T Nation

Squats and Soreness

I have noticed that when I do squats that my quads are incredibly sore. Sometimes so much so I get random muscle spasms and can barely walk…But when I perform the squat I always feel the burning in my hamstrings and glutes. Rarely ever do I feel anything in my quads except at the top half of the lift. I use a slightly wide stance and perform the box squat to about 12" depth. My weight is kept on my heals throughout the movement.

Any idea why this is? This weekend it was particularly bad.

This is just a shot in the dark, but it could be that you had a good squat workout.

I am unsure of your experience level, but I dealt with about two months of constant soreness as I began barbell training. I was learning to squat, front squat, deadlift, bench, row and other fun stuff all at the same time, not to mention giving my body quite the jolt compared to a decade + of sedentary behavior. The soreness and stiffness was disruptive to the point that I stopped doing any physical activity besides lifting and stretching for a period.

It is better now, and I usually wake up knowing that I lifted heavy but feel great by the time I am out of the shower.

Keep squatting!

I don’t really see the problem here.

Muscle spasms are a sign of muscle growth or dehydration. Drink a lot of water.

What are you doing for the warm-up/cool-down?

[quote]Aero51 wrote:
I have noticed that when I do squats that my quads are incredibly sore. Sometimes so much so I get random muscle spasms and can barely walk…But when I perform the squat I always feel the burning in my hamstrings and glutes. Rarely ever do I feel anything in my quads except at the top half of the lift. I use a slightly wide stance and perform the box squat to about 12" depth. My weight is kept on my heals throughout the movement.

Any idea why this is? This weekend it was particularly bad.[/quote]

Do you squat high or low bar? If you perform high bar while keeping your torso relatively upright throughout the ROM (similar a bit to a front squat), then the focus shifts more to the quads than a low bar squat which places more of the emphasis on the posterior chain.

I do not experience quad soreness squatting low bar (moreso in the glutes), but on occasion when I push it hard on front squats I will experience soreness there.

[quote]Souldozer wrote:

[quote]Aero51 wrote:
I have noticed that when I do squats that my quads are incredibly sore. Sometimes so much so I get random muscle spasms and can barely walk…But when I perform the squat I always feel the burning in my hamstrings and glutes. Rarely ever do I feel anything in my quads except at the top half of the lift. I use a slightly wide stance and perform the box squat to about 12" depth. My weight is kept on my heals throughout the movement.

Any idea why this is? This weekend it was particularly bad.[/quote]

Do you squat high or low bar? If you perform high bar while keeping your torso relatively upright throughout the ROM (similar a bit to a front squat), then the focus shifts more to the quads than a low bar squat which places more of the emphasis on the posterior chain.

I do not experience quad soreness squatting low bar (moreso in the glutes), but on occasion when I push it hard on front squats I will experience soreness there.[/quote]

Shouldn’t you still feel something, though? I’ve got another thread going about a similar issue, since I have a love/hate relationship with my squat, and I’m trying to figure out how to get the most out of my training.

I squat high bar, upright, like you discussed, and it’s definitely quad dominant for me. I thought my problem was mainly inability to engage my glutes and hams, but maybe it’s just the setup. Either way, I struggle to ever really FEEL my glutes/hams while squatting like this, and I even have issues with feeling them doing RDLs/bridges sometimes.

I love front squats, and would like to work in wide stance box squats to try and bring up that movement pattern, but I don’t want to involve too many movements in my novice training.

[quote]Apothecary wrote:

[quote]Souldozer wrote:
[Do you squat high or low bar? If you perform high bar while keeping your torso relatively upright throughout the ROM (similar a bit to a front squat), then the focus shifts more to the quads than a low bar squat which places more of the emphasis on the posterior chain.

I do not experience quad soreness squatting low bar (moreso in the glutes), but on occasion when I push it hard on front squats I will experience soreness there.[/quote]

Shouldn’t you still feel something, though? I’ve got another thread going about a similar issue, since I have a love/hate relationship with my squat, and I’m trying to figure out how to get the most out of my training.

I squat high bar, upright, like you discussed, and it’s definitely quad dominant for me. I thought my problem was mainly inability to engage my glutes and hams, but maybe it’s just the setup. Either way, I struggle to ever really FEEL my glutes/hams while squatting like this, and I even have issues with feeling them doing RDLs/bridges sometimes.

I love front squats, and would like to work in wide stance box squats to try and bring up that movement pattern, but I don’t want to involve too many movements in my novice training. [/quote]

I think we are on the same page here.

Because I squat low bar (and also deadlift conventional and do posterior assistance lifts), I perform front squats as an assistance lift to bring up my quads because I have the OPPOSITE issue that you do as a high bar squatter.

If you are a high bar/front squatter primarily, I’d say to be sure to include plenty of posterior work in your programming (e.g. conventional deadlift, SLDL, RDL, glute-ham raise, good mornings, hip thrusts, yada yada).