T Nation

Squat Lagging Behind, Tight Achilles?


#1

I wasn’t sure if this would be a good place to ask this question but here goes- Basic stats- 32 years old, 6’, 190lbs, 11% bf, been lifting consistently for about 5 years, really started focusing on progressive strength increase over the past 6-8 months though.

My Barbell squat has been lagging significantly behind my Benchpress and Deadlift. I have a shoulder issue that I have struggled to work through but have managed to hit 305lbs on my Bench and Deadlift 425lbs, but my Squat gets very unstable at my current max of 335lbs when rising from the bottom of the motion when starting at parallel. I know that it should be at least another 40-50lbs. The only thing that I can think of that might be inhibiting that is the fact that I have tight achilles tendons that inhibit the range of motion in my foot when moving it back towards my ankle. I think that it is causing me to have some difficulty in the transfer of energy through my heel to the floor in an effective and stable manner. Can anyone refer me to any movements that might help to improve this condition or any resources that might help me correct this? Thanks!


#2

What do you mean unstable? What does it feel like?


#3

It’s tough to give any useful advice without a video. If you can post one here it’d be a help.

Just on the basis of what you’ve said, it could be anything.

You could try putting pressure not just on the heels but on the whole outside of the foot and work on spreading the floor. That’d help you push your knees out rather than forward. I’ve found that to be a generally helpful cue, but as above, without a video it’s tough to really give useful advice.


#4

I sorted horribly tight ankles in about 2 weeks using this:

Wrap a band around a post.
Then around one leg, just above the ankle
Step away from the post (face the post), putting lots of tension on the band
Get in a proposing position with banded leg forward
Push your knees forward as far as you can (push on your knees with your hands)
Return to start position
Perform 20 reps
Repeat on the other side
Repeat again on both sides, this time facing away from the post.

The other thing to look for is lack of internal rotation of the hip (easy test is lay on your back, legs straight out. Bend one hip and knee at 90 degrees. Twist your leg so your knee stays where it is (and at 90 degrees) and your ankle moves away from your body. If your lower leg does stick out to 30 degrees, you have an issue. Another dead give away is if you need to point your toes way out to hit depth). Use band distraction for this as well - search YouTube


#5

Definitely post a side view video of you squatting. Other than that where is your instability? (Knee, torso, ankle, etc.) If you want to know how to increase ankle mobility, I’d start at anything written/ made by Kelly Starrett and then look at California Strength’s youtube page if you need anything else


#6

Surprised no one mentioned that that’s a common squat to deadlift ratio. Only reason why your bench is better for lack of a better word is cause you’ve trained it harder. If you squatted 375-385 I would expect your deadlift to be close to 475+


#7

Unstable like I can’t quite drive force to the floor properly through my my heels with very heavy (for me) weight. Almost like I’m going to fall backwards.

I appreciate the tips guys- Next time I do squats, I’ll try to take a side video. Also, how frequently are you guys hitting legs? Right now I’m doing a 5 day split for volume with one leg day. Most often, I like to do push/pull/legs, but I’m up for experimenting


#8

I do legs two days then off a day then two days then off a day then pull


#9

@romes20 I usually squat once to twice a week. Deadlift the same usually, but I’ve started to replace it with box squats on occasion now. Never more than once a week heavy for squats, usually once every ten to 14 days for heavy DL.


#10

Also, I notice that the only way that I feel stable is when I take a wider stance, too narrow and things get dicey. I know that one can vary the placement of your feet just like you could on a leg press to emphasize different muscle groups but for a traditional high-bar back squat, how close do you try to keep your feet placement? This might be another thing for me to take a closer look at- better to work on stability at moderate weight than fight for stability with heavy weight.


#11

There could be a lot of things going on but without a video, it would be tough to tell. a lot of the problem could be with your set up, bar position or even the cues you are running in your head.

I show a couple of things that i do to get ready for my squat days in this video. It really seems to help break up anything in my ankles and eliminates similar problems to what you are describing