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Quad weakness in a squat - Hwat do?

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  • Quad weakness in a squat - Hwat do?

    My squat is very problematic. As soon as i approach low rep ranges (1-5) with relatively high RPE (@8+ for example) it just becomes a good morning.
    I get on my toes and lean over because if i try to stay in the position (The most efficient position, bar over mid foot, no knee valgus etc) my quads just wont be able to grind trough the lift. Its always a miss. (I think its also worth mentioning that i can probably bench press more than i can high bar / front squat with good form so theres that)

    Now my plan to solve this was to, during a developmental block do exclusively high bar squats with good form (not letting the hips rise out of the bottom etc) and include various quad accesory movements

    >Considering that my high bar is significantly weaker than my low bar is staying absent from it during the whole hypertrophy block a smart programming idea? (absent from low bar)
    >Is high bar going to be spesific enough to low bar because of a significant weight difference that i can use between the two?
    >Should i use low bar (with 0 tolerance to form breakdown) for my heaviest work and do high bar on light days?
    >Something worth mentioning is that conventional deadlifts that i also use for hypertrophy beat up my lower back like shiiii- So i am sceptical about mixing it in with low bar much, could potentially run into some recovery issues

    (If this matters i am managing my programming using block periodization, with 2-4 hypertrophy mesocycles and 1-2 strength mesocycles, peaking excluded for the most part)


    Thank you for your time.

  • #2
    I think doing lots of strict HB and quad accessories is a good call but I would include strict LB at a load and RIR where your form is good (maybe sets of [email protected]%). If it's far out from a comp then not having that exposure to 85%+ isn't as big a deal. How long are your blocks?

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    • #3
      You could be not doing enough hip drahhhhve and or leading with chest first or theres some factor influencing your recovery session to session thats causing you to overshoot rpe.

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      • 4l3x
        4l3x commented
        Editing a comment
        IMO cueing hip drive doesn't help with this issue, it can actually make it worse. I prefer cueing keep the knees forward.

    • #4
      I'm in exactly the same spot as OP, it's kind of uncanny because I just made the exact same change to my programming that he is contemplating, for the same reasons.

      I kept low bar for my primary movement and subbed in absolutely strict high bar for my secondary and tertiary movements. I just finished my first week of this.

      Some observations from my first week:

      1. My high bar 1 RM is 60% of my low bar 1 RM (according to the generic RPE table, I think it's actually not quite that extreme).

      2. Subjectively, the quad stimulus from the strict HB feels very real and better than what I was getting from split squats and paused LBS.

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      • #5
        Well, we will see how it goes. Its most likely what i am gonna do in the end. A bunch of high bar.

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        • #6
          Lohengramm14, please keep us posted - I too have been struggling with this exact problem, to the point where I have recently done a total squat reset, almost literally starting from zero (the bar).

          I also have thought about the quad question, but my current thinking is I think I will stay with the low bar squats. Let me say I experience exactly what you described: on the rare occasion when I feel I am stable and not pitching forward in the squat, it can suddenly become more of a grind than I expected and it feels like my quads are doing the grinding. So I conclude my quads are weak.

          This may be true, but I think I will stick with low bar and accept the quad grinding, taking off weight if need be. This way I'm developing the quads at the same time as the posterior chain and my low bar technique - the last two would suffer if I emphasized high bar too much. But I am tempted to do high bar maybe once a week.

          May I ask, what cues have you been using to combat the good morning? "Proud chest" never did it for me - I have proud chested myself into oblivion, resulting in the same old good morning, or I get a bit more stable but am leading with my chest, which I gather is not good for the low bar.

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          • #7
            Originally posted by SquareOne View Post
            Lohengramm14, please keep us posted - I too have been struggling with this exact problem, to the point where I have recently done a total squat reset, almost literally starting from zero (the bar).

            I also have thought about the quad question, but my current thinking is I think I will stay with the low bar squats. Let me say I experience exactly what you described: on the rare occasion when I feel I am stable and not pitching forward in the squat, it can suddenly become more of a grind than I expected and it feels like my quads are doing the grinding. So I conclude my quads are weak.

            This may be true, but I think I will stick with low bar and accept the quad grinding, taking off weight if need be. This way I'm developing the quads at the same time as the posterior chain and my low bar technique - the last two would suffer if I emphasized high bar too much. But I am tempted to do high bar maybe once a week.

            May I ask, what cues have you been using to combat the good morning? "Proud chest" never did it for me - I have proud chested myself into oblivion, resulting in the same old good morning, or I get a bit more stable but am leading with my chest, which I gather is not good for the low bar.

            You will detrain your low bar squat a little if you switch to high bar but I would not worry about your posterior chain. You'll get enough stimulus from DL and DL assistance exercises.

            I think the way of regularly resetting is just not time efficient.

            As far as cues I would just focus on keeping your back up (alternatively, your back angle fixed) coming out of the hole. If you really have a problem with quad weakness you will flatten your back regardless, so you're not likely to overdo it.

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            • #8
              I wonder if adding some hack squats (2 sets, 12-20 reps RPE 8-9 for three weeks, then add another set) would help.

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              • #9
                Originally posted by BrewinBombers View Post
                I wonder if adding some hack squats (2 sets, 12-20 reps RPE 8-9 for three weeks, then add another set) would help.
                Do you mean barbell back squats or machine hack squats?

                If the latter, definitely. I would add them if I could. Belt squats would be even better.

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