T Nation

Unbalanced Strength

Hello fellow T-members. I am currently on a modified WS4SBIII maybe three weeks in. The program calls for two lower body days (you all probably know this) on my max effort days I usually start of with either box squats or regular back squats and on dynamic effort days I do front squats instead of Jump Squats. All my numbers have gone up pretty good except the Squat which is probably my favorite exercise but the exercise I am having most difficulties with as far as progression.

My entire approach when it comes to the squat is textbook style. Chest up, head focused somewhat high, elbows pointing down so that chest comes up, going down with hips first, knees second, avoiding a good morning. Filling my belly with air. The thing is, the weight feels pretty light but as soon as I try to get out of the hole I go dead-stop. I’ve tried front squats, back squats with both wide, medium and narrow stance. To be honest I am a pretty big guy, so I feel kind of embarrassed when I’m fighting with 160 pounds.

I’ve probably read every article written by every author on the author list two times already. I’ve studied every Defranco video up there on youtube, watched Diesel Crew videos, Staley, Dan John and so on…Thing is i’ve probably been working out for a 1 ½ now on and off (I was banned from my gym these last 4 months) with a semi-shitty diet. I have all the facts and technique methods printed in my head, but I can’t for the life of me seem to get stronger on the mother of all exercises; the squat. Granted I’ve only been working on my chicken legs for a total of 4 months, but I should be a lot stronger given my pretty high deadlift numbers.

Here are some stats:
Standing at 6.3 feet, weighing 240 pounds with a bf % of anything between 12-15 %.

My 1RM:
Bench: 290 lbs
Deadlift: 485 lbs
Squat: 300 lbs
Overhead: 200 lbs

Diet:
I’ve never taken any supplements to be honest. Not even bought protein shakes. Not that I am against supplements but I just believe in eating clean and lifting heavy and hard. My dad owns a large meat company so I get my proteins=)

I would say that I am pretty athletic pulling some cool stuff not many dudes my size could do (At least here in Sweden). Doing Pullups, Chinups or Dips for reps no problemo…

Problem is, I have no problem going below parallel without weights. I can do single-leg squats and have been trying to integrate some mobility stuff that I’ve picked up from this website and the Magnificent Mobility DVD. I also try to do some hip stretches before all my squatting sessions.

Edit: I have a pretty brutal anterior pelvic tilt, and thanks to threewhitelights I also know that I have weak hip flexor muscles, any ideas on corrective exercises?

If you’re drastically weak while in the hole but at no other point, I’d look at your hip flexor strength, specifically the psoas (the only hip flexor active after 90 degrees of flexion).

Test by standing on one leg with your other knee above 90 degrees for time. Any instability or a time under 30 is usually a failure.

It’s a long shot, but it’d be easy enough to rule out.

I think you nailed it, I think weak hip flexor strength might be a probable cause. Whenever I do V-ups or leg raises, the lower end of my back starts to make cracking sounds.

For anyone else with the same problem. I did some quick research and I have APT (Anterior pelvic tilt) based on these common causes:

* Shortened hip flexors
* Weak abdominals 
* Weak/under active glutes
* Lengthened hamstrings
* Tight spinal erectors

and as an effect:

* Protruding stomach and butt
* Over pronation of the foot
* Poor hip mobility
* Thorasic extension
* Low back pain
* Shitty Squat

Sorry for creating a thread. I should have searched in the first place.

If those #s are legit, I would say you are deffinately on the right track! Keep up the good work!

Thanks bro! How is your training going?

Check this out. It’s been a bit of a magic bullet for me, and worth a try.

Thanks smokotime, I’ve seen it before but it never occurred to me how helpful it could be.

Hope your training is going well!

Have you ever done band stretching?

Nope, I’ve always wanted to add chains and bands to my training but here in Sweden we only have commercial gyms and the last time I tried to pull anything cooler than a 480 lb Deadlift, got me shut off from the gym for 4 months.

OP, I feel your pain on this. I really have the same issue (big DL, Zercher, etc, shitty back squat). Plus when I do that stretch like in the Defranco video, I am WAY imbalanced left vs. right side. My right side, I can’t even get the leg parallel to the floor much less stretch all the way down like he does. Left side, much more ROM. I think this must be either a cause/symptom of my back injuries.

However, I think I’ve read that stalling out of the hole can mean weak core too. Any thoughts guys?