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Why is My Squat Low, DL Reasonably High?


Hi everybody, I'm relatively new to squatting and weightlifting in general. I started in late february because I wanted to start training for basketball next year. Since then, I've been doing a vertical jump development program which is mainly just squats, leg curls and calf raises. Here were my starting stats:

Squat- 175 lbs x 8, smith machine, half squats (I know you want to smack me in the face for doing this!)
Deadlift- 155 lbs x 8 good form

Now, tonight, 9 weeks later, I realize my squats were extremely lacking and I needed to start doing them on a real rack with a real ROM. The week before tonight, I squatted around 240 x 5 on the smith, still not very deep. Tonight, I squatted about 200 completely ATG with a free bar. I could only get 7 reps in. This was kind of disappointing, because a large goal I have is to squat 350 x 5 before basketball season this november. And lemme tell you, 110 seems like alot less than 150.

Anyway, each workout before this "real" one I felt excruciating burns in my quads and that was about it. Tonight, I felt it all around my legs, and even worse burns. My knees have also been hurting a lot and I think it's due to the smith and the bad form. I'm really glad I switched. On the smith squats, my weight went up really fast, like 10 lbs a week. Since my squat has decreased significantly, can I expect to be up to at least 250 x 5 by late May? I want to get 5+ pounds a week.

As for the deadlift, I started at a terrible 155, and last week I repped out 6 at 290 lbs! I gained like 15 lbs a week for 9 weeks straight! I think this must have to do with the fact that I am tall (6 1) and have a black mans body. I have very long arms and legs, a tiny torso and very big muscle joints. I am a large person, and squatting is just so hard for me to do. My legs have never been that strong but seeing little 140 pound guys squatting 300 just makes me so angry. I'm not skinny, but my body fat is only 7% and I'm around 190 lbs. Some additional details:

I'm 15 years old, 6 1, 190 lbs, 7% body fat.
I have only squatted and deadlifted for about 8 weeks now
I'm training to as an athlete, not a bodybuilder or powerlifter
The main reason I'm squatting is for vertical jump development, but also for all around athleticism, health, strength, and all those other good things squatting does for you.

Here are some questions I'm wondering:

Why is it that my deadlift is soo much better than my squat?
Can I expect to gain 5-10 pounds on my squat per week due to my change in form and 40 pound weight drop?
Is it possible to get up to 350 in 7 months? It's about 150+ in 7 months so 20 lbs a month or 5 lbs a week.

Thanks everybody


maybe because you train FULL ROM SQUATS just for one day????

also DL is always better than squat


If you want to build up your vert, you should be doing plyometrics with your lifting program. The best way of building explosiveness.

As for reaching 350lbs squat - we can't tell you. Up to how your body responds...keep working hard, maybe you'll get there.

If you're training for basketball, unilateral exercises are a MUST. All the movement you do on the court is basically pushing off of one leg in some direction.


Well, firstly, DL =/= Squat. Not even close.

OP, you're going to be stronger on some exercises than others. Focus on constant progression, doing things right, eating big, and everything will fall into place.

Don't start looking into these crazy variables or reasons for exrcises like that. Just get better at them.


because only guys with white people bodies can squat


Look up the Westside for Skinny Bastards 3 program at this link, http://www.defrancostraining.com/articles.html It will show you how to incorporate plyos and unilateral work into a program. I have personally seen a 10 inch gain on my box jump in just a few months. Your squat and deadlift will also shoot up pretty quickly. It will be much more effective than leg curls and calf raises (which do close to nothing for building explosive power.)




Lol. Not bad, but weighing 250 or so would make you a large person. The less excuses you make up, the more progress you'll make. Squatting is hard for you because you've only half squatted in a smith machine before. I used to do that too when I started out, but it's just an ego lift that got me nowhere, so you need to stop that shit.

About the 5x350 thing, you might as well ask your magic eightball. Do your best while listening to your body and eating a lot. A lot.


hahahaha nice one


different people have different strengths! keep working hard and they'll both get better.

also don't use the smith machine.


thanks guys, lots of good advice. appreciate it.

I know that deadlift is usually better than the squat especially for the beginners. The main thing im wondering is why my deadlift increased so fast. Is it just a genetic thing? Maybe my deadlifting muscles were just really undeveloped?


Also i do plyometrics but not many. I would like to do them more but I've heard depth jumps and shock jumps are very effective once the squat 1RM is around 1.5x body weight. ill be starting a more heavily based plyometric workout after my squat is around there. Also, Kelley Bagget, creator of The Vertical Jump Development Bible, made a good point, saying that not only strength is easier to improve than speed, but also that strength, in some ways, is the root of speed.


Kelley is very, very right. Strength is the root of many athletic qualities. It is ALSO often seriously underdeveloped in many "athletic training performance" centers and S&C programs, which is usually a huge mistake. Baggett is a fantastic and very sharp coach. Improving your strength is a much quicker way to improve at this point in time. As long as you are still working on skill development and other such things of course.

The other point about serious plyo training is that you need a base foundation of muscular strength in order to be able to adequately absorb the force from shock training (and help protect your joints). Your joints can take a beating from heavy plyo based training, so you typically want to only focus on it in short blocks (hence "shock training"). Jumping into heavy plyo training too soon, or using lots of high impact plyos too chronically is often a reason young athletes get injured, have knee problems, etc.

So basically, your current approach is fine for now--a few plyos thrown in is ok, but save the serious work for once you have a base of strength.

**Also it should be noted that the "heavy" plyos, or "high impact" plyos I am talking about are depth landings, depth jumps, loaded plyos with extra weight, etc. Sudden stops or rebounds from a height or with extra weight. Thibaudeau mentions his range of plyo categories in a livespill or article on here (can't remember). Low impact plyos can be used pretty early and without a lot of joint stress though.


Probably underdeveloped from all that half squatting in a smith machine. Also, tall guys with long legs are generally better at the deadlift than the squat due to leverages. And usually regardless of tall/short height, or long/short limbs, a raw lifter is at least a little stronger in the deadlift than the full squat. Not always, but the vast, vast majority.


WTF? Ever seen how Chinese/Vietnamese peasants take a dump? The world record for consecutive number of bodyweight squats is held by Vietnamese Thienna Ho with 5135 consecutive ATG bodyweight squats. Now if you'd said black guys can't swim I'd have agreed with you.


Re-read OP's first post. Or was this a joke?