T Nation

Why Can't I Squat?

Last post for awhile I promise. First let me post some stats:

5’11"
180lb
Deadlift: 500lb raw 1RM
Leg Press: 990lb for 4 reps–knees to chest no hands on knees:)
Clean and Press: 215lb 1RM
One arm DB snatch: 115lb 1RM

For some reason, 275lbfor 6 reps on the squat is excruciating for me. I use a slightly wider than shoulder width stance with feet pointed a bit outward. Always ass to the grass for squats but I have a hard time keeping my back straight and it looks like I’m bowing on the way up.

Also, the day after squats, my glutes and hams are fried and my quads not nearly as sore as my posterior chain. I hate being shitty at squats. Can anyone offer some useful advice/ share similar stories?

could it be you just answered your question?

the parts that hurt the most and feel weak ARE your weak spots.

i bet others will have more to say on the issue … may be correct mine too.

I had the same problem. I believe it is because the posterior chain are our strongest body part so we squat mostly with our back, hammies, and glutes. Actually my sticking point is still between parallel and 1/4 squat! I’m pretty strong out of the hole but weak above. For me I think the main reason is my long femurs and short torso, it is easier for me to squat with my back instead of my quads.

Guys like us have to learn how to recruit quads during a squat movement. The so called 1 1/4 squat exercise was very helpful to partially “cure” that issue:

[quote]Barbell 1 1/4 Squat

  * Set a barbell on a squat rack and step under it so the bar rests across your upper back. Pull your shoulders back as you grab the bar with an overhand grip. The bar should sit comfortably on your upper trapezius. Lift the bar off the rack and step back. Your feet should be shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, back straight, and eyes focused straight ahead. 

  * Slowly lower your body as if you were sitting into a chair, keeping your back in its natural alignment and your lower legs nearly perpendicular to the floor. 

  * When your thighs are parallel to the floor, pause, then push your body about one-fourth of the distance back to the starting position. 

  * At this point, pause again before lowering your body back down until your thighs are parallel to the floor. 

  * Pause one more time, then return to the starting position.[/quote]

In this explanation it is said to squat to parallel, but personally I go all the way (ATG) and pause at parallel or at 1/4.

Yeah take a look at the dan john vid:

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-6529481301858251744

Hope it makes sense…

BTW sorry for my english, I’m learning…

use a narrower stance. Bar high on the neck. Toes pointed as straight as you comfortably get them. try doing some lunges or single leg split squats to really hammer the quads. A squat that is almost half your deadlift means you either aren’t working the squat much or you have a huge deficiency in your quads.

“Leg Press: 990lb for 4 reps–knees to chest no hands on knees:)”
-WTF"

-Welcome to the 1000 pd. leg pressers club! There is obviously something wrong if you can leg press a grand and can’t squat 275 for 5 and leave the ass to grass part out next time, everyone is so tired of hearing that.

Get off the leg press, it is obvious you are wasting your time on it and let some other ego builder waste his time on it. For example, if I am smoking GMs at 800 pounds and my squat is 315, then I am gonna ditch them because they aren’t doing shit for me or maybe what is probably wrong is I am not doing them right, either way somethings got to change.

My best advice is try to learn how to do a powerlifting squat RIGHT. Go to westside barbells site read every article on squatting and box squatting twice, also go to elitefts and do the same. Start with a high box then slowly adjust to below parallel to low as your strength and flexibility get better, just my advice.

Not to be too harsh, but if I saw you barely getting 275 for 5 in the squat rack and then moving to the leg press to do 990 for whatever I would have to say that you have officially become “that guy” at the gym.

Do you have long limbs and a short torso? Maybe you should kick your stance out and put your toes out wider. It would help to have some video.

beef

I agree with “jumper”. I would get you off the leg press. There is too much stabalization there. If your problem is the inability to keep your back tight, the last thing you want to do is get into a machine that stabalizes everything from the hips up.

I strongly encourage you to include various types of good mornings and stiff legged deads for your hams, glutes and low back. I would also do some rack pulls, and work on keeping your upper back tight. Accesory stuff would be obliques.

If you strengthen up your low back, posterior chain, obliques and upper back, you have given yourself a stronger base to squat from, and you can lock your body into position. Get off the leg press and perform box squats at numerous depths. When coming out of the hole, pull your head up first and your body should follow. Good luck man, and keep rocking!

everyone always thinks they know someone elses problems. You may have a structural deficiency that is keeping you from squatting as hard as you can. Have your feet checked.

Turns out I always had one foor that rolled in while the other remained fine, f’ed up my squat. Leg press was strong though. Could be your hips. Very possibly a muscle imbalance in your legs - like your right hamstring is stronger than your left or tighter.

Many things can effect an exercise like the squat. You come onto a forum like this and you’ll get - “stop being a pussy, you’re not training hard enough,” or “you need to learn to use your quads.” That’s BS.

My guess is it’s in your flexibility, most likely the hamstrings. And this “bar high on the neck and toes pointed forward” - you squat where your feet are comfortable and keep the bar on the traps. Though none of these things may be your problem, you might just not be a squatter - nothing wrong with that.

Nothing is wrong with just leg presses. Many a BB does not do squats.

[quote]robo1 wrote:
use a narrower stance. Bar high on the neck. Toes pointed as straight as you comfortably get them. try doing some lunges or single leg split squats to really hammer the quads. A squat that is almost half your deadlift means you either aren’t working the squat much or you have a huge deficiency in your quads.[/quote]

I disagree and think its his hips and glute activation, maybe a lot of upper back the guy is leg pressing over 900 lbs.

keep working on it nail good form and the reason the areas are getting sore that are is they are the weak link in the chain

Phill

What are your goals in the long run??

:slight_smile:

My guess is that you have a very strong back but weak glutes and hams. Box squats or bottom-up squats for you my man. You should check your deadlift form as well. I’ll bet - like me - you’re a lumbar-dominant DL’er.

[quote]Phill wrote:
robo1 wrote:
use a narrower stance. Bar high on the neck. Toes pointed as straight as you comfortably get them. try doing some lunges or single leg split squats to really hammer the quads. A squat that is almost half your deadlift means you either aren’t working the squat much or you have a huge deficiency in your quads.

I disagree and think its his hips and glute activation, maybe a lot of upper back the guy is leg pressing over 900 lbs.

Phill

[/quote]

Possibly, I considered (and discounted) the leg press numbers as the guy claims to pull 500 lbs too.

[quote]spec24 wrote:
everyone always thinks they know someone elses problems. You may have a structural deficiency that is keeping you from squatting as hard as you can. Have your feet checked.

Turns out I always had one foor that rolled in while the other remained fine, f’ed up my squat. Leg press was strong though. Could be your hips. Very possibly a muscle imbalance in your legs - like your right hamstring is stronger than your left or tighter.

Many things can effect an exercise like the squat. You come onto a forum like this and you’ll get - “stop being a pussy, you’re not training hard enough,” or “you need to learn to use your quads.” That’s BS.

My guess is it’s in your flexibility, most likely the hamstrings. And this “bar high on the neck and toes pointed forward” - you squat where your feet are comfortable and keep the bar on the traps. Though none of these things may be your problem, you might just not be a squatter - nothing wrong with that.

Nothing is wrong with just leg presses. Many a BB does not do squats.[/quote]

This is the Strength Sport section not the BB and if you do strength sports doing useless 1000 pound leg presses is not going to cut it. Strength athletes squat, bottom line, whether it be pwr., oly, or athletic. Saying you just may not be a squatter is a cop out.

The guy wants to improve his squat and we are giving him advice how to do that. Nobody called him a pussy or said he wasn’t training hard enough. You may be right it may be structural, but by the info given, its probably technical.

If you lean forward a long way and find you are using a lot of back and glutes, try front squats for a while. When come back to back squats you will find you keep your torso more upright and use more legs.

Your squat numbers aren’t hugely out of proportion w/ your deadlift or DB Snatch…I know very little about the leg press but it’s probably irrelevant to the discussion.

Front Squats plus Arched-Back Good Mornings should help you stay tight and arched when you squat. Just have to learn how to get tighter under the bar.

Plus, if you’re not a repper, your 1RM squat could be over 400 lbs, even if your 6RM is 275. W/ a 500 DL I wouldn’t expect a legit raw squat w/ too much more than that.

My advice, and I’ve been in a similar position and now squat a lot more than that, (around 400 raw for 6), is patience, Good Mornings, some Front Squats, grooving your technique and PRACTICING TENSION UNDER THE BAR.

If you’re neglecting heavy ab work, that’s something to remedy also.

Best.

[quote]Ramo wrote:
Your squat numbers aren’t hugely out of proportion w/ your deadlift or DB Clean…I know very little about the leg press but it’s probably irrelevant to the discussion.

Front Squats plus Arched-Back Good Mornings should help you stay tight and arched when you squat. Just have to learn how to get tighter under the bar.

Plus, if you’re not a repper, your 1RM squat could be over 400 lbs, even if your 6RM is 275. W/ a 500 DL I wouldn’t expect a legit raw squat w/ too much more than that.

My advice, and I’ve been in a similar position and now squat a lot more than that, (around 400 raw for 6), is patience, Good Mornings, some Front Squats, grooving your technique and PRACTICING TENSION UNDER THE BAR.

If you’re neglecting heavy ab work, that’s something to remedy also.

Best.[/quote]

I think this is a pretty solid post.

I just wanted to thank everyone for all the positive and constructive comments/suggestions. I really didn’t expect so many posts–and I was actually anticipating the “train harder/ stop complaining” types of comments. My faith in T-Nation has been restored:)