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Thread: Squat Depth Help

  1. #1
    You're Being Lied To JohnnyRingo's Avatar
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    Squat Depth Help

    Hey guys, I need some help. I have tried many different methods to get to competition depth on my squat, but nothing has helped. I have stretched, weighted stretched, yoga type stuff ect. and nothing has worked. I have partial tears in my knees, and the worst is a pinched nerve in my groin area. I have been studying everything to do with lifting for a couple years, but due to health issues I have only been lifting for roughly 8 months. I was wondering if anyone knew a method to gain flexibility for pinched nerves? The only way i can make depth is to do this weird tip toe dance. The 2 things that have helped me the most are front squat and bear complex (power clean type stuff).

    Stats: 22 years old, been training for 8 months, 6', 175 LBs., 215 Bench, 320 DL, 140 MP, and squat to depth .......maybe 85 or so. These maxes are estimates (I haven't maxed in a while). My big problem is my strength is my legs. I can squat maybe 90, but yet i can squat roughly 300 just 2"s or so above depth. Any help is appreciated, as I want to compete in full comps, not just Push & Pull. Thanks guys.

  2. #2
    Rob Schilke | GFX Designer thecityalive's Avatar
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    Bear complexes for competition squat? A chain that consists of a power clean, front squat, push press, back squat and another push press. I'm just lost as to where the power clean and the push presses are going to help with your squat depth.

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnnyRingo View Post
    I can squat maybe 90, but yet i can squat roughly 300 just 2"s or so above depth.
    You may have answered your own question there. Instead of just going for the big numbers, why not just work your squat up to a threshold where you can handle it and progress from there. Almost getting depth is not getting depth at all in a full meet.
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  3. #3
    Squat Heavy, Squat Often Cards's Avatar
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    I like Rob's idea of dropping the weght and focusing on form, but what about using a box? Not only will it teach you to sit back but it will also give you something to aim for.
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  4. #4
    SFW! drew's Avatar
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    Post a video of your squat from the side. You might be hitting acceptable depth already. It's really hard to judge these things for yourself.

    Stats: Age: 34 Weight: 205 Height: 5'6"
    Gym PRs: Squat:635 Bench:560 Deadlift:495
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  5. #5
    You're Being Lied To JohnnyRingo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thecityalive View Post
    Bear complexes for competition squat? A chain that consists of a power clean, front squat, push press, back squat and another push press. I'm just lost as to where the power clean and the push presses are going to help with your squat depth.



    You may have answered your own question there. Instead of just going for the big numbers, why not just work your squat up to a threshold where you can handle it and progress from there. Almost getting depth is not getting depth at all in a full meet.
    Whenever I do cleans and bear complex ect I try to sit down as low as I can basically front squatting whenever I can and that has stretched me out the most. And I have squatted 275 front squat to depth before its a weak thing so much. And I have been trying the lower weight. The past two months have been squats with 50lbs or less. Still barely go deep enough.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cards View Post
    I like Rob's idea of dropping the weght and focusing on form, but what about using a box? Not only will it teach you to sit back but it will also give you something to aim for.
    I high box squat (right at parralel ) twice a week I feel good but just a hair lower and I fall apart.

    Quote Originally Posted by drew View Post
    Post a video of your squat from the side. You might be hitting acceptable depth already. It's really hard to judge these things for yourself.
    My training partner tells me most squats are probably ok in SPF but wouldn't slide in some other Feds. When I'm alone I just try to hit my calves with my ass and fail every time.

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    just do bodyweight squats all the time. Before bed, for warm ups, after workout. That will help you get flexible in that position. Practice overhead squats with a broom stick too. I like to squat down with the broomstick in my hands, then at the bottom raise it overhead and try to stay upright then squat up.
    As for real training, do all your squats as deep as you can, stay upright, force your knees out and if you cannot go atleast to parallel dont go heavier. Doing deep squats will make barely parallel squats feel sooo easy.
    Dont box squat for your main squats if you are concerned with your depth. If you are a good squatter then add in box squats to help those, but if your concerned with you REAL squat technique, high box squats will only hurt them.
    People may disagree but there ya go!

  7. #7
    Rob Schilke | GFX Designer thecityalive's Avatar
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    While high box squats (or any impartial for that matter) are good to throw in to work on sticking points, they probably should only be done ever so often. Do you ever low box squat?

    You claim to be able to go ATG with your squats, but fail when you start to reach any substancial weight. I don't understand how you are front squatting 275 for "depth" and not being able to back squat past parallel. There is obviously something wrong here. Could we attribute this to flexibility? Perhaps. I'll echo what kingns said with bw squats to warm up.
    My road to powerlifting:
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    Bench: 255 (9/30/13)
    Dead: 515 (9/2/13)
    Squat: 435 (9/26/13)
    Total: 1205 lbs.
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  8. #8
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    Squat In Reverse

    Without weight, get a box that is to depth. Sit on it and spread your feet out until you are in your normal squat stance. This will help you stretch your groin. If you have to, use your arms to help get your legs in position. Once in your stance, take your arms and hold them straight out in front of you and stand up.

    I know this sounds funny, but it will help.

    You will be able to get in the bottom position easier after a while. Do this for a while and then take some dumbells placed on the floor between your legs and hold them as you stand. Do this for a few workouts, then with the same box, try and squat normally.

    Joe Ironman Norman
    Last edited by ironman1105; 05-16-2012 at 08:53 PM.

  9. #9
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    I had the same issue a while back, I'm a bit shorter than you but to get my squat deeper I lowered the weight, and squatted with my feet closer together. Also meant I had to push my knees out harder, but my ATG squat skyrocketed as soon as I got the form down.

  10. #10
    You're Being Lied To JohnnyRingo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kingns View Post
    just do bodyweight squats all the time. Before bed, for warm ups, after workout. That will help you get flexible in that position. Practice overhead squats with a broom stick too. I like to squat down with the broomstick in my hands, then at the bottom raise it overhead and try to stay upright then squat up.
    As for real training, do all your squats as deep as you can, stay upright, force your knees out and if you cannot go atleast to parallel dont go heavier. Doing deep squats will make barely parallel squats feel sooo easy.
    Dont box squat for your main squats if you are concerned with your depth. If you are a good squatter then add in box squats to help those, but if your concerned with you REAL squat technique, high box squats will only hurt them.
    People may disagree but there ya go!
    Thats what i was going to try next. In the morning, evening, shower, all day pretty much. Do you ever do the crossfit style weighted over head squat?

    Quote Originally Posted by thecityalive View Post
    While high box squats (or any impartial for that matter) are good to throw in to work on sticking points, they probably should only be done ever so often. Do you ever low box squat?

    You claim to be able to go ATG with your squats, but fail when you start to reach any substancial weight. I don't understand how you are front squatting 275 for "depth" and not being able to back squat past parallel. There is obviously something wrong here. Could we attribute this to flexibility? Perhaps. I'll echo what kingns said with bw squats to warm up.
    IDK if i wrote it wrong or you read it wrong, but ATG is my goal, and i said it never happens. a.k.a. I fail attempting it. My front squats make depth ALOT more than my back.

    Quote Originally Posted by ironman1105 View Post
    Without weight, get a box that is to depth. Sit on it and spread your feet out until you are in your normal squat stance. This will help you stretch your groin. If you have to, use your arms to help get your legs in position. Once in your stance, take your arms and hold them straight out in front of you and stand up.

    I know this sounds funny, but it will help.

    You will be able to get in the bottom position easier after a while. Do this for a while and then take some dumbells placed on the floor between your legs and hold them as you stand. Do this for a few workouts, then with the same box, try and squat normally.

    Joe Ironman Norman
    I have been training at a public gym using the box there (which is high), but now that i'm in my home gym (basically a teenager bench and bar, but do what you can right) im building a box just for me and my height.

    Quote Originally Posted by K Y L E View Post
    I had the same issue a while back, I'm a bit shorter than you but to get my squat deeper I lowered the weight, and squatted with my feet closer together. Also meant I had to push my knees out harder, but my ATG squat skyrocketed as soon as I got the form down.
    Thats what i have wanted to do so much. Train ATG then depth being so easy, but I tried ATG today with my 10 pound bar, and close stance resulted in tip toe dance, and wide stance was way shallow.



    If my responses dont make since let me know. I'm doing this in a hurry, but will have much more time tom. and hopefully some vids this week.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Butcher's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnnyRingo View Post
    My training partner tells me most squats are probably ok in SPF but wouldn't slide in some other Feds. When I'm alone I just try to hit my calves with my ass and fail every time.
    I really think you should post video. Failing to do a rock bottom squat should still result in a convincingly deep squat.

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    Video would definitely help, also what does your warmup look like?

  13. #13
    illinois fattest lifter theBarzeen's Avatar
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    If you are able to hit depth with a light weight, and your form just falls apart when the weight goes up ( does that sound right?) ... then it's not a tight joint or muscle stopping you it's just that your form falls apart either because of a mental slip when the weight starts to feel heavy, or because you have a real weakness in the bottom of the squat.

    The bottom inch or two is the hardest part of the lift. It's normal to lose a lot of weight off of your max when comparing 1" high to breaking //..... I've hit 1060 at ~1" high, but was barely able to grind out 1020 to //..... best in contest ( in the APF) is still 970.... that's 90# off of the last inch and my form is solid. If you add in the fact that your form is falling apart I have no doubt that this could take 200# off of your top end.


    So, to fix this, eat humble pie for a few months working on only taking every squat to depth. That includes box squats. If you are so much stronger at the top why the heck are you working high box squats? You should be working box squats that are way IN the hole. I am working on gaining flexibility and keeping my form as I break // with tight gear so I've been doing ( what you should be doing) squats to a box that puts me several inches in. Not sure on the box height, but it puts my 5'2" wife below // and I am 6'4"....
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  14. #14
    You're Being Lied To JohnnyRingo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Butcher View Post
    I really think you should post video. Failing to do a rock bottom squat should still result in a convincingly deep squat.
    Arock bottom squat is the goal each time i do it but never happens. My squat is still shallow. I have tried wide stancs and narrow and everything in between. The only reason I can make depth with light weight over heavy weight is because i can tip toe safer. When i get lower my groin pulls the leg in.

    Quote Originally Posted by K Y L E View Post
    Video would definitely help, also what does your warmup look like?
    Warmup like sets? streches? Typically i have a hot shower and stretch out, then when at the gym i do 3 groin stretches, leg pendulum kicks, things like that, then a couple of sets with light weight where i just try sit as deep as possible.

    Quote Originally Posted by theBarzeen View Post
    If you are able to hit depth with a light weight, and your form just falls apart when the weight goes up ( does that sound right?) ... then it's not a tight joint or muscle stopping you it's just that your form falls apart either because of a mental slip when the weight starts to feel heavy, or because you have a real weakness in the bottom of the squat.

    The bottom inch or two is the hardest part of the lift. It's normal to lose a lot of weight off of your max when comparing 1" high to breaking //..... I've hit 1060 at ~1" high, but was barely able to grind out 1020 to //..... best in contest ( in the APF) is still 970.... that's 90# off of the last inch and my form is solid. If you add in the fact that your form is falling apart I have no doubt that this could take 200# off of your top end.


    So, to fix this, eat humble pie for a few months working on only taking every squat to depth. That includes box squats. If you are so much stronger at the top why the heck are you working high box squats? You should be working box squats that are way IN the hole. I am working on gaining flexibility and keeping my form as I break // with tight gear so I've been doing ( what you should be doing) squats to a box that puts me several inches in. Not sure on the box height, but it puts my 5'2" wife below // and I am 6'4"....
    A brief walk through of my squat (20 pounds or 315, doesnt matter it all does the same). I begin my decent and my legs want to go wider (stance wise), then I feel it pulling from my taint area to mid thigh and eventually it goes down no more. This all happens from roughly 7 degrees to parallel. Then when reaching this area it feels like a narrow stance would give me a little more depth. Unless i get on my tip toes i cant depth a body squat.


    I havent had anyone with me in a couple days, but the first day I do I will get a video up. Thanks for the help guys.

  15. #15
    illinois fattest lifter theBarzeen's Avatar
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    IT sounds like you could just be leaning way forward..... but a video will say for sure....
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  16. #16
    Senior Member Sensei's Avatar
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    I'm not really sure what the issue is. This may or may not help you: http://squatrx.blogspot.com/2007/11/...es-of-woe.html
    A child does not learn to squat from the top down. In other words, he does not suddenly make a conscious decision one day to squat. Actually, he is squatting one day and make the conscious decision to stand. Squatting precedes standing in the developmental sequence. This is the way a child's brain learns to use the body as the child develops movement patterns. Therefore, a child is probably crawling, rocks back into a squatting position with the back completely relaxed and the hips completely flexed, and stands when he has enough hip strength. This approach makes a lot of sense and can be applied to relearning the deep squat movement if it is lost. -Gray Cook
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  17. #17
    Senior Member UncleAl's Avatar
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    I had the same problem. As far as assistance goes, goblet and front squats were good, low box squats better, and pause squats best.
    Age: 67
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    Squat (raw): 355
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    Deep squats:

    Quote Originally Posted by Sensei View Post
    I'm not really sure what the issue is. This may or may not help you: http://squatrx.blogspot.com/2007/11/...es-of-woe.html
    Now that you all know how to do squats correctly, use a tool to keep track of your weight being lifted, reps and sets for free. Check it out= http://freeweightliftingchart.com
    Last edited by weightlifting; 05-21-2012 at 02:59 AM.

  19. #19
    You're Being Lied To JohnnyRingo's Avatar
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    Hey guys I probably look like a troll not posting a vid, sorry about that. Here is a run down since the thread. I have been training by myself except for a few times, and have nothing to video with. I am starting back at a fully equipped gym now............and finally squatting close to depth! After this thread I was talking to my friend about my problem, and he suggested training with his PL coach for a day and see how that goes. Pretty dang good lol. I have been focusing on my pinched nerve (which is a deterrent) so much I didn't see the big picture I guess. I squatted a couple of sets and the coach said "I can tell your compensating for that nerve, but dude wtf is the deal with your left knee". I definitely have knee problems, but never really thought about it I guess. I have used wraps several times before but just for 3RM's or so. I stretched very well and compressed me knees with wraps, and within 15 minutes I was squatting FOR REAL. I'm pessimistic toward myself about things like this, so I was thinking it was just the extra help from the wraps. The next week i borrowed a knee band from a friend that does nothing but compresses the ligaments (I have partial tears) and BAM! I'm doing it again. Since then I stretch 2-4 times a day, and wrap up. Took my squat from a questionable depth sub 100 pound max to 184x4 ATG, done today. I'm thinking about so small rehbands in my near future. Anyway sorry for the ramble. I plan on starting a weak sauce training log today. I know I sound like a noob moron, but I'm excited. Thanks for the help guys!

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