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Thread: Some squat advice please

  1. #1
    Wannabebig New Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Northumberland, England

    Some squat advice please

    First post on the forums though I've been reading for a while, so hi all!

    I've only been training a few months, so I'm still in the "newbie" phase. I've made decent progress so far - focusing on the big exercises, going for slow and steady improvements etc. Just for reference, I'm doing squats, deadlifts, SLDL's, bench press, bent over rows, curls, overhead presses, calf raises, and crunches at the moment, split over two workouts - and we'll drop either deadlifts or SLDL's once we get up to "hard" weights. Most exercises are still gradually improving, but I'm having real problems with the squat.

    I'm going for (work) sets of 15 reps in the squat, and it's the first exercise we do. I can manage 100kg for 15 with good form (after a couple of warmup sets), but can't seem to go any heavier without feeling decidedly unbalanced at the bottom of the movement. I can still get all 15 reps at say 105, but I don't feel like my form is right. I don't why it is, but at the bottom inch or two my hips suddenly seem to become "loose", as if they're sort of wobbling from side to side slightly. Once I get out of the bottom I'm fine, but I'm worried that if I go heavier this may become more pronounced.

    I haven't got an ideal squatter's body - I'm 6' 3" and have relatively long limbs/short body - but I'd have thought I should still be able to increase my squat slowly (I'm generally adding 2.5 - 5 kg at a time, so I'm not stepping up in very large jumps).

    Does anybody have any advice on ways to improve my form, and/or what approach I should take? Should I back off a little and work on consolidating my form for a few weeks, then edge back up? Should I stay at 100 for a while then go up? Or something else entirely?

    I'd appreciate any advice, I know there are plenty of good squatters on here so I'd love to hear from you!

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Trying to figure this out JohnCollins's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Don't worry about increasing the weight until you feel totally confident in your form. This isn't a race or a competition with anyone but yourself.

    If your "hips feel wobbly" at the bottom, chances are you could do some back rounding also that would hurt your lower back. Done properly and progressing slowly, squats should be "safe". But if you're overdoing the weight and/or tired, you're asking for lower back problems.

    Go back to a weight where you feel rock solid confident in the way it feels, even stay there for a while. You'll likely get deeper each time, too. The motion will kind of "burn in" to your body memory. Then start slowly increasing the weights. Each time stay with the weight until you feel really confident again before going up.

    Be patient. I'm trying to learn to get comfortable with deadlifts right now, and I'm not lifting much, but it feels a little better each time. Probably a few more sessions and I'll start increasing the weight.

    Exercises done with really good form just make you feel great. Done with wobbly form, they can be scary and dangerous and just don't make you feel as good. Take your time.

    "Only two things are infinite; the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the universe." --Albert Einstein

    Had a good workout on my liver yesterday. Did a pretty high number of reps, but not to complete failure. Liver DOMS today is kinda has even reached my head! -- ElPietro

    "If I ever found a chick who smelled like gun powder and spent cartridges, I'd run to a jewelry store, rob it, and propose to her with a sack of diamonds. " --Budiak

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  3. #3
    As I Am Paul Stagg's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Baltimore, MD, USA
    100kgx15 is great!

    I'd either keep the weight there and keep practicing form, or if you want to bump the weight up, drop your reps back a bit and work back up to the 15's
    Squats work better than supplements.
    "You know, if I thought like that, I'd never put more than one plate on the bar for anything, I'd never use bands or chains, I'd never squat to parallel or below, and I'd never let out the slightest grunt when I lift. At some point in your lifting career (assuming you're planning on getting reasonably strong and big), you're going to have to accept that most people think you are some kind of freak." -Sensei
    "You're wrong, and I have a completely irrelevant pubmed abstract that may or may not say so." - Belial
    I has a blog.
    I has a facebook.

  4. #4
    Wannabebig New Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Northumberland, England
    OK, thanks for the advice both.

    As you say, it's patience that will pay off. In my previous attempts at training I'd rush into it too much, try to put the weights up too fast, and inevitably stop training after a few months because I was just burnt out and not progressing. I'm a bit older now and less impetuous, coming back to training after a couple of years of couch-potato-ness, and far more willing to train over the long term. A month or two working on form can't do anything but help, so I guess I'll drop down to something like 85 or 90, where I feel comfortable, and just work on getting every single rep in good form; do this for a few weeks maybe, then start inching upwards again.

    Are there any supplementary exercises that would be worth doing (to improve form at the bottom of the squat)? I only have access to barbell/dumbbells, an adjustable bench and some squat stands, so I can't do any machine work.

    Thanks again, it's appreciated!

  5. #5
    Banned Berserker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Eating more pork.
    Would lower reps be better for form? More likely to cheat when you get to the 15th rep? I am doing 6-8 reps, used to do 10 reps. I like doing it more. Which might be bad, not supposed to like squats. Also might get your pounds up quicker, with lower reps. Though lower reps would be more weight which might be bad for form too. What does anybody else think?
    By the way 100kg for 15 reps isn't bad.


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