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  • Yet another squat question

    Hello everybody, I've been doing stronglifts for a while now and seeing some great gains/losses. However as I'm getting stronger the weights are getting heavier. Now that my (zercher) squat is around 90kg/198lbs it's really putting a lot of pressure on my core/lower back, so much so that the day after its very stiff and bending down etc is difficult and I feel like it might 'go' at anytime. (happened a few months back)

    But...... While doing deadlifts the is no pain/discomfort at all. Obviously I don't want swap deads for squats completely and cause a muscle imbalance (?). So I was thinking that maybe hack squats (with a barbell, stood on a raised platform to get parallel) may be substituted in.

    Also, would it be the worst thing in the world to do;
    5xhack
    5xdead
    5xhack
    5xdead
    5xhqck
    5xdead
    Every workout Instead of 5x5 squat with 1x5 dead every other workout?

    I know b@$tardising stronglifts is frowned upon but it's just not practical for my situation.

    Thanks for your help, Chris.

  • #2
    If your back feels like its about to "let go" during a squat, your form is jacked to hell. Stop now before you blow it out and do serious damage.

    Why are you doing zercher squats, anyway? Last I checked, strong lifts is a ripoff of Starting Strength, and calls for squats, that would be, in absence of any qualifier, low or high bar BACK squats.

    If you are squatting with proper form, your back should feel perfectly stable, the only time I ever hurt my back squatting was when someone yelled at me to lookout and I relaxed my core about halfway up. Wound up having to ditch the bar, and had some choice words for the asshat that let their Swiss ball get loose. That one cost me a solid month off...

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    • #3
      Agree with the pain and proper form comment. My trainer would not let me lift higher weights until I could do the lower weight with proper back form. So drop down a bit till it feels better and start working up again. Do more reps at a lower weight till you can add on with good form.

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      • #4
        Totally agree, get that bar on your back, and get parallel. Also if your back and core hurt they are weak, you need assistance work, Squat you 5x5 numbers, and then pick two or three of these, good mornings, leg press, lunges, reverse hypers, stiff leg deadlift, Bulgarians, rows,followed by abs, lower back and planks, dead lift on a other day and repeat the assistance work.

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        • #5
          You can't just blindly substitute Zercher squats for back squats and assume nothing will change.
          Lifting Journal

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          • #6
            Deload and get your form sorted.

            Don't forget there are lots of good 5x5 programs out there.
            Last edited by Dirlot; 07-12-2012, 10:18 AM.
            Eating primal is not a diet, it is a way of life.
            PS
            Don't forget to play!

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            • #7
              You miss understood, my back/core feels fine when performing the exercise, it's the next day that it becomes very stiff.

              The reason I'm zerchering instead of back squats is that I have no affordable (to me) gyms anywhere near me, and all I have at home is a bench pressing all-in-one bench thing, which has bar at around elbow height. I would love to have a squat/power rack at home but I really don't have the space or money.

              Ill the surgestion of deloading on board (might give the bruises on my arms and my ego time to heal)

              What do you guys think about dropping some squat sets for extra deadlifts. I know it's not SS/SL to the letter but I want to enjoy my 'workouts' as much as possible.

              Thanks for responses guys, always appreciated.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Caveman_chris View Post
                You miss understood, my back/core feels fine when performing the exercise, it's the next day that it becomes very stiff.

                The reason I'm zerchering instead of back squats is that I have no affordable (to me) gyms anywhere near me, and all I have at home is a bench pressing all-in-one bench thing, which has bar at around elbow height. I would love to have a squat/power rack at home but I really don't have the space or money.

                Ill the surgestion of deloading on board (might give the bruises on my arms and my ego time to heal)

                What do you guys think about dropping some squat sets for extra deadlifts. I know it's not SS/SL to the letter but I want to enjoy my 'workouts' as much as possible.

                Thanks for responses guys, always appreciated.
                FWIW, my back is always tight after heavy squats. Epsom baths help.

                Still, be careful with Zerchers, especially in combination with conventional deadlifts.
                Lifting Journal

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                • #9
                  Deadlifts are awesome.
                  You could also try some one legged body weight squats. ...harder than you think and less stress on the back.
                  Eating primal is not a diet, it is a way of life.
                  PS
                  Don't forget to play!

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Dirlot View Post
                    Deadlifts are awesome.
                    You could also try some one legged body weight squats. ...harder than you think and less stress on the back.
                    I find these much easier with about 10 lbs held out in front of me, but otherwise I agree.

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                    • #11
                      Hi Caveman_chris,

                      I hear your frustration. In my experience, lower back pain, very near the top of glutes, some time after squats may have a lot to do with excessively tight hamstrings and hips (which will certainly alter lifting form in a negative way). I come from a history of years of distance running and also sitting all day at work with no mobility work... ever. I was very tight when I first started squatting and I found early on that the day after squatting I would have the tightest lower back, it was particularly noticeable when getting up from my desk, a general stiffness that would soon dissipate once I got moving around.

                      Can you get into an asian squat position, heels on the floor and stay there for a while without falling backwards?

                      For me the solution was to incorporate regular mobility work and foam rolling. I had to work hard not to try and rush through my sessions (previously I always hated 'stretching') and now I still focus on relaxing through my routine. I spend no more than 15 minutes a day maybe 4 or 5 days a week. For me it took a solid month for the issue to resolve. It does take a bit of discipline to make sure your working your mobility, but it is important and should be a part of what your doing whether you're lifting or not. Also improving your mobility will almost certainly help with maintaining form through out any lift.

                      With regards to form, I would suggest really focussing on what your body is doing durning any lift, you're in the best place to know if what your doing is putting you in a compromising position, it can be hard sometimes to rein it in when you really want to go for it, but injuries are more annoying than not putting more weight on the bar. Squats are never comfortable if you're working it hard, but you should feel neutral and solid in your core throughout the lift and know where everything else is and/or should be - feet, knees, hips, shoulders, chin, etc. I would echo what's been previously said and deload until you feel comfortable both during and after your sessions and then work back up in a slow, controlled and methodical way.

                      Someone also mentioned epsom salt baths, I've also personally found a magnesium supplement to be really helpful with general stiffness/soreness after training.

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                      • #12
                        Just stick with air squats.
                        People who load up with weights love to say how great it is....until they destroy their backs.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by OnlyBodyWeight View Post
                          Just stick with air squats.
                          People who load up with weights love to say how great it is....until they destroy their backs.
                          Care to cite any actual evidence of this?
                          Lifting Journal

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                          • #14
                            Won't destroy your back if its in the correct position. You will strengthen your back immensely. Air squats are a waste of time if you are trying to build muscle and strength.

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