Iskaral Pust

Exercise and Fitness: sticking to resolutions

414 posts in this topic

@JordanJH1993

If you struggle with parallel position for squats, you should do some mobility work. Hip mobility in case of squats, but you shouldn't stop only at that. Look up some exercises online but do try to do them. It has helped me a lot with squats (and cleans, thrusters etc.).

Regarding DOMS, I would suggest lighter loads and working on your technique while slowly building up strength.

Other than that, I can't offer much advice.

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6 minutes ago, baxus said:

@JordanJH1993

If you struggle with parallel position for squats, you should do some mobility work. Hip mobility in case of squats, but you shouldn't stop only at that. Look up some exercises online but do try to do them. It has helped me a lot with squats (and cleans, thrusters etc.).

 

Yup there isn't much excuse for a healthy person to not be able to get deep. Mobility is key.

If you are using a wider stance and not going very deep then you will be using far more of your posterior chain vs quads.

If you want to hit your quads more for whatever reason front squats are a good choice but if you don't have the mobility to back squat you may struggle.

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@lessthanluke, my stance is usually slightly wider than shoulder width, so that I can get more depth than I would at shoulder width. This likely takes away emphasis from my quads and puts it onto my glutes, but the closer my feet are together, the harder it is to reach parallel. I try to keep my feet straight with toes pointing forwards.

In terms of depth, it is about parallel; as the sets progress, I become more mobile and I'm able to get lower. I notice on hack squat specifically, the heavier the load, the easier I find it to get lower. 

Last night, I was spotting a guy squatting; his stance was pretty narrow and he was able to get right down, almost ass-to-grass. As soon as he finished his set of 3 reps, though, he was complaining about knee pain.

The problem, as you say, with front squats is that anytime I tried them, I found my mobility hindered me from being able to perform them properly.

9 minutes ago, baxus said:

@JordanJH1993

If you struggle with parallel position for squats, you should do some mobility work. Hip mobility in case of squats, but you shouldn't stop only at that. Look up some exercises online but do try to do them. It has helped me a lot with squats (and cleans, thrusters etc.).

Were there any key mobility exercises that you found to be crucial to include in your mobility work, for squats specifically? I find that I have no real tightness in my hamstrings; the problems with tightness and stiffness I have seem to come mainly from hips / lower back.

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15 minutes ago, lessthanluke said:

Try point your feet out a bit, your knees should then track over the line of your feet. 

Like in this picture https://www.bodybuilding.com/exercises/exerciseImages/sequences/3861/Male/m/3861_2.jpg

 

I will keep that picture in mind for when I squat next, thanks.

My questions stem from wanting to improve muscle mass on my thighs, which are the muscle group of mine that are lagging behind the rest in terms of size.

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51 minutes ago, JordanJH1993 said:

@lessthanlukeWere there any key mobility exercises that you found to be crucial to include in your mobility work, for squats specifically? I find that I have no real tightness in my hamstrings; the problems with tightness and stiffness I have seem to come mainly from hips / lower back.

Luke addressed the feet position and knee movement already, so I'll skip that part.

Regarding mobility exercises I found helpful for my hips, I'll try to describe them. If you have any questions, ask straight away, don't risk doing them wrong and have no use of those (at best).

  1. Do a bit longer lunge than usual and remain in the low position. Push your hips forward a bit and keep it there for a while (5-10 seconds should be enough). Repeat that a couple of times.
  2. While in the same position, put your hand (left hand if you stepped out with your right leg and vice versa) on the ground, approximately shoulder width from your front foot and use your other hand to push your knee a bit out to the side. Once again, keep that position for a while (5-10 seconds) and repeat it a couple of times.
  3. Keeping your hand on the ground, touch your other arms elbow to the ground. Repeat that a couple of times (no need for keeping that position for 5-10 seconds).
  4. Do all of this again, this time with your other foot forward.

These helped me quite a bit and are the ones I can remember off the top of my head.

Once again, if the description is in any way unclear, ask.

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@baxus, the descriptions seem pretty clear to me, thanks - I'll give it shot before squatting.

As I mentioned, after a few sets of squats, I do seem to loosen up, enabling me to get a bit lower, which helps stretch out the quads on the eccentric phase. It would help, obviously, if I was loose enough before I started squatting, so I could get that extra level of depth from the beginning, rather than mid-way through.

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You have good advice above but in case it helps:

- I do air squats between sets of barbell squats just to keep limber, and I make sure my butt is hitting my heels in those air squats

- I stretch my hamstrings, calves, adductors, flexors, glutes and IT band in addition to quads between all sets.  You need them all flexible and primed.

- deep squats require good hip movement and associated core muscles

- you can get a deep eccentric quad action from Bulgarian half squats: like lunges with weights, but your back foot is supported on a bench knee high and your weight stays over your front leg.  They do a lot more for your upper quad than will leg extensions.

- I alternate barbell squats and leg curl but I leave deadlifts until after barbell squats so that my hamstring isn’t over strained for barbell squats. 

I used to struggle with depth but I really just needed to get more limber.  I make sure to go deeper than parallel when squatting anything less than my maximum, and then aim for parallel on my maximum.  If I can’t get to parallel then it’s too much weight. 

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I got a workout this morning before starting my travel, but an early workout with only a banana for fuel beforehand left me short of energy.  I lost a rep on some of my heaviest sets, but very glad to have got the exercise before travel. 

Shoulder press, pull-ups and a token gesture to arms, left out lat raises and core. 

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I got back from travel late Friday night, Saturday was wholly taken up by stuff with my wife and son so no workout, Sunday I just about made time for an upper body session and did my best bench press in months.  I’m hoping to get legs session on Tuesday evening. 

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My last leg session provided a much better 'pump' than my more recent ones.

As I was training by myself, I was able to dictate better what I was going to do within the session. I spent more time at the beginning of the session 'loosening up', which enabled me to squat deeper than I normally do.

I tried to stay in the 12-20 rep range in all exercises, and didn't lock out on squats or hack squats unless I was rest-pausing, enabling me to keep my quads under tension for a longer period of time.

My quads have always felt like they respond to higher reps and super sets better than straight sets in the 6-12 range. The past few months I have been training legs with the aim to get stronger in the 6-12 range, and I've probably become a bit too adapted to doing more or less the same workout every leg session. I think leg muscles, specifically quads, need more variation in terms of exercises and rep ranges than large upper body muscles, such as back and chest.

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43 minutes ago, JordanJH1993 said:

 

I think leg muscles, specifically quads, need more variation in terms of exercises and rep ranges than large upper body muscles, such as back and chest.

I think it's just personal preference tbh.

I don't tend to vary much from low rep back squats and that's about it.

My own training is currently taking a back seat as I am in the process of opening my own gym which is pretty exciting.

My girlfriend and I did do a "team deadlift" on the weekend of 460kg(1014lbs) though which was pretty  cool hah.

Edited by lessthanluke

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16 minutes ago, lessthanluke said:

I think it's just personal preference tbh.

Sorry, I should have clarified that I meant 'my leg muscles', rather than speaking generally. High rep workouts for chest or back seem to do nothing for me, but my quads respond well to them.

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