The Five Biggest Contradictions in Fitness
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The Five Biggest Contradictions in Fitness

Its no secret that when people contradict themselves, it has the effect of making the flaws in their actions or statements seem glaringly obvious. But what about when WE ourselves get caught contradicting ourselves by someone else?

By: Nick Tumminello Added: January 6th, 2014
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  1. #1
    Wannabebig Member
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    Squat Questions: Past Parallel or Just enough to tire me out

    Background: I'm 5'9, 150 lbs, repping 185 five times for squat.

    Three days a week I do squats, in accordance with the SS routine. After ten minutes of eliptical, and five minutes dynamic stretching, I warm up with the bar, then hit the squats.

    When I do 5x5's of 185, I don't seem to be anywhere near as tired as I used to when doing other routines.

    After reading the "Disappointed with SS Routine" thread, I tried my squats a little differently today. Someone had mentioned to not focus too much of form and stay focus on lifting. Keeping this in mind, today, instead of going past parallel -which I normally do 185 five times- I did normal squats at 245 for five sets. And when I got home, I was exhausted.

    I know I shouldn't rate my growth on tiredness, but I can't help but feel like the current SS routine is as effective as it could be if I didn't go past parallel.

    My question is: should I stick to going past parallel when the load is lighter and my body obviously isn't taxed as much, or should I not worry too much about parallel and push my body?

    Would I see better gains in the long run by sticking to going past parallel, or would it not be hugely detrimental by keeping it at the knee.
    Last edited by Baloo72; 07-31-2009 at 09:31 PM.

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  3. #2
    Georgia Boy
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    The routine calls for squats not quarter squats. Once you get moving more weight squats will wear you out.

  4. #3
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    I'm not doing quarter squats. Instead of going past parallel I stop at the knee or just a little above it.

    I'm asking if engaging those muscles past the parallel point are more important than taxing the body with heavier weight.

    Also, I understand the development of those supporting muscles is important, and I'm willing to do lighter squats afterward for my hip flexor and whatnot to catch up. However, for my mass gaining goal, should I stick to heavy weight?
    Last edited by Baloo72; 07-31-2009 at 08:23 PM.

  5. #4
    THUNDER THIGHS! Fuzzy's Avatar
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    Those squats where mile high. No argument.

    185 at your parallel to 245? I highly doubt you kept anywhere near parallel.
    Being a strong teenager means nothing.

    My wrists hurt, but some people don't have wrists to be sore. My knees have tendinitis, but some people don't have legs to get tendinitis in. I seem to be going backwards with training, yet some people can't even walk let alone lift 400 pounds on a daily basis.

    Dust out the vagina, and keep on lifting.

  6. #5
    THUNDER THIGHS! Fuzzy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Baloo72 View Post
    I'm not doing quarter squats. Instead of going past parallel I stop at the knee or just a little above it.

    I'm asking if engaging those muscles past the parallel point are more important than taxing the body with heavier weight.

    Also, I understand the development of those supporting muscles is important, and I'm willing to do lighter squats afterward for my hip flexor and whatnot to catch up. However, for my mass gaining goal, should I stick to heavy weight?
    Further more, for someone squatting this much you think way WAY too much. Sink the squats to full depth. If you arent feeling fatigued, then here is a really bright idea... add more weight.
    Being a strong teenager means nothing.

    My wrists hurt, but some people don't have wrists to be sore. My knees have tendinitis, but some people don't have legs to get tendinitis in. I seem to be going backwards with training, yet some people can't even walk let alone lift 400 pounds on a daily basis.

    Dust out the vagina, and keep on lifting.

  7. #6
    Wannabebig Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fuzzy View Post
    Further more, for someone squatting this much you think way WAY too much. Sink the squats to full depth. If you arent feeling fatigued, then here is a really bright idea... add more weight.
    I appreciate the advice.

    You may be right with the gamut between my past parallel and not going past parallel, maybe I'm not going as far as it feels. I'll have a friend keep an eye out next time.

    Regardless, my original problem seems to have escaped you:

    My hip flexor is unable to handle any more weight. Perhaps the right suggestion would be to increase sets, since a direct increase of weight would be impossible. Or I should keep to the original regiment and not worry about the feeling of fatigue.
    Last edited by Baloo72; 07-31-2009 at 09:33 PM.

  8. #7
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    All else being equal (healthy knees, proper warm-up, good form etc), you want as much ROM as you can get. Opinions vary as to exactly how low to go, but most agree, lower is better.

    Don't worry about the weight. Get your form correct (and keep checking as you increase the weight!) with a light to moderate weight and then start increasing it. You'll be stronger and healthier if you place the emphasis on getting and keeping good form first. There'll be plenty of time to increase the weight later.

  9. #8
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    Keep adding weight...it will get harder.
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  10. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Baloo72 View Post
    Background: I'm 5'9, 150 lbs, repping 185 five times for squat.

    Three days a week I do squats, in accordance with the SS routine. After ten minutes of eliptical, and five minutes dynamic stretching, I warm up with the bar, then hit the squats.

    When I do 5x5's of 185, I don't seem to be anywhere near as tired as I used to when doing other routines.

    After reading the "Disappointed with SS Routine" thread, I tried my squats a little differently today. Someone had mentioned to not focus too much of form and stay focus on lifting. Keeping this in mind, today, instead of going past parallel -which I normally do 185 five times- I did normal squats at 245 for five sets. And when I got home, I was exhausted.

    I know I shouldn't rate my growth on tiredness, but I can't help but feel like the current SS routine is as effective as it could be if I didn't go past parallel.

    My question is: should I stick to going past parallel when the load is lighter and my body obviously isn't taxed as much, or should I not worry too much about parallel and push my body?

    Would I see better gains in the long run by sticking to going past parallel, or would it not be hugely detrimental by keeping it at the knee.
    If you did squats in accordance with the SS routine you would not be stopping at "parallel". The book states that the hip joint should drop below parallel with the patella.

  11. #10
    LittleJake JSully's Avatar
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    add in some box squats to strengthen your hips.. say, 3 heavy sets of 5 to a parallel box

  12. #11
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    You're overthinking. I'm with Fuzzy.

    Do a full squat (or past parallel at least) but add more weight. Its probably mental. Squats are meant to be bloody hard. Force yourself to keep squatting more weight. You should be nothing less than exhausted both physically and mentally after 5x5 squats. If you are not then you are simply not trying hard enough.

  13. #12
    My own personal trainer dumbbell's Avatar
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    I'm doing SS right now and it's: squats 3x5, 3x a week, not 5x5. Am I missing something here? Maybe you could up the weight if you drop the other two sets?

    Anyways, if your not going low enough to break parallel in the squat you are doing a huge disservice to your knee joints. The book explains this in great detail.

    The amount of weight on the bar, as well as your perceived tiredness, are all secondary to proper technique. Get the technique dialed in first. Then add weight. In that order. After a bit, they will begin to feel pretty brutal.

    Check your ego at the door, disregard the weight on the bar, and concentrate on proper form.

    After that, maybe you might want to try a 20 rep squat program, and see if you get "tired."
    Jason

    It is currently a fad, at this writing, for boys to think they need a "six pack", although most of them don't have an ice chest to put it in.
    -Mark Rippetoe

  14. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by dumbbell View Post
    I'm doing SS right now and it's: squats 3x5, 3x a week, not 5x5. Am I missing something here? Maybe you could up the weight if you drop the other two sets?

    Anyways, if your not going low enough to break parallel in the squat you are doing a huge disservice to your knee joints. The book explains this in great detail.

    The amount of weight on the bar, as well as your perceived tiredness, are all secondary to proper technique. Get the technique dialed in first. Then add weight. In that order. After a bit, they will begin to feel pretty brutal.

    Check your ego at the door, disregard the weight on the bar, and concentrate on proper form.

    After that, maybe you might want to try a 20 rep squat program, and see if you get "tired."

    Dumbbell, I'm fairly humbled by your advice. I think you hit the nail on the head: I shouldn't worry about lifting more weight when proper technique is better in the long run.

    After reading through the posts I've decided to stick to the program and not measure the effectiveness of the program based on fatigue. Thanks for the advice, everyone.

    Also, back in March, I did 20-reps for a month. It felt like my soul was leaving me after each session.

  15. #14
    IRL my name is Trent Hazerboy's Avatar
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    I know I'm going to sound like a dick in this, but its not necessarily directed at the OP, just the general mood that I've been seeing lately.

    First of all, are you seriously critiquing something that is that specific? If you are indeed going parallel vs. atg, then thats such a minute difference that its not going to matter long term. Elite and long term lifters can analyze stuff like that because they have experience and know what works and what doesn't for them. You're a newbie - everything works as long as you follow a few simple principles. Pick one or the other and stick with it (although with a 60 pound jump, I can almost guarantee those were high - for high bar squats, the difference between ATG and TRUE parallel, especially at your level, is envariably small). If ATG squats are really that much easier, that just means that you have a severe weakness somewhere. Most likely your stabalizers are much stronger, which is why you can unrack and handle 245 lbs, but your glutes/hamstrings/quads or something along those lines are really weak, which is why you can't handle as much weight ATG. Or something along those lines, it really doesn't matter-- Keep squatting, and eventually the weakness will be improved enough such that you can use a weight thats challenging as a whole with good form.

    Or, you're just overthinking things. Add more weight to the bar and squat ATG.

    Second, this sentence kills me: "I know I shouldn't rate my growth on tiredness, but I can't help but feel like the current SS routine is as effective as it could be if I didn't go past parallel."

    If you know you shouldn't rate your growth on tiredness, then don't. Weight training is not running. Its not conditioning. Its not soccer or basketball or football or any other sport you've played. The only tried and true method of gauging progress is adding weight to the bar and inches to the measuring tape. Nothing else will tell you that you've made progress. I just put one of my distance running friends (now retired from cross country) on starting strength, and he's added 50 lbs to his deadlift in only a few weeks. The whole time he talked about how much less of a time commitment it was, how he never really felt as tired, etc. But 50 lbs. FIFTY he's added. You cannot argue with results.
    What I'm saying is, in the beginning, weight training is not very physically demanding--and yet all I ever hear is people complaining about this. Christ, be happy its this easy! It will never be this easy again.

    Think about it this way - would you say that its physically demanding to learn a golf swing? What about throwing a baseball, a football, or dribbling a basketball? No, no its not. Well, this is essentially what you're doing for the first few weeks or months of weight training - its a neurological effect, you're body is learning the movement and becoming more efficient, which = more lbs to the bar and a stronger YOU. This in and of itself can only take you so far, but while its happening enjoy it - never again will you be able to add five lbs to the bar week in and week out.

    Finally, are you really debating the effectiveness of the program?? I am SICK you new guys doing this sort of crap. Every one of you thinks that all this program needs is another set of curls, a different rep range, or hack squats and it will be the end all, be all of weightraining. Or that you are entirely different from everyone else on the program, and you just HAVE to lift 6 days a week to make progress or something. Seriously? Do you really think you know better than the writer of this program? Are all of you newbies really that arrogant? The designer of the program has worked with hundreds of athletes and found out what will get the best bang for your buck in the shortest amount of time. He's probably already tried everything you've thought of and for one reason or another, realized it was unnecessary or worthless for a beginner. You're lucky that you have this resource. When I started lifting, I spent a good year doing something worthless before I figured out what was effective. If someone would have pointed me towards starting strength first off, I'd be much farther by now.


    So this is my message to all of you SS yuppies: learn the form, Stick to the goddamn program, bust your ass in the gym, and eat. If you have a question about any of those principles, fine, but if you don't, keep your mouth shut until your numbers are decent and you have something worthwhile to ask.
    Last edited by Hazerboy; 08-01-2009 at 04:03 PM.
    Stats: 11/15/07-First-meet--2nd Meet----3rd meet
    Weight: 185-----187---------198---------198
    Max Bench: 255---220-----------280------300
    Max Squat: 405----395----------440------460
    Max Dead:475-----485----------551------570
    CHINUPS - Bodyweight + 135, x1, dead hang. Still working on the one arm chinup.

  16. #15
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    Hazerboy, don't worry about coming off as a dick: what you said need to be said, and it's motivation for me to stick to the program. I really do appreciate you taking the time to write/vent that all out.

    I'll just keep to the principles and lift.

  17. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hazerboy View Post
    I know I'm going to sound like a dick in this, but its not necessarily directed at the OP, just the general mood that I've been seeing lately.

    First of all, are you seriously critiquing something that is that specific? If you are indeed going parallel vs. atg, then thats such a minute difference that its not going to matter long term. Elite and long term lifters can analyze stuff like that because they have experience and know what works and what doesn't for them. You're a newbie - everything works as long as you follow a few simple principles. Pick one or the other and stick with it (although with a 60 pound jump, I can almost guarantee those were high - for high bar squats, the difference between ATG and TRUE parallel, especially at your level, is envariably small). If ATG squats are really that much easier, that just means that you have a severe weakness somewhere. Most likely your stabalizers are much stronger, which is why you can unrack and handle 245 lbs, but your glutes/hamstrings/quads or something along those lines are really weak, which is why you can't handle as much weight ATG. Or something along those lines, it really doesn't matter-- Keep squatting, and eventually the weakness will be improved enough such that you can use a weight thats challenging as a whole with good form.

    Or, you're just overthinking things. Add more weight to the bar and squat ATG.

    Second, this sentence kills me: "I know I shouldn't rate my growth on tiredness, but I can't help but feel like the current SS routine is as effective as it could be if I didn't go past parallel."

    If you know you shouldn't rate your growth on tiredness, then don't. Weight training is not running. Its not conditioning. Its not soccer or basketball or football or any other sport you've played. The only tried and true method of gauging progress is adding weight to the bar and inches to the measuring tape. Nothing else will tell you that you've made progress. I just put one of my distance running friends (now retired from cross country) on starting strength, and he's added 50 lbs to his deadlift in only a few weeks. The whole time he talked about how much less of a time commitment it was, how he never really felt as tired, etc. But 50 lbs. FIFTY he's added. You cannot argue with results.
    What I'm saying is, in the beginning, weight training is not very physically demanding--and yet all I ever hear is people complaining about this. Christ, be happy its this easy! It will never be this easy again.

    Think about it this way - would you say that its physically demanding to learn a golf swing? What about throwing a baseball, a football, or dribbling a basketball? No, no its not. Well, this is essentially what you're doing for the first few weeks or months of weight training - its a neurological effect, you're body is learning the movement and becoming more efficient, which = more lbs to the bar and a stronger YOU. This in and of itself can only take you so far, but while its happening enjoy it - never again will you be able to add five lbs to the bar week in and week out.

    Finally, are you really debating the effectiveness of the program?? I am SICK you new guys doing this sort of crap. Every one of you thinks that all this program needs is another set of curls, a different rep range, or hack squats and it will be the end all, be all of weightraining. Or that you are entirely different from everyone else on the program, and you just HAVE to lift 6 days a week to make progress or something. Seriously? Do you really think you know better than the writer of this program? Are all of you newbies really that arrogant? The designer of the program has worked with hundreds of athletes and found out what will get the best bang for your buck in the shortest amount of time. He's probably already tried everything you've thought of and for one reason or another, realized it was unnecessary or worthless for a beginner. You're lucky that you have this resource. When I started lifting, I spent a good year doing something worthless before I figured out what was effective. If someone would have pointed me towards starting strength first off, I'd be much farther by now.


    So this is my message to all of you SS yuppies: learn the form, Stick to the goddamn program, bust your ass in the gym, and eat. If you have a question about any of those principles, fine, but if you don't, keep your mouth shut until your numbers are decent and you have something worthwhile to ask.
    SLAM - Excellent response. All newbs should be required to read this before posting anything about SS

    Excellent Post!!!

  18. #17
    SchModerator ZenMonkey's Avatar
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    Make use of your full ROM. and listen to Hazerboy
    Sarvamangalam!

  19. #18
    My own personal trainer dumbbell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hazerboy View Post
    all of you SS yuppies

    Dasumfunysheet!
    Jason

    It is currently a fad, at this writing, for boys to think they need a "six pack", although most of them don't have an ice chest to put it in.
    -Mark Rippetoe

  20. #19
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    I agree with everyone (almost everyone). However, my comment is:

    Props to Baloo for what appears to be a good attitude to this advise.

  21. #20
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    A real 5x5 squat workout, done with a deep ROM, will absolutely destroy you. It takes me 30-40 minutes just to get through my 5 sets at about 300 lbs....but even when I was only doing 205, it still took a ton out of me.

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