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Sticking point in the squat.

I do a fairly wide stance (not as wide as box squat) but still a quad dominant squat. When I max out currently at around 390-400 at 180lb weight, the speed really sucks at just below the 1/2 squat position, about 8 inches out of the parallel position. Is this normal? Do i need more speed work? Do i have a week point? I can muscle it up after that but im wondering its a problem of speed that I should work on before i try to increase weight (i think it will happen anyway becos of the speed work right?). Does dynamic squat stuff improve mostly speed out of the hole? Ahh… all these are just my thoughts… maybe I should just suck it up and get some bands to work on the speed thru the whole range of motion.:slight_smile:

Any thoughts are welcome!

Hopefully you will get some advice from the PLers that frequent the forums such as Goldberg or Patricia. However my instinctual advice would be to train the hamstrings more, and yes, do dynamic effort squats. A common misconception is that squats are “a quad movement” when in reality they are just as much, if not more, a glute and hamstring movement. Check out the painful 7 article for some hamstring training ideas.

Apart from that maybe someone can suggest a set/rep range that would help you.


While some here may disagree, a research study by Caterisano concluded that the the quadriceps are the most active muscle group in the top portion of the squat. It’s not until you go deeper (parallel and below parallel) that the activity of the glutes increases significantly.

Even though you say you are a quad dominant squatter, it sounds as though you may have some weakness in that area. As long as your techinque is on point (which I would seriously consider first and foremost), I would suggest perhaps some lunges, step-ups, squatting with accomodating resistance or even some heavy high-box squats to work on the top end of the range.

Stay strong

Oh Captain my Captain…

both of these previous posts are right, to a degree…

without watching you squat, and without knowing the depth of your reversal, it is tough to judge.

while there are studies done that show the squat as quad dominant, they were done with a particular stance and style of squat. Westside lifeters test at parallel, but they emphasize hip and hamstring work… this is because they realize that by training their firing pattern and their rear chain, they will be using stronger muscles to get out of the hole. Your quads will only be so strong at such a mechanically disadvantageous position.

You seem to think that your form is quad dominant, so at least you are trying to analyze this point. Without looking at you form specifically, it is very difficult to tell. I would steer you towards a recent article on Elitefts by Tom Myslinski that addresses weaknesses.

I tend to agree with him that your hips and glutes are probably weak. Many times, like in the bench, if you do not generate speed early by using the stretch reflex, and continue with very high levels of force production, you will not get past a sticking point. I belive Tom recommends in his article to work on hips, glutes, and sitting back farther to activate the stretch reflex better. You must also learn to increase and prolong your rate of force production… this is no easy task.

Things I have done in the past to help with these issues: pause squats (pause for 5 seconds just below parallel, then explode up), box squats (westside style), rack pin squats (start with no eccentric at just below your stcking point with the bar on the spotting pins, work up through sticking point (good to have 1" holes for this)), isometrics through the stcking point and just below (can do the same way with supramaximal weights… hold for 3-6 seconds), depth jumps landing with legs in your stcking point… possibly starting with altitude landings depending on your level of preparedness, and 1 1/3 squats (these suck: go into the hole, come up through you sticking point hard, go right back down into the hole, and blast all the way up). Different forms of eccentric work could really help with this, and CT lists a number of these in his new book.

If you have chains or bands, these will really help. Although chains are probably more appropriate for you by the wieght you are currently squatting, bands are cheaper. These will help you to really work on acclerating through the entire range. I would not only wave these into your dynamic day, but would also learn to add them to your Max day. They truly teach you to explode out of the hole, or you will never get to lockout. The dynamic day coupled with some depth jump work will help move your rate of force production to the left, while using the chains/bands on max day will help prolong your rate of force production.

I hope this makes sense. I am not a powerlifter, but have recorded over a 40" vertical at a few Gus Mackers, and when I played football in college. While strength-speed and maximal strength are a powerlifter’s best friend, my realm has always been with speed-strength. But in order to get very good speed-strength, you need a very solid foundation in the other two… unless you are a genetic freak… I am not one of those. So, my expeience is personal, along with training athletes.

I hope these ideas help, and, I do hope Patricia, Goldberg, Big Martin, or Christian post. They all would have quite a bit of invaluable information on this subject.

You are starting to play with some big numbers… if I were you, I’d start compiling a folder with all of the westside articles printed out… study those. Also, I would seriously look into buying Christian’s new book. It is really good in helping to understand more advanced techniques which can help shave time off of your path toward maximizing your potential. I do not recommend many books… I have well over 100, but his is very nicely done… if you have some background.

Good luck. Pick a technique, work it for a few weeks real hard, and move to another. These have all helped me in the past.

Good Luck!

Lil’ Coach H

Can you specify why you are doing a quad dominant squat? I’m not saying you’re wrong for doing it, just as long as you have a reason. It sounds like you are doing this for more athletic reasons than aesthetic, so I have to wonder why you are doing them with an emphasis on the quads.

Anyway, quads or hams, speed work with either chains or bands is really going to help you, especially if you’re not doing any speed work already.

Good numbers, btw,

Bring up your hips and spinal erectors…and yes do speed work with bands it works…big m

Sounds like you might be slow. Your numbers are weak though. You probably just need to get stronger all over.

Sounds like you are getting good stretch reflex out of the hole. You are always going to strain somewhere. As soon as you fix that, something else will pop up. Just keep hammering. Remember, you don’t learn good form under heavy weight, so make sure you are spending time practicing form and sequence under sub maximal weight. Additionally, do an honest asessment of what is weak, and spend time performing movements you suck at. I have made a concerted effort in the last year to quit trying to analyze everything and just train movements I suck at until they move up to an acceptable level, then reassess. This is why the SSB is my absolute nemesis right now, and why I am rotating ME work with the fu#$in’ cambered bar. Good luck.

Ryan I was doing a quad dominant squat becos its one of the Max effort day exercises that I do. The speed issue is just something i noticed. I tend to agree with the “weak hips” people because I dont feel like im tipping forward, i can sit back ok and the weight remains centered midfoot to heel througout the motion. I do do wider stance, feet forward squats when i do max out.