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Squat Stability

I have a problem with stability when I squat after a certain weight for a couple of reasons. Mainly, I’ve wrestled for almost my entire life (including 3 years Division 1), but rarely took weightlifting seriously. Because of this, I have an asymmetrical body, with my lead leg being significantly stronger than the other. For example, I can relatively easily do a one-legged squat with my good one, and I have to bust my ass and shake on the way up with my bad one. When I squat a light weight (such as warm ups and maybe my first set), I have been told I have very good form, and it feels so to me. However, after that, when the weight is a bit heavier, I can go controlled all the way to a bit below parallel, but when I go to bring it up, I almost swivel my hips to put the majority of the load on my right leg. I can get the weight up clean without rounding my back and still keeping on my heels, but I know my right leg is doing the brunt of the lifting.

I would stick with the highest weight that I have perfect form at but my left leg is still way weaker and I’m stagnating because my right leg is getting worked harder. Is there any way I can help balance the two out so that I can squat perfectly all the time? I’ve thought about isolating each leg and building the weight for the left one up and holding the right one constant until the left catches up to it, but I don’t know if that will work. I know it’s a long post but it’s been driving me crazy, and now that I’m not on the team anymore, I actually want to focus on lifting and bust my ass but I can’t ask our strength coach. Any suggestions would be awesome, thanks.

That was way too long, basic problem, I can’t squat correctly because one leg is way stronger than the other. How do I fix it?

Single leg squats, lunges, basically… single leg work.

If you can do one-leg squats on the weaker leg, try doing them first every lower body workout.

Thanks for the advice so far, but to clarify, should I keep doing regular squats along with the single leg workouts? And if so, should I stick with the low weight and good form, or the high weight but shifted?

I’d say to keep doing the single leg work to help even out the imbalance.

However, more importantly you need to teach your body to squat properly. Choose a moderate weight and do multiple sets of 2-3 reps, never more. Do between 15-20 sets.

Form and concentration break down after the first few reps. your best rep should always be your first, so by doing 20 sets you get 20 of your best reps.

Once your body learns the technique, the weight will come.

Lastly, read the squat articles on here, there is at least on really good one by Dave Tate.

[quote]Ruggerlife wrote:
However, more importantly you need to teach your body to squat properly. Choose a moderate weight and do multiple sets of 2-3 reps, never more. Do between 15-20 sets.

Form and concentration break down after the first few reps. your best rep should always be your first, so by doing 20 sets you get 20 of your best reps.

Once your body learns the technique, the weight will come.

Lastly, read the squat articles on here, there is at least on really good one by Dave Tate.[/quote]

Never thought of that, but it makes sense.

[quote]spoonce wrote:
I’ve thought about isolating each leg and building the weight for the left one up and holding the right one constant until the left catches up to it, but I don’t know if that will work. [/quote]

Yes it will work, and this is what you should do. Start with the weak leg, do x sets each leg then do an extra one for the weak leg. Stick to single leg stuff until the imbalance is fixed. You could do some standard squats at the end just to keep your form, but if you work hard enough at the single leg stuff you should be flat out squatting with more than the bar.

As for what exercises to do, Mike Boyle had a good article recently on single leg work. Ian King is also a great advocate of single leg stuff and it would be worth searching his articles.

[Edit] save you the trouble: here’s the first of his classic “Limping” series:
http://www.T-Nation.com/readTopic.do?id=459546

Ok, I’m reading all the articles, thanks for the help guys.

Single leg work also blasts your core! I wouldn’t be surprised if all of your lifts started to increase dramatically.