T Nation

Squats: Lower Vs. More Weight

i started doing squats a few weeks ago and am still very weak doing the squat.
a trainer tought me the right form.
when doing the squat, is it more important to go as low as possible with less weight or to add more weight but only going halfway down?
I am asking because if i try to go really low, I am having a super hard time adding more than the bb and maybe 2o lb to my squat. if i don’t go as low, i can add more weight.

I say stick with a full range of motion. You’ll start adding pounds on in no time, don’t sweat it. Go to the gym for yourself, not to impress other people with how many plates you can load onto a bar.

1/2 and even 1/4 squats have their place, but if you are just starting out you need to go full ROM. Don’t worry about adding weight too quickly. If you are eating and resting enough your gains will surely come.

Do both but more of the full rom. Half will just have you get used to having weight on your back.

[quote]Airtruth wrote:
Do both but more of the full rom. Half will just have you get used to having weight on your back.[/quote]

Exactly both are tools but id spend 90% of the time full ROM.

Phill

by full ROM do you mean parallel or ATG?

IF you go ATG with your current weight then move up in weight and do parallel.

Or you can use box squats to get used to a heavier weight. It’ll make you better at lifting out from the hole and not using elasticity so when you go from box with the heavier weight to without the box you can still go deep

I’ld stick to full ROM ATG squats mate. Like has already been said do it for yourself not to impress ppl with the amount of plates on the BB.
Wont be long and you’ll be adding weight.

Full ROM all the way for a healthy beginner. It’s much more safe to learn the proper technique with weights that you’re certain you’ll be able to bring back up even if you go “too deep”. As a beginner, your support muscles will still be weak, and hence it’s much more risky to perform the movement with near-limit weights.

Like the other guys said, don’t sweat it: eat enough, squat hard and safe, and you will see good progress!

PS. There’s lots of info about joint safety etc. with different squat styles - Google will tell more.

Oh yeah, forgot one thing: If you experience pain (beyond the obvious muscle stress, of course), stop and think before repeating.

For what its worth, if I go ATG in a back squat, my lower back rounds at the bottom. I go until my hams touch my calves and then drive back up.

The problem with going “to parallel” is that most people who try for parallel never really get to parallel. The top of your quad has to be parallel to the floor, not your hamstrings.


(This guy is not getting to parallel)


(This guy is close)

The difference between true parallel and hams touching calves is very short so you might as well just get down there.

Thats my opinion anyway.

This dude is hitting parallel and you can see his calves and hamstrings have made contact already. I think for most back squats you do, you should be getting as deep as this dude with whatever weight you can handle.

http://gladstone.uoregon.edu/~j15/gundy-bcksqt.jpg

And here’s a video of a dude squatting proper (has a decent vert too):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DMvEzF5vDXA&mode=related&search=

thanks for the input!

one more thing…when i try to go low, it seems like i cannot keep my feet parallel to each other facing forward…my right foot starts turning outwards so that the toes are pointing to the right. must be sth wrong with my ankles or so. but is it ok to have toes pointing slightly outward instead of straight forward?

[quote]Philly wrote:
thanks for the input!

one more thing…when i try to go low, it seems like i cannot keep my feet parallel to each other facing forward…my right foot starts turning outwards so that the toes are pointing to the right. must be sth wrong with my ankles or so. but is it ok to have toes pointing slightly outward instead of straight forward?[/quote]

STOP! your feet are not supposed to be parallel to each other. When you do that you can’t go as low, your back rounds on top of your legs, your shins come forward too much and you’ll put too much pressure on the knees.

Remember, you have to Squat BETWEEN your legs. Your body is slug between the legs not on top of it. Look at the pic below.

Also keep a big chest, and keep your weight on your heels.

Look at this video by Dan John. The 1st 10-15min show people how to squat right.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-6529481301858251744&q=dan+john&hl=en

you can also check his website www.danjohn.org, and read his articles here at T-Nation.

[quote]Philly wrote:
thanks for the input!

one more thing…when i try to go low, it seems like i cannot keep my feet parallel to each other facing forward…my right foot starts turning outwards so that the toes are pointing to the right. must be sth wrong with my ankles or so. but is it ok to have toes pointing slightly outward instead of straight forward?[/quote]

Yes

Just to emphasize STOP!!!
You don’t want knee pain.

[quote]NeoSpartan wrote:
Philly wrote:
thanks for the input!

one more thing…when i try to go low, it seems like i cannot keep my feet parallel to each other facing forward…my right foot starts turning outwards so that the toes are pointing to the right. must be sth wrong with my ankles or so. but is it ok to have toes pointing slightly outward instead of straight forward?

STOP! your feet are not supposed to be parallel to each other. When you do that you can’t go as low, your back rounds on top of your legs, your shins come forward too much and you’ll put too much pressure on the knees.

Remember, you have to Squat BETWEEN your legs. Your body is slug between the legs not on top of it. Look at the pic below.

Also keep a big chest, and keep your weight on your heels.

Look at this video by Dan John. The 1st 10-15min show people how to squat right.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-6529481301858251744&q=dan+john&hl=en

you can also check his website www.danjohn.org, and read his articles here at T-Nation.
[/quote]

I watched that video a number of months ago and it was the biggest eye-opener for me, it really put all the pieces in place. Mind you he’s teaching the front squat not the back, but similar biomechanics apply.

I highly HIGHLY recommend that video.

Are you doing wide stance or narrow stance squats?

Anyway, in either case, unless you have a specific reason for doing partials, other than using more weight, don’t do them.

It sounds stupid, but when you are advanced enough to get into more advanced strategies, you should know you are ready for them. In the mean time, use good form and a decent number of reps in your lifts.

Find the threads on here, written by the coaches, concerning squat form. Also, if you can, find somebody that knows enough to help you with your form, and make sure they understand that different people have different limb and torso lengths.

Stay low. Many people have got to accept the fact that their body most likely does not work properly and has to be slowly brought around to be able to work. The idea that many people can learn a squat and execute it properly in a few weeks or even a month is ridiculous.

The reason I am saying this is simple. People are so fixed on weight and in improving rapidly they will hurt themselves in the long term. I look at it like this. If you dont develop your ability to do a full squat, you can look back in a few years at your half assed ROM shitty squat and your embrace of the leg press to help fill out your ego, and you will remember this moment and will have come to the realization that

your fucking body doesnt even work!! You can do a full squat? A baby can do a full squat! You no longer have full use of your body. You are pathetic. If you cant full squat because you dont work on the quality you are pathetic.

[quote]Phill wrote:
Airtruth wrote:
Do both but more of the full rom. Half will just have you get used to having weight on your back.

Exactly both are tools but id spend 90% of the time full ROM.

Phill[/quote]

Agreed^^