T Nation

Tired or Weak? You Decide.

I was in the gym earlier tonight and wanted to do squats, so I warmed up and started adding weight to the bar. I deadlifted earlier in the week and was pulling around 8 sets of 3 at 475 lbs. My PR in the dead is 520 lbs, but I could probably do more right now.

Anyway, as I was warming up and adding weight, I just realized when I got up to 275 that my low-back had not yet recovered from the deadlifts. So I figured I’d drop it down to 235 and do sets of 10 with that. After the first set, I realized that this was probably a bad idea and the gym owner and trainer noticed my form near the end of the set and saw that I did slightly lean over on my ascent.

It wasn’t a huge forward tilt, but it was enough to catch his eye obviously, and then he just flat-out embarrassed me in front of other people. He said, “your lower back is the limiting factor in your squat…you are too weak to be using that weight.”

I was kind of stunned more than pissed, initially, and replied in the heat of the moment by saying, “I can deadlift over 500 lbs, I don’t think it’s my lower back that’s the issue…I’m still tired from deadlifting earlier in the week.”

Then he had to make it a stand-off by saying, “I don’t care if you deadlift 1,000 lbs, it’s your lower back.”

Hmm…okay.

Which do you think it is? Recovery or strength?

PS - this forward tilt was not the kind of thing you’d see in a high school weight room. It wasn’t a SquatMorning, as I like to call them.

I’m 22 years old and 5’8 - 195 lbs - 14%
Dead 520
Bench 335
Squat 375

you were tired and not fully recovered. I have found that really pushing your abdominals out helps you stay upright. I sometimes have some forward lean while I do high rep squats and when I remember to push my abs out hard I’m able to stay upright.

woah whats with squat being so much lower then dl.

Anyways I had similar problem only with squats my lower back was tight -from tweaking it a bit earlier in the week doing snatches, fuck college gym for getting pissed about dropping weights. Having to lower it down every time really puts too much strain on back-. And I had a big problem getting out of the whole my lower back would just get tight and the pain I guess threw me off.

If your form was messed up it was probably your lower back being too tight, just let it rest thats what I’m going to do.

I think the squat is weaker because the deadlift gets priority for me.

Good OP. I’ve been asking myself this question a lot lately, because I’m training as hard as I can, and my body is not always up to it. Coaches and trainers are not always right, in the long run you become your best coach. If you normally squat with good form, and that one day you were tilting forward, your back was TIRED. Based on your lifts, your LEGS are clearly your limiting factor.

Same with me, and many others, so don’t feel bad. I have found, sometimes, that because my legs are weaker than my hips and back, sometimes I get bad squat posture just because those sorry suckers give out and FORCE the back to accept more of the burden of the squat. And when that happens, I tilt too.
Do you do front squats? It tends to change the equation, put more emphasis on legs rather than back, and you tend to make a good rep or none at all. Doc

Tired. Rest, stretch then evaluate where you are at.

[quote]Dr.PowerClean wrote:
Good OP. I’ve been asking myself this question a lot lately, because I’m training as hard as I can, and my body is not always up to it. Coaches and trainers are not always right, in the long run you become your best coach. If you normally squat with good form, and that one day you were tilting forward, your back was TIRED. Based on your lifts, your LEGS are clearly your limiting factor.

Same with me, and many others, so don’t feel bad. I have found, sometimes, that because my legs are weaker than my hips and back, sometimes I get bad squat posture just because those sorry suckers give out and FORCE the back to accept more of the burden of the squat. And when that happens, I tilt too.
Do you do front squats? It tends to change the equation, put more emphasis on legs rather than back, and you tend to make a good rep or none at all. Doc[/quote]

Thanks for this reply. You’ve given me things to think about and I do think you’re right: it’s my legs.

[quote]Dr.PowerClean wrote:
Good OP. I’ve been asking myself this question a lot lately, because I’m training as hard as I can, and my body is not always up to it. Coaches and trainers are not always right, in the long run you become your best coach. If you normally squat with good form, and that one day you were tilting forward, your back was TIRED. Based on your lifts, your LEGS are clearly your limiting factor.

Same with me, and many others, so don’t feel bad. I have found, sometimes, that because my legs are weaker than my hips and back, sometimes I get bad squat posture just because those sorry suckers give out and FORCE the back to accept more of the burden of the squat. And when that happens, I tilt too.
Do you do front squats? It tends to change the equation, put more emphasis on legs rather than back, and you tend to make a good rep or none at all. Doc[/quote]

I seconded the Front Squats, because legs were a limiting factor, and since I switched to Front Squats, form hasn’t been an issue, and lo and behold, my legs finally grew.