much force to the bar as possible each rep. You said you are doing a 4RM in the video which explains why it looks a bit slow and lax. Treat every rep like a 1RM attempt. Descend as fast as you can without dying and consciously apply all you have to the bar on the way up. Look up CAT training and the effects of moving weight as fast as possible. I have taken my squat up 30 lbs in the last 3 months by squatting the same weight twice a week and just trying to move the weight faster each rep.

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the CAT thing is great but please don’t be the next poster on here with a topic “bar fell off my back”

If a particular lift is stalled, you must back off the other two and focus more on the lagging lift. You should always be able to maintain or make slight progress on the other two while backing off on them. Focus on squatting a little more until you start to see some progress. This is how to bring your total up. Whatever you do make sure you can recover or your efforts will be useless.

All other things like rest and nutrition must be good.

Simply put, to squat more, you have to squat more.

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Why does everyone give so much flack for squatting with a mirror? I have never not squatted in front of one and had no issues with depth at my meet.

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