T Nation

Still Need Squatting Help

I’ve got some new info that may help diagnose the problems I have with my squat. I can currently bench for a max of about 260, deadlift 430…and back squat 290 max. Plus my knees would waver on higher weights, I would feel like I was being crushed forward by higher weights, and my legs were very unstable when squatting.

I posted a thread asking for help and many suggested Box Squats. So I did box squats for about 7 weeks then went back last week to regular squatting. I thought it went well, form was much better. Then today I had another leg workout, and my form was just as bad as before. My knees cave in when coming up from the bottom, the weight doesn’t come up evenly, they hurt my lower back, I end up doing a good-morning at the top, etc.

Now some things I took note of today so I could post here:

  1. When I do squats I feel like my quads are going to pop, I don’t mean off the joint, I mean the muscle itself feels like it’s going to explode. When I squat it feels like between my knee and hip joint there is just too much quad muscle, and like it’s going to actually pop like an overfull meat-filled balloon. It’s weird. I notice it especially with a narrower stance squat, but even squatting with my feet spread as wide as I comfortably can, I still feel like this.

  2. Going along with #1, I feel squats almost entirely in my upper quad, VERY close to the hip joint, but on top of my quad, so the part facing forward. That region of my quad (again, NOT the joint, the actual muscle) is so battered after even a single set of squats that it actually cramps.

  3. I don’t know what people mean when they say drive from the hips

  4. When I sit back to squat, I never feel like I can get my ass back far enough. Even if I’m leaning back so far on my heals that my toes come off the ground, I can barely sit back, if I do I’ll fall backwards, even just at bodyweight. ESPECIALLY near parallel,

  5. On box squats, as you get to parallel and just below, are you supposed to basically ‘fall’ those last few inches onto the box, or is it supposed to be controlled all the way down? Because I definitely ‘fall’ the last 2 or 3 inches onto the box with anything more than about 100 lbs.

  6. And finally my back, knees, and hips still torque like a motherfucking cunt when I’m at the higher weight in my range. My knees cave in, one side of my body is always a few inches higher than the other, and it feels incredibly unstable.

Do single legged movements a accessory lifts to your back squats. Lunges, split squats, step-ups, etc.

As far as the caving knees, that is something I have recently overcome. I have done this by using the hip abduction machine to “wake up” the muscles involved with keeping the knees out and stable. I have been warming up with light weight squats and going to the abduction machine with heavy weight a few times before my work sets concentrating on holding my knees out after the concentric.

When you think of driving with the hips, think of thrusting your hips as you would during sex. Another thing that has helped me “figure out” hip drive, is to stop thinking about driving through my heels. Instead, think of “unfolding” you body. When I would concentrate on driving through my heels, I always felt my quads more and experienced the falling forward like you described.

One more thing that has helped me was looking UP HIGH and leading with my head.

Good luck!

cueball

[quote]AccipiterQ wrote:
4) When I sit back to squat, I never feel like I can get my ass back far enough. Even if I’m leaning back so far on my heals that my toes come off the ground, I can barely sit back, if I do I’ll fall backwards, even just at bodyweight. ESPECIALLY near parallel,[/quote]

If you don’t have the hip drive thing down, I can’t imagine that you would have the sitting back thing down. You need to push your hips back instead of down. If you’re going back so far that your toes are coming off the ground, youre doing it wrong, and it’s not surprising that you fall backwards in the process.

[quote]5) On box squats, as you get to parallel and just below, are you supposed to basically ‘fall’ those last few inches onto the box, or is it supposed to be controlled all the way down? Because I definitely ‘fall’ the last 2 or 3 inches onto the box with anything more than about 100 lbs.
[/quote]

First of all, are you consciously trying to push your knees out when you squat? And what have you been doing to warm up? Any dynamic stretching/activation work?

You should NEVER just plop down onto the box when you’re starting to get close.

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