T Nation

Squats: Descent Speed?


hola mi t-nacion familia!!!

A long time ago everyone told me I squatted way too slowly. I descended slowly, I paused at the bottom, and I went up almost in slow motion.

During yesterday's squat session I decided to adpot this "shut up and squat" mentality, where I bascially squatted everything as fast as I possibly could cause I was sick and tired of having a shitt, totally lame-sauce squat.

It went semi-okay... I mean stuff moved fast, so it felt easy-ish.

Then I read that descending your squat quickly was a bad idea and you are supposed to go down in a slowish, controlled manner.
Then I read on yet another website were people were saying they liked to go down slow, but then kinda drop into the hole really fast to get that rebound whatsit.

So I did that today cause I wanted to re-do yesterday's 'wrong' squatting, and it felt okay, but kinda awkward.

It seems like I should either go fast all the way down, or slow all the way down, doing both requires a bit too much thinking, maybe...

ANYWAy, I would like some advice, please and thank you!!



I think its mostly personal preference. Do whatever you think makes you squat more/is more comfortable.


Most of it is personal preference, I think. There are way too many good squatters at both extremes to definitively say one way is wrong. (Watch a video of Eric Lillebridge and Stan Efferding training together for a good example) I've read some studies that showed a total eccentric time between 1- and 2-seconds resulted in the best combination of muscle recruitment and stretch reflex in the concentric phase, but in practice, that might be a minimal advantage; I don't recall seeing specifics on how their subjects squatted, either, so who knows.


My two cents is this: some speed "should" definitely help to take advantage of the stretch reflex, but you HAVE to stay tight. So, in my mind, I am always striving for as much speed as possible, while not sacrificing "tightness", and control.


Since down faster equals up faster, down faster is "better." That being said, being tight is better than being loose, and most people can't descend quickly while maintaining tightness. Personally, tightness beats descending fast. However, I think I'm one of those people who dips at the bottom, and I seem to get more rebound. I might also lose tightness though so I've been working on it. Enough rambling, overall, it's probably a preference thing.


Yeah everyone is pretty much hitting the nail on the head. Faster descent = better, but only to the point that you do not sacrifice tightness. In my own training, i always follow the same pattern. I realize I'm descending too slowly, so I try and go faster. After a few workouts I am moving with a perfect blend of speed, control and tightness, and I nail a few workouts, then I start dropping a little too fast so I shoot out of the hole and come to a screeching halt because I was too soft to drive through the sticking point. Then I start squatting slower and more controlled again and the cycle starts over.

Basically, it's all about finding that perfect blend of speed, control and tightness, and working to recreate that every time. Some days you will be moving too slow, and other days you will move too fast and be soft, but just keep working at it.

And now, some videos of all different speeds, for funzies.





Thank you for the advice friendzilla's!

Today went a lot better cause I went a medium speed, LOL. Whoda thunk that not doing something on either end of the exteme was the best way to go?!


I know its already been mentioned but here is Efferding breaking down his squat form a little bit:


N.K., AWESOME POST. All of those videos kick ass, but Shane Hamman's squat literally made me cringe.


Hahaha I love the way Hamman squats. He is just so damn HUGE its insane that he moves that fast. And the fact that it's over 900 pounds just makes the speed even more unbelievable.

And to Spock, glad you found a middle ground that worked well for you. Keep at it.