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Squatting-getting out of the hole(16 posts)

Squatting-getting out of the holePODIUMBOUNDdotCA
Jan 14, 2003 10:22 PM
I'm back to this sticking point in my training. What suggestions do you people have? I have 2 problems with my squat... a (relatively) weak lower back and miscordination between my glutes, my back and my legs. What can I do to work on this? I've heard everything from front squats (which I already do) to reverse quarter squats from the pins...

re: Squatting-getting out of the holeJuanmoretime
Jan 15, 2003 2:20 AM
Hi Nick, I stopped doing full squats over ten years ago. When cycling you just don't use that much range of motion. Plus it bothered my back aand knees. When I do squat I only do half squats. I'm also a big fan of leg presses since your lower back is supported by the bench. I also use leg curls and extensions to work the up leg.
1) too much weight 2) don't go in the hole, IMHO. nmSpunout
Jan 15, 2003 4:18 AM
What are you trying to accomplish?frankamo
Jan 15, 2003 5:02 AM
I'm not sure what you are trying to do. Getting out of the hole is always going to be the most difficult part of the lift. Once you get your legs to about a 45 degree angle, you've got the lift done.

You're never going to be able to lift as much weight in a full squat as you will be able to do in a half squat.

For example, I can full squat around 325 right now, but if I only go half way down I could add about 100 pounds to that.
Definitions & questions on squatsPaulCL
Jan 15, 2003 6:26 AM
Full squat: going all the way down to where your butt touches your shoes. Or something close??
Half squat: your legs form a 45 degree angle at the knee??
Are these correct?

What's the advantage/disadvantage of one over the other for a cyclist???

My gym finally got a squat rack this fall. On my first set last September, I strained my back. Bad form. Now I'm back to doing them, but I'm very wary of putting on too much weight. Am I fighting a losing battle by doing 15-18 reps with lower weights vs 8-10 reps with more weight?? My biggest fear is another back strain/pull. Man, did that hurt like a #(&%( for a week!

Thanks. Paul
work on your core and form firstColnagoFE
Jan 15, 2003 6:13 AM
Do squats with just the bar--no weight. Get your form perfect. In the meantime work on core stabilization...a swiss ball and some basic exercises would go a long way to helping you strengthen your back and abs...sounds like there might be an imbalance there--pretty common for cyclists.
re: Squatting-getting out of the holenetso
Jan 15, 2003 7:06 AM
First, define what you are trying to accomplish a. Quadricep improvement b. vastus strength etc. Second, I would find a bodybuilder and/or powerlifter that really knows this lift to help you. Foot position is very important to this lift.
feet higherFrith
Jan 15, 2003 7:09 AM
Not sure if you've tried it, but assuming your squat rack is of the angled variety experiment with putting your feet a little higer or forward on the platform. Once i found a good position getting out of the hole became alot easier.
Also It may be that the upper part of your quad is better developed than the part closest to your knee (the part you need in the hole). You may have to work your way up in weight for the lower quad even though it may feel too easy for the upper portion.
feet higherbrider
Jan 15, 2003 7:13 AM
You're referring to a hip sled with a hack squat option. Not the same thing at all.
re: Squatting-getting out of the holebrider
Jan 15, 2003 7:12 AM
So, Nick, I'm assuming you've gotten over your aversion to getting IN the hole. You're now at glutes-to-calves in depth, without rounding your back? Good.

Something you haven't mentioned, however, is your body angle. If you're at chest-to-thighs at full depth, you probably have the bar too low on your back. It should be resting in the groove between your delts and across the lower traps. Have some one look at you from behind when you put your arms in the back squat position and put their fingers in that groove so you can feel exactly where the bar should go. For many people (especially lean types that cyclists usually are), a Manta Ray will help distribute the bar load across more area, as there isn't a lot of back mass to protect the bones.

As suggested by another responder, lowering the weight a bit will help you get that coordination down. You DON'T want to get any ingrained form problems -- correct that form now so it doesn't cause problems when the weight goes up. Make the concentric part of the lift one smooth motion. Practice it with little weight (don't necessarily need to go all the way back to just the bar, but it shouldn't be anything you'd struggle with for a 20-rep set). If the low back is weak, do some good mornings, or incorporate some deadlifts on the hip-dominant day. While front squats will help with the thigh coordination to get out of the hole, they really don't do anything for the back. Concentrate on looking up, keep the back tight, and make that smooth motion to a standing position.
Simulate cycling actionmass_biker
Jan 15, 2003 7:12 AM
Which means NOT doing a full (deep) squat. Ditto for leg extensions (i.e. a more limited range of motion). That way you can work with higher reps more comfortably and with less potential damage. The most I do is ~ half squat, with my femur a touch above horizontal at the lowest point of the squat.

I found that doing a set of 20 with just the bar is essential to getting all the different body parts working together properly before stacking on some weight. Also, I find that doing exercises that work large muscles/groups of muscles first (i.e. squats) is better than leaving such exercises until the end.

Simulate cycling actionSpunout
Jan 15, 2003 8:14 AM
Good suggestions! I went through my AA, now I do 6 reps of 135, 6 reps of 185, and three or four of 205. It is the first big lift of the workout(MS).

On the leg press, I'm peaking about 300 (I go to two different gyms depending on the day).
Simulate cycling action53T
Jan 15, 2003 11:14 AM
That's interesting. I new to squats, but the new Y down the street (jealous?) has a nice squat rack, with mirror right there for continuous form checking. I find two sets x 10 of half squats with 125# to be an effective workout. Wheras I can draw a crowd with about 600# x 10 on the leg press if I don't go too deep.

Am I imbalanced (physically, not mentaly)? Do you think I just need to get more expereince with the squat?
Base/build and then moremass_biker
Jan 15, 2003 12:13 PM
I've been doing squats in the winter for about as long as I can remember, and moved to free weights (on the squat rack) about three years ago.

My "base" set consists of 3 sets of 30 reps at bar + 2x25 lb plates. This goes up to the same # of reps and then 2x35 plates. I have found that this kind of endurance lifting is very helpful, and would say that this comprises almost 3/4 of my off season program.

After several months of lifting at this level, I begin to add more weight but drop the # of reps, starting with 15 reps at base weight and then more weight, but fewer (i.e. 12) reps etc., building it into a pyramid. I max out at bar + 2x70lbs of plates. This type of build is best done with a good lifting base behind you, and is a good bridge between gym time and more time on the bike.

To do really heavy lifting, there is nothing like the leg press, but I find it more useful in the month or so right before outdoor riding/racing really picks up. No use doing tons of (exhausting) weight when your outdoor mileage is increasing. You just get tired that way.

re: Squatting-getting out of the holeRaven1911
Jan 15, 2003 8:54 PM
Squats are probably the best exercise for cyclists! I know a professional track sprinter that devised an offseason workout for me and squats and the number one exercise he told me to do! One thing people are failing to mention is to remember to concentrate on pushing through your heels. Always look up and try to lock your back out in extension(keep it straight). Your gluts and hammis should do most of the work! Another really good cycling specific exercise is to do leg press with one leg at a time. You will be really sore on those as it stretches the gluts and hamstrings a lot!

In order to get past the sticking point or 'hole' as you call it try lowering the weight and doing squats concentrating only on that part of the range of motion where you stick. Your core strength will improve as you do more squats, but to speed up the process do lower back exercises and abdominal crunches. Remember to breathe out as you push up the weight and you might want to consider wearing a belt with heavier weight. Hope that helps.

Thanks! (nm)PODIUMBOUNDdotCA
Jan 15, 2003 9:34 PM