T Nation

Squatting Problems

Today was the first day that I tried to do squats. It was very humbling. I felt like a loser because there were a couple of hot girls nearby and I only had 25 on each side. I figured I would start by using a 5x5 method. The biggest problem I had was not with leg fatigue. I actually felt nothing when I was done. However, the bar felt very uncomfortable on my shoulders and at times it was not balanced.

Will I become a better squatter simply by continuing to do squats? Do you guys have any suggestions for getting comfortable with the load? And just for my ego, how much weight did you start off when you first started squatting?

I started with the bare bar. Not because it’s all the weight I could handle, but because I wanted to make SURE I had the form dialed before I tried to jack up the weight. Fortunately, I work out at home, so I don’t have the embarassment issues that you have.

Oh yeah. Not only was it a bare bar, but it wasn’t even an olympic bar. Maybe 25 lbs total.

Run a search on Box Squatting . This is an excellent way to learn to squat as it puts more emphasis on the hips and ass, and takes stress off the patela tendon. If you are really interested in squatting more weight check out this link:
www.elitefitnesssystems.com and look at articles. If you look at some of these programs they will really help. If you think about it, if you are trying to squat big weight, why not work out like some of the strongest men in the world do. Just my opinion.

Everyone starts somwhere, Congrats on starting to squat. Learn to love them, stay light until you get the form down. There are TONS of squat articles here and there are some video’s on the web to help as well if you are unsure of your form. And like anything else the more you do them the more comfortable you will become with them, hang tough, Big Gains will follow.

It might take time, but there will be a point when nothing you do in the gym will make you feel embarassed. You’re there for yourself and everyone else is insignificant when it comes to your progress. I think everyone starts out with a bare bar. Heck, I do sissy squats to get the blood flowing before I even use the bar at all. The other day, I was doing those dumbell hammer curls where you sit on an incline bench facing the bench (looked like I was screwing it) and people were staring at me and whispering that that’s not how you do hammer curls and I must be new and then a friend of mine comes over and says “are you making love to that bench?” I just ignored it all and kept going. My arms hadn’t felt so good in a long time.

You gotta check out Dave Tates article on box squatting. It’s the best i have ever read

I agree w/ bare bar squatting w/ no weight. Get the feel of the bar. Although, Box Squatting although, is a great exercise I would not recommend, during the learning phases of squatting. Also, do a search, I forgot who it was but they had some great pointers on how to squat.

Learn how to incorporate your hips in the movement. They should initiate the negative. And don’t feel bad, I started out at 135 many years ago. But when your squat starts going up…watch out. You could easily put on 20 pds on your squat/week as a newbie. Keep your back straight, heels on the ground, and butt below paralell. Good luck.

yes, you’ll get better simply by squatting, good job on not killing yourself… and not over loading the bar. Once you get your balance down (sounds like you are having trouble here) the weight will go up quickly and you can feel proud that you are doin good form and good weight.

thing is if you never stress the patella tendon it will never get stronger. its like opting to always walk because running would stress the heart, thinking that stressing the heart is bad.

Box Squats with reps under 6 to learn the form. Keep the weight light and emphasize proper mechanics. Read up on how to do Box Squats.

Hey Guy, I train alot of new Powerlifters including some who have never squated. They always have what I call “The Great Dane-Chihuaha” effect. The reason I call it this is because have you ever seen a Great Dane try to mount a Chihuaha, the new squater looks much the same. You need to give it time. You muscles are not use to this lift, so dont rush it, work hard but smart, adn read everything you can from credible sources. I wish you the very best of luck, and if you should have any specific Squating questions feel free to ask, Squating is kinda my forte, and I know there are a lot of VERY strong guys and gals on this forum who can help…Good luck!

Different people like to place the bar differently. Sometimes it is a matter of personal preference, sometimes it is for effect. I like the bar to ride in the area just below my traps. It isn’t bony or painful there, and there is a lot of back there to keep the bar balanced. If you are super skinny, the bar can hurt. If you are literally putting it on your shoulders, that is too high.

If you are new to squats, I suggest doing a lot of reps, with a light weight. Sets of 5 are not enough. Make sure your form is perfect, and if you start to break form you should end the set . It takes a while to get the hang of squats, and find the groove. I think you will be better off doing sets of 15, or sets of 20.

Weight training is about moving big weights, but before you can do that, you have to really teach your body the movement. This is true even with experienced lifters, when they try a new movement. I compare it to any other sport. If you are a golfer, you don’t just go out there and whack the ball, and do it different every time, but just really hard. No, the first thing you do is learn the proper stroke, and how to do it consistently. Then you can look for power after that. Same thing with weight training. You are teaching your body the movement first, and later you can go for more weight after that. You know, the neuro-muscular pathway, and all that. Make sure you can find the groove before you worry about big weights. That way, you won’t break form under a heavy load (and injure yourself), you’ll stay in the groove and complete the lift.

I’ve squatted double my bodyweight, but I started out with an empty bar. Everyone does. And I use an empty bar for the first set even now. Worry about your form, it will prevent injury. The strength will come. If you are picking your training loads based on impressing spectators, you are a dope. Sorry if this post was condescending, it’s hard to tell what your overall experience is.

Definitely starting light is the best idea. I was 14 and could barely balance the i was so weak let alone squat. Two things i will recommend is keep your head up ( sounds like common sense but i have seen guys fall over ) and find that comfortable spot on the back of your neck the sooner you do the better. because towels and foam pads can really screw with your balance later on.

I did a couple of sets with just the bar, but I should have done more. I think my form was decent for someone who hasn’t squatted before. My feet stayed on the ground, I kept my head up, and I did an actual full squat unlike a lot of guys I see at the gym who do 1/4 squats on the Smith Machine. Bar position was probably wrong. I will practice on getting it under the traps. I also agree that I should use higher reps. Using 5x5 was a poor choice. I need to get as any reps under my belt as possible. To everyone, thanks for the support.

Yes, the 5x5 program is not necessary. Any specialized program is not necessary since you are new to squats. I am of a different school of thought on this issue and suggest to keep reps low (6) and weight low (60%). By keeping the reps low you will have the same form throughout the set (hopefully) and not be fatiguing yourself with high reps. Often beginners use high reps when first starting complex movements and you’ll notice that the last 5 or so reps shitty. Your CNS will learn faster with low reps concerning the Squat.

Remember that squatting looks pretty simple, but there is a lot involved in doing them right. Start light, perfect your form and then you’ll be surprised at how fast your poundages go up. And don’t worry if the hot chicks are watching. If your gym is like one I used to work out in, when I started squatting I noticed people watching me, and I was embarrased at first, then I realized they were staring because they never saw anyone squat in there before. Keep up the good work!

3 rules for squatting:

  1. don’t let your knees shoot past your toes…ever

  2. keep your head up. find a speck or something on the wall and focus on it the whole time you’re squatting.

  3. rest the bar right at the top of your shoulder blades. don’t rest the bar on your neck because you’ll kill your neck when you’re at the bottom of the movement.

i commend you for starting squats. if i had a choice of one single exercise it’d be squats simply because they’re the ballsiest, most hellish exercise you can do. look around yourself at the gym, notice the different traits about the guys that do squats and that don’t do squats. you’ll find a big difference in their overall attitude.

law of repeated effort will kick in. Read what you can. 5x5 when starting out? Your question (how much weight…) leads me to believe that you are a prime candidate to increase the weight while sacrificing form. GOLDEN RULE: Compete against yourself and only yourself. getting comfy on your shoulders is another thing. this will happen with time and if you are placing the bar properly. On the other training days it may be of great service to your body to load the bar and jsut unrack and hold the weight for a while.