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Thread: Squat question

  1. #1
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    Squat question

    I know what a great exercise it is, and I'd love to regularly do it, but I simply can't go all the way down and come up. The only squat I mange to do looks like crap, and i don't even get to a 90 degree angle, not even close. If you put a chair under me, i would still look like i was standing, barely benting my knees. What's the problem? I am able to work fine on machines which require a squat movement, except it provides more support. I have knee inflammation. I am hoping squats can improve their stability. Why am I having so much trouble on the squat smith machine, yet not as much on leg presses and etc.

    Thanks for the info in advance.



    PS. on the Smith Squat machine, I load 2X45's and 2X25 plates so thats 140+the 45 for the olympic bar right? I barely squat 185 5 times, and it's the ugliest most newbish squat you'll ever see. Should I just work extremelly light weight and practice doing ass to the grounds? TO be hoenst with you, I can barely do a ATG without any weight.
    Last edited by dualman7; 09-17-2004 at 07:43 PM.

  2. #2
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    Start out with less weight with good form and keep doing that until you get the form down correctly, then start adding weight...this way you won't look so weird J/K

    You legs should be about shoulder-width apart, and you toes slightly pointed out, and you need to come down 90 degrees, thighs parallel to the floor. There are many different squats, but this is definitely the most basic and most common.

    Also, how tall are you? Taller people seem to have more trouble squatting than shorter people, as they lean forward farther, putting more pressure on the back.
    "Hey skinny, I can see your ribs!" - Arnold Schwarzenegger

  3. #3
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    i had problems getting the form down as well when i first started. it felt like i simply couldnt go down far enough. after working with extremely light weight and looking high up on the wall while in motion i eventually was able to figure it out.

  4. #4
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    Yes, squats are very tricky to get down at first, you just got to work at it...
    "Hey skinny, I can see your ribs!" - Arnold Schwarzenegger

  5. #5
    Senior Member RussianRocket's Avatar
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    lower the weight, could be your balance also. Example, the way you feet are placed, hands and where you look)
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  6. #6
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    id recommend...


    taking fishoil (if you arent already) because it will relieve inflammations and also lubricate your knees making squating movements very fluid and easy.

    then without any weight at all hold onto a door frame (mid-riff height) and squat down slowly as low as you can go (ass to the floor if u can) repeat this in sets of 10 until you can perform the motion keeping your back in the correct arched postion (head facing slighlty up)

    then move onto just using an unloaded barbell, and repeating sets of 10.

    just nail that form and then start adding weight - get some1 to watch you too, who knows what to look for.

    good luck

  7. #7
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    thanks alot digitised. I have been to many doctors, and there is limited knowledge out there on dealing with inflammation other than pills that mess up the liver. Anything else I can supplement to help improve it?
    Last edited by dualman7; 09-18-2004 at 02:32 PM.

  8. #8
    En botella whey! Max-Mex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dualman7
    PS. on the Smith Squat machine, I load 2X45's and 2X25 plates so thats 140+the 45 for the olympic bar right? I barely squat 185 5 times, and it's the ugliest most newbish squat you'll ever see. Should I just work extremelly light weight and practice doing ass to the grounds? TO be hoenst with you, I can barely do a ATG without any weight.
    It means you are lifting too heavy. Lighter weight. Start with 2 25's and go from there. Yes it sucks to squat that light but not everyone starts with big weights.
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  9. #9
    Strength & Protection Kiaran's Avatar
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    Hmmm, I have a few ideas here for you. Smith machine 'bar weight' to me feels like air. I mean the damn thing practically lifts itself when you scoot it up, so I don't ever even bother to count that as 45 pounds. Smith machine practically keeps the weight moving for you too. This is why I don't like it, however this is my opinion, so don't get excited. Anyhow, about your knee and squat problems:

    If you knees are killing you, try a few things. You may be pointing your toes/feet in too much, causing torque on your knee joint, stretching the ligaments out. This hurts...a lot. Try pointing your toes out and make absolutely sure that your knee bends in the same direction that your toes are pointing. When the knee does not bend in the same line as the feet point, this creates an unatural path and elbow and knee joints don't really bend this way. Also, if you are having difficulty getting low, try widening your stance. Find a stance that suits you, everyone is shaped different. Depending on your flexibility and hip width, you will find a position that works. Remember that too wide of a stance will begin working more of the inner thighs and too narrow will work more outter thighs. Lastly, in order to get lower with a lot of weight, you will need to find a position on your back that the bar does not push you forward. I have really long legs, and a shorter torso, so the bar on my traps will push me way forward, due to the fact that I have to lean more forward as I get low (think about it). What I do in my case is i carry the bar way low on my rear delts. It took a little while (2 weeks) for me to get used to this but now I will never go back. Some people have short legs and longer torsos, these people probably couldn't carry the bar as low as I without feeling like toppling backwards. They would benefit from placing the bar more on their traps. Hope this helps. Don't be afraid to experiment.

  10. #10
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    Thanks Kiaran

  11. #11
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    Actually, the Smith Machine bar only gives 15lbs. resistence.
    If you're not lifting hard, you're taking up space.
    Get the f$*# out.

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    (I'm still working on these as of 12.13.04)

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  12. #12
    Senior Member geoffgarcia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by basil
    Actually, the Smith Machine bar only gives 15lbs. resistence.
    it probably depends on each machine and how well lubricated they are.
    While the bar might weigh 15 pounds, there is a lot of surface area that gets rubbed where friction can be applied. The bar on the smith at the gym I go to is so un-oiled that if you put no weight on it and take off the safety things the bar just sits there it won't drop...however, thats not to say its 0 pounds, because if you try to pull it up theres so much friction the bar is hard to move

  13. #13
    Senior Member geoffgarcia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dualman7
    I can't go all the way down and come up.
    My squats look like crap
    I don't get to a 90 degree angle, not even close

    What's the problem?

    I barely squat 185 5 times
    it sounds like vanity is holding you back
    dont be so concerned with how much your lifting...just give it an honest effort and use good form.
    If you can't squat 185 with good form then why are you lifting so much?
    Drop down to 95 pounds and start squatting with good form.

  14. #14
    Wannabebig Wannabe! Skinny's Avatar
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    Ok guys since this is a pretty good squat topic I need to throw in a question of my own. My problem with squats is I do them at home without a spotter. When I what to add more weight to progress, I have a hard time pressing the bar back off my delts on the 3rd set. I was saving for a squat rack or something, but laid off from work, so money goes else where now. I was thinging of trying lunges, but i figure it would be the same thing on the 3rd set or so. Any options here guys? I love squats though and I don't want to have to always squat what I know I will be able to remove from my delts come 3rd set. Does anybody else have a similar problem they might have found an easy solution for. Please share.

    TIA
    Last edited by Skinny; 09-22-2004 at 10:41 PM.

  15. #15
    En botella whey! Max-Mex's Avatar
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    Hack squats.
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    Squat: PR 1@375, Goal 1@400
    Bench: PR 2@275, Goal 1@300

  16. #16
    En botella whey! Max-Mex's Avatar
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    You could also learn to power clean.
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    Deadlift: PR 1@440, Goal 1@450
    Squat: PR 1@375, Goal 1@400
    Bench: PR 2@275, Goal 1@300

  17. #17
    Wannabebig Wannabe! Skinny's Avatar
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    Hey Max-Mex, have you used hacks before? Are they just as effective as trust old squats?

  18. #18
    En botella whey! Max-Mex's Avatar
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    No, but it's the best sub since you have no rack. Try them out.
    Burritos are the bomb for bulking!
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    PB's&Goals

    Deadlift: PR 1@440, Goal 1@450
    Squat: PR 1@375, Goal 1@400
    Bench: PR 2@275, Goal 1@300

  19. #19
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    I prefer leg press to hack squat. Hack squat puts too much stress on your shoulders

  20. #20
    Wannabebig Wannabe! Skinny's Avatar
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    I'll give some of those exercises a shot. Maybe I'll try holding the bar in front of me, instead of behind my neck. I always did it behind the neck though so I might be a little off balance

    Thanks Mex

  21. #21
    Body Under Construction thalakos84's Avatar
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    Something I don't see a lot of guys suggesting is stretching. You gotta stretch to maintain and increase flexibility. From my own experience and observation, usually the bigger guys who don't stretch are the ones with the goofy form on squats and deadlifts. That or they don't go to 90 degrees. A good rule that I heard from a trainer was that if you can't bend down and put your hands flat on the floor, you're not flexible. Kind of extreme I know, but I stretch all of the time and I've never pulled a muscle and I have great form.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by basil
    Actually, the Smith Machine bar only gives 15lbs. resistence.
    I guess that's a standard, but there are two smith machines at my gym. One is 55lbs and the other is 65lbs, and they do seem heavier than just the olympic bar.
    "Hey skinny, I can see your ribs!" - Arnold Schwarzenegger

  23. #23
    En botella whey! Max-Mex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thalakos84
    From my own experience and observation, usually the bigger guys who don't stretch are the ones with the goofy form on squats and deadlifts.
    I don't stretch. I think my form is pretty damn good, thank you very much!
    Burritos are the bomb for bulking!
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    PB's&Goals

    Deadlift: PR 1@440, Goal 1@450
    Squat: PR 1@375, Goal 1@400
    Bench: PR 2@275, Goal 1@300

  24. #24
    Strength & Protection Kiaran's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thalakos84
    Something I don't see a lot of guys suggesting is stretching. You gotta stretch to maintain and increase flexibility. From my own experience and observation, usually the bigger guys who don't stretch are the ones with the goofy form on squats and deadlifts. That or they don't go to 90 degrees. A good rule that I heard from a trainer was that if you can't bend down and put your hands flat on the floor, you're not flexible. Kind of extreme I know, but I stretch all of the time and I've never pulled a muscle and I have great form.
    Sounds to me like they just have goofy form, doubt it has to do with flexibility. Also, some people don't like to go down to 90 degrees when they get into the really heavy weight due to the amount of torque that gets placed on the knee joints. Basically the quad is outgrowing the amount of torque that can really be placed on the knee and if they did go down to 90 degrees, problems could ensue...give em' a break.

  25. #25
    hammin'
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    Quote Originally Posted by Max-Mex
    I don't stretch. I think my form is pretty damn good, thank you very much!
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