T Nation

Squats-What Approach Should I be Taking?


#1

I have only been lifting/eating seriously for the past 7 weeks as I had spent the prior 4 months on a strict low carb diet which made lifting any decent amout of weight impossible.
I train a 4 day split and on leg days I have been deep squatting 220lb until failure or near failure. (assuming the bar weights 44lb as I have been told).

I have kept my reps at 12 and over time simply added more sets to the mix as I don't want to add more weight and decrease the reps incase I pop a kneecap or cause an injury.I have used different stances to hit different muscles and I have noticed that my knee's are sore about 4-6 days after leg workouts and I'm not sure whether or not this is my body adjusting or I'm doing too much too soon.

After my leg workouts (usually 24-72hrs after) I am experiencing extreme delayed onset muscle soreness to the point where I skip work.(I'm self employed )

Last week I did my 5 sets (easy this time) and then threw on an extra 44lb and did one more set of 12 and then moved onto the smith machine where I squatted 2 x 12 132lb (super deep/arse 1 ft from ground level)
Then over to the 45deg Leg Press where I do 3 x 12 of my max (I know I should but by this point in time I cant even be bothered adding up the weight but it's f@cking heavy for me)

Then I do 5 x 12 goodmornings followed by 6 x 15 calf raises ( all at max)

Well thats my leg day finished and by this time I look and feel like I need a fking wheelchair to cart me out of the gym and the doms STILL come back as strong as ever. (7th week in a row)

Does this routine make sense for somebody that has only been lifting seriously for 7 weeks or has it got some serious flaws?

I'm thinking that at my stage in lifting anything is going to work and my plan was to keep with this routine until the DOMS becomes less debilitating and only then I would pile on some more weight and decrease the amount of reps.

Am I on the right track?

My goals are maximum muscle growth in minimal time with zero injuries and to have a threesome with Japanese twins. (but i don't think you guys can help me with that one.)


#2

Your basic social skills and seduction skills will be the one thing that's get you a threesome... Anyway, to your training.

You're doing some type of "anatomical adaptation" thingy which was described in Tudor Bompa's book as "lifting light loads"... I think it's a waste of time even for a newb. Have you heard of the "heavy light medium" program? It's perfect for newbs...

There's not much to expect with light weights...

And for your supplements. There's this amazing thing called ummm... I forgot the name of it. I bought it at SafeWay the other day... Oh, yeah, it's called "milk". You should drink lots of it. Your actual training matters more than the type of protein you're shoving down your gullet.

Good luck!


#3

The knee pain could be caused by letting your knees drift too far forward when you squat. It could also be that you're causing an imbalance between your quads and hams by doing 11 sets for one and only 5 for the other. It could also be from squatting in the smith machine.

Soreness to the point that you're missing work means you're doing too much too soon. Do your 5 sets of squats, if it's too easy, add weight next time. 3 sets of leg press is perfect, and you could superset with calf raises right there without moving. 5x12 GM's for hams (you are focusing on your hams, right?) and leg curls would prob help with the knee pain (GM's don't work the part of the hams that flexes the knee).

That will give you a more balanced leg workout, and should decrease your suffering.


#4

Slow down your reps, maybe your doing them too fast and putting added stress on your ligaments.


#5

A fews tips to reduce DOMS:

  • stretching right after weight training (as done in the DC training style);
  • taking a good amount of BCAA (at least 1 gr every 10lbs of bodyweight); if you can afford, take them before, during and after training (eg, if you' 200lbs, take 3x20gr);
  • active recovery: light jogging, swimming, walking at a brisk pace...the day after leg training;

As JayPierce said, you should balance quad/hams ratio, for long-term knees health (and I wouldn't go very low on Smith machine...if I squatted in it at all...which I don't do...for knee health :wink:


#6

While I worship the squat as the granddaddy of all exercises; since you're going for pure hypertrophy, I would recommend a high intensity approach consisting of a 6-set superset leg press/leg curls with a 15-20 rep scheme for leg press and 10-12 reps for leg curls. Polish it off with 4 sets of calf raises and you should be done in less than half an hour (when I did this I usually puked even before getting to the calf raises).

The routine described above has a low/moderate volume and high intensity and thus should stimulate, but not annihilate you, plus it's harder to fuck up your form on single-limb movements like the leg press.


#7

TYPE2B WROTE

Your basic social skills and seduction skills will be the one thing that's get you a threesome... Anyway, to your training.

You're doing some type of "anatomical adaptation" thingy which was described in Tudor Bompa's book as "lifting light loads"... I think it's a waste of time even for a newb. Have you heard of the "heavy light medium" program? It's perfect for newbs...

There's not much to expect with light weights...

And for your supplements. There's this amazing thing called ummm... I forgot the name of it. I bought it at SafeWay the other day... Oh, yeah, it's called "milk". You should drink lots of it. Your actual training matters more than the type of protein you're shoving down your gullet.

Good luck!

Wow! So I walk around for 4 days a week looking as if I've got a large pineapple shoved up my arse and you say I need to up the intensity of my training. I know my weights suck at the moment... I'm a beginner!

Also it's a pity that they don't sell a "sense of humour" at Safeway as you could most definatly do with one.

Next time you go to Safeway to get ur ummm,I forget what it's called... Oh yeah, milk, whip across to the nearest bookshop and invest some of your pocket money into a dictionary and be sure to look up the word "beginner" ... They're amazing little tools full of practical information.

Well thanks for your useless advise as it is always appreciated and keep up the good work as you are a true inspiration for anybody that is seriously interested in this great sport.

Mc Muscles


#8

Yeah you advised me a while ago to add goodmornings and to drop the smith machine for squats and I have done so. This has worked well for me and I believe this is why I'm still getting doms each week.

I read that if one is experiencing doms that the workout intensity it enough to cause hypertrophy and I also read in a different article that beginers need not lift extreme amounts of weights to begin with to achieve optimum hypertrophy. I only use very light weight on smith machine after using the squatbox just to hit my legs in a different way.

My knee's a fine I think. They just need to get used to it all as I have lived a rather sedintary life for the past 10 years.
My main concern was with the amount of reps/sets and whether or not I'm taking the correct approach.

As for leg curls, the gym I go to doesn't have the equipment for them as he believes for some stupid reason that they cause injury. I'll wait until my membership runs out and change gyms.

Tommorrow is legs day for me so I will take into account what you have mentioned and get somebody experienced to watch how I'm performing them. I've been told that I'm using good form but a second opinion might shed some more light.
Thanks mate.


#9

Since you've only been going at it for 7 weeks it's not at all wierd that you get sore as shit man lol. I'm still a long way from squatting decent weights, but I've had days I couldn't fucking sit down on my ass properly let alone walk like a normal human being.

Also re-read Jay Pierces post, it's got all the info you need right there. You're form is most likely off on squats (you're a beginner so it's safe to say your form is off some way or the other, hell my form needs work too) also smith squats as jay said are horrible for your knees.

I've had knee pain with legcurls aswell as extensions so that might be something to think about also, most people don't however just saying :wink:

(super deep/arse 1 ft from ground level) <-- super deep is ATG not Ass to a Foot Off Grass :stuck_out_tongue:

Anyway reread jay's post and post a vid of your squatform

EDIT; Props for not fucking up your n00b period by going crazy on bench and curls (like most of us did :p) And you might want to eat @ maintenance at first so you have a little less DOMS as this could interfere with training in the early stages


#10

Well I am stretching quite a bit before and after traing but I'll have to look into DC training style as I don't know what that is.

I'm taking 5g BCAA 10mins before with gatorade, 5g during workout with gatorade and 5g in my shake 15mins after workout.

Light jogging? I'll give that a try... Even a brisk walk sounds good.I was lead to believe that this can limit your gains but no doubt I've been mislead.

Jay advised a while ago that I drop the smith machine for squats ( as that was the only form I was doing) which really worked but I kept just 2 set of very light weight just to really fuck my legs up. I'll drop it all together now.

Can you guys give me an idea of a good ratio to use that will balance my routine as I would only be guessing?


#11

Sounds hardcore for a begginer.More like something I would do when I start to plateu. Man, I'm simply not built for that shit yet... Not yet.


#12

Wow ,I had to google "props." Thanks dude and thanks for your advise.

I don't understand the last paragraph of what you wrote -

And you might want to eat @ maintenance at first so you have a little less DOMS as this could interfere with training in the early stages ??
How does that theory work ?


#13

Most guys cut calories immediately as part of their fitness program. Doing so hampers your ability to recover quickly. I think he was simply saying to increase your caloric intake for a little while, even if you're trying to lose weight.

Remember, you have to recover before you can grow. So the faster you can recover after a workout, the more time you have to grow before the next session. If your food intake is on track, and you're getting enough sleep, sometimes it's best to decrease volume (total number of sets) and then work your way back up, allowing your body to gradually get used to the increased workload.


#14

I increased the amount of carbs about a month ago as my recovery time was slow and I know I'm getting enough protein and fat. I'm thinking that this might have increased the intesity of my workouts therefore keeping the soreness at around the same level. I'll hit my legs with the same volume again today and see what happens. Chances are there is too much volume there but I need to find out for sure.
A while ago I had problems with sore shoulders and u stated that I probably need to take the volume down a notch. I did this but apparantly not enough as I have now missed 2 weeks worth of shoulder workouts in a row due to injury. They're slowly getting better though.
LOL -Maybe I'm just a slow learner


#15

1) http://dc-training.blogspot.com/2005/11/extreme-stretching.html

2) If you can't afford more, at least get 10g in your post-workout shake;

3) High-intensity cardio can slow down gains in lean mass...but all you need to do is to walk/jog for 15-20 mins, taking it very easy; it won't hurt!

4) Learn which exercises are quad dominant and which are hamstring dominant, then perform AT LEAST the same amount of set for both categories. I wrote "at least" because, for hamstring, beside knee-flexion exercises (eg. leg curl), is important to do a good amount of hip-extension movements (good morning, romanian deadlift, reverse hyperextension...).
If your gym has a glute-hams raise machine, you can't go wrong with it.


#16

I added 10g BCAA's to my PWO shake and I'l go for a light jog tommorrow. Thanks for the link on stretching. Stretching is a problem for me as I am yet to meet a person that is less flexable than myself. Even as a kid I could never touch my toes so thats something I'll have to work on.
My gym doesn't have a glute-hams raise machine so I'll just have to make do for now.

Thanks for taking the time to help.


#17

OK ... Thanks for your help guys.

It's been two weeks and I've taken all positive advise on board and it seems to have done the trick.

Last week I was sore but didn't become a semi-cripple and this week the doms are at a managable level.(What I would consider "normal")

I have been deep squatting 100-125kg 5-6 x 12 and I'm ready to increase the weight.

How many rep/sets should I now aim for if I am lifting until just shy of failure?

There are many routines that people swear by but these routines don't take into account the experience of the lifter which in my case would be only 8 (serious) leg workouts @ 1 per week so far.

I feel as though my legs are "conditioned" now so is there a basic rule of thumb I should follow from here on in?

EDIT- This question also applies to my deadlift as I have recently exceeded the "decent" status using the T-Nation standard guidelines while doing 5 x 12 (308lb).
Is there a basic rule here that I can apply to my future deadlifts?


#18

For deadlift: lower the reps. As you get strong, it will be very difficult to keep a good form during long sets (more than 8 reps). Most people limit DL sets to five reps, working up to a top set (aka "ramping set").

From your questions, it looks like you need a program to follow, at least until you can decide for yourself what to do. There are many beginner programs out there (Bill Starr/Madcow, Starting Strength, WestSide For Skinny Bastards III, Stronglifts 5x5...), just have a look at them and choose the one you prefer (even if they're pretty much the same :).

Last thing: for someone squatting for barely two months, you're quite strong; are you shure you hit a good depth (parallel, at least)? Please, don't be another "quarter-rep squatter" :slightly_smiling:


#19

Quit doing so many sets of squats, quit being a wuss and increase the weight, make sure your form isn't sloppy and jerky, and stretch your quads and hams for a few minutes after your legs day to reduce soreness.


#20

GO LOOK UP THE WORD BEGGINER IN A DICTIONARY IDIOTS