When I squat, my quadriceps seem to be working much harder than my hip extensors (glutes and hamstrings). After a good squat workout, my quads will be so fatigued I can hardly stand up, but my hip extensors feel relatively fresh. WHY is this? I’m using a pretty narrow stance and descending to parallel or slightly below… any ideas as to what might be going on?

narrow stance would hit the quads more…open your stance up

yeah narrow stance will hit the quads more due to the increase movement of you knees over you toes to keep balance (therfor a bigger change in knee joint angle during the movement). Widen you stance and you can sit back more bringing you hammies more into play (IF thats what you want!)

Make sure you?re squatting BACK, and not just down. Try going all the way down (with lighter weight at first) while sitting back. If that don’t hit the glutes and hams, send out a search party cause they have escaped!

  1. Do wide stance Squats. Let the focus be on extending at the hips.

  2. Do 1 1/4 Squats, emphasizing the lower portion of the movement. The Glutes take the majority of the work in this portion.

  3. Incorporate Deadlifts, Good Mornings, if you’re having such big problem hitting the Hammies/glutes with Squats.

Help a little brother out!

When I do squats, I guess I go down to what you’d call 1/2 position. Sorry guys, but my knees just can’t take more than that. Parallel would kill me. Past parellel would kill me, then bury me!

Question: while my legs feel great after squats, what can I do to ‘make up’ for my lack of range? And what the f#ck is a Good Morning?

FYI: I’m able to do 315-405lbs in 6-rep sets my way, but I cry like a baby when I use 135lbs past parellel.


I’d call parallel “1/2 position” so sounds to me what you’re doing would be closer to 1/4 squats.

And what do you mean your knees can’t take more than that? Full squats are better for your knees.

You already know the answer:

So that’s your answer - drop the weight (and your ego) and start doing real squats.

Thank you Mook,

Yep…he said it! Drop the ego and start doing ATG squats (Ass To Grass) as that is where you will get all the “bang for your buck.” There have been numerous studies which state that full squats DO NOT put any undue stress on your knees as compared to 1/2 squats or 1/4 (or pussy) squats. Trust me my man…you will get MUCH more benefit from doing full squats in the long run

You should be doing parallel at minimum. 1/4 squats (while they have their place in a proper workout) are shit generally. 315-405 1/4 squat is nothing. Play with the big boys and do 350 minimum below parallel! Ok seriously though, there are article written that show 1/4 squats put your knee joint at a 90 degree angle. This is the Worst position for you knees to be at a dead stop trying to reverse the direction of the weight. when you go to parallel your knees is at a much more stable position since the angle is more like 45 degrees, and your muscles are loaded and can support the directional shift. Furthermore, you get greater muscle recruitment and thus greater leg development.

Finally, a Good Morning is a hamstring exercise similar to a stiff legged deadlift. You place the bar across your back (like a back squat). Slight bend in your knees (just unlocked or a little more). Your knee angle doesn’t change from this position throughout the movement. Then you bend forward from your hip until your upperbody is parallel or more to the floor. You can round your back, or keep it flat though I prefer flat backed. And when I say rounded back I mean CONTROLLED…not that the weight is so heavy it forces you to round out. There’s a huge difference in the type of flexion of your back that results from one vs. the other.

I hope this helps

i dunno why people whine abouat deep squats hurting your knees…i have a gimpy right knee due to a pulled tendon (high school injury) and squatting SAVED it. now it’s stronger and i can run on any surface and even do some leg extensions :wink:

huzzah…squat DEEP.

yeah when i first started to do ass to grass squats my ego went in the shitter.

Jeez guys, thanks for wiping your asses with my ego. I feel soooo much better now!

Okay, okay, I’ll flush my ‘pussy’ 1/4’s down the drain and try the real thing. I admit that it’s been many years since I’ve even attempted a full squat, so I have no idea what weight I should start with. I’ll give it a go with 135 and see what happens. I use safety bars in case I need to ‘remove’ myself from the Smith machine…I’d prefer workout partners, but mine are all pussies who are afraid of squats. Arrgh!

Any ideas on what I can expect reagrding progress with the AssToGrass style? Will I start out real weak but get to a decent weight once I adapt, or am I in for the long, painful climb back to respecatble weight? And what is respectable for a 140 pounder like me? I need goals to shoot for!

Thanks for the input guys!


I’d suggest you remove yourself from the smith machine altogether.

Back?!? :stuck_out_tongue:

Who knows how you’ll progress … you’ll probably see some decent newbie gains at least.

try knocking out some wide stance box-squats so that you can learn to sit-back, as burke said earlier. By sitting back, you work your hips, hams, glutes, etc.

I’d like to change my advice, or at least add to it. Your not getting anything from squats cause you?re not doing any. Good for you for getting past your preconceptions about full squats being bad. Let us know how it goes. Screw ego, get results!

The smith machine is what’s hurting your knees dude.

Adding my Vixen .02 worth.

I took this same advice not too long ago and it DID work. Lighten the load, get the hell off the Smith Machine, take it low, take it low. Only after following this advice was I able to increase my pounds on the bar. Deep squats…aaaahhhhhh…they feel soooooo good!!

These guys know what they be talking about!!

Good thing you have a sense of humor, you are going to need it here!!

Little Jay: 6 rep quarter squats in the smith machine?

you’re in for a rude awakening (and some growth) once you get a free bar on your back.

this is misleading and confusing, well to me that is.

1/4 squats put your knee joint at a 90 degree angle. This is the Worst position for you knees to be at a dead stop trying to reverse the direction of the weight. when you go to parallel your knees is at a much more stable position since the angle is more like 45 degrees,

1/4 squats are 1/4 from the top, down giving you a angle closer to 135 not 90. and saying parallel means your quads are parallel to the floor. resulting in a 90 degree angle not 45.
a full squat will give you closer to a 45 angle than 90.


Okay, so maybe I don’t know what the hell a Smith machine is! I’ve been doing squats inside a ‘rack’ that simply allows me to slide spotter bars wherever I’d like them to ‘catch’ the bar if I need to drop it (you know, sissy bars). They permit me to squat 'till failure. The bar is free, and the rack is free of any machinery. It’s just something that allowed me to have done the exercise without a spotter.

For the real squats, I’ll stay inside the rack (without the spotter bars), so if I shit myself silly, fewer people will see me and the brown spot. :slight_smile:

Tommorrow is the day I try this Ass2Grass thing, so if I don’t respond in 48 hours, assume I cried like a Nancy and officially retired from squatting (just josh’n).