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What's the proper speed for doing a squat?

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  • What's the proper speed for doing a squat?

    I've recently reset my back squat in order to work on some form issues. Recently a trainer at my gym happened to watch me and told me I was going too fast on the upward movement, and this was causing me lean too far forward. (I think that was caused more by my knees coming in but that's a separate issue...) Anyway he told me to take 3-4 seconds on the descent and the same time on the ascent.

    So after hearing this I've tried to implement his advice but since movement slower doing this I've found squats to be a whole lot harder...Hence I'm wondering if this is right...(?)

  • #2
    If the weight's heavy enough, you won't have a lot of say in how fast you can do them.

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    • #3
      Yes moving slower will make it harder. Is it good advice? In terms of learning form I think so. You don't have to stick to it for life, but it definitely helps me to nail form.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by StupidFatHobbit View Post
        I've recently reset my back squat in order to work on some form issues. Recently a trainer at my gym happened to watch me and told me I was going too fast on the upward movement, and this was causing me lean too far forward. (I think that was caused more by my knees coming in but that's a separate issue...) Anyway he told me to take 3-4 seconds on the descent and the same time on the ascent.

        So after hearing this I've tried to implement his advice but since movement slower doing this I've found squats to be a whole lot harder...Hence I'm wondering if this is right...(?)
        I would recommend using a lighter weight first to perfect your form. Slower doesn't always fix the problem. Lifting a weight that allows for proper posture will.

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        • #5
          If you're still doing SS, don't worry about the bar speed. Just move the bar through the full ROM and then add some weight next time. It's hard to get the form completely right on squats, but just keep working on them. You'll get the hang of it.

          And it's counterproductive to listen to most trainers. They usually don't know what they're talking about. If you need help with something, just post on here or on the SS forum.
          In matters of style, swim with the current. In matters of principle, stand like a rock.

          This message has been intercepted by the NSA, the only branch of government that listens.

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          • #6
            "up too fast" is a ripe one. If you go up too fast, the barbell is too light.
            The Champagne of Beards

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            • #7
              When I first learned to squat, tempo was part of learning how to do it correctly. It helped me nail my newbie form. You've been at this for a while, so maybe your form could stand some tweaking. Post a video of your squat for our experts to critique.

              Yes, I am shameless.

              Sent from my SGH-T989 using Tapatalk

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              • #8
                Originally posted by StupidFatHobbit View Post
                I've recently reset my back squat in order to work on some form issues. Recently a trainer at my gym happened to watch me and told me I was going too fast on the upward movement, and this was causing me lean too far forward. (I think that was caused more by my knees coming in but that's a separate issue...) Anyway he told me to take 3-4 seconds on the descent and the same time on the ascent.

                So after hearing this I've tried to implement his advice but since movement slower doing this I've found squats to be a whole lot harder...Hence I'm wondering if this is right...(?)
                You can lean too far forward going slow, too. Squat-morning is the term I've heard for that. You have to take care not to do it because it's easy when the bar is light but once it gets heavy, you won't be able to get away with a squat-morning. So if you took weight off the bar, maybe put enough back on that you can feel the squat-morning enough to stop it from happening.
                Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by StupidFatHobbit View Post
                  Recently a trainer at my gym happened to watch me and told me I was going too fast on the upward movement, and this was causing me lean too far forward. (I think that was caused more by my knees coming in but that's a separate issue...)
                  As others have mentioned, if the weight is heavy, you cannot go too fast. The key thing is to maintain proper form and not drop into the squat, or relax important areas. Otherwise, go as fast as you please.

                  I also don't know what he meant by leaning too far forward. If you're doing low-bar squats, and especially if you have long femurs and/or short torso, you can be leaning forward a good amount. There's nothing wrong with this provided the bar path is vertical and your spine is neutrally aligned and locked in extension.

                  It could also be that you are losing thoracic extension, or in more common terms, not keeping your chest up, and raising your hips faster. This is what is often referred to as a "good morning squat". If this is this case, then it is a form issue.

                  Originally posted by StupidFatHobbit View Post
                  Anyway he told me to take 3-4 seconds on the descent and the same time on the ascent.
                  Ignore the bro-science. He probably wants you to look at the ceiling and breathe during the ascent/descent too.

                  Originally posted by StupidFatHobbit View Post
                  So after hearing this I've tried to implement his advice but since movement slower doing this I've found squats to be a whole lot harder...Hence I'm wondering if this is right...(?)
                  Of course it's harder. Hell, if I go as slow as possible with just the bar and take 30 seconds to descend, it will be hard too. Like I said, if your form is correct and you are not relaxing, you can go as fast as you want. The heavier weight will be an automatic speed limiter in any case.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by sbhikes View Post
                    You can lean too far forward going slow, too. Squat-morning is the term I've heard for that. You have to take care not to do it because it's easy when the bar is light but once it gets heavy, you won't be able to get away with a squat-morning. So if you took weight off the bar, maybe put enough back on that you can feel the squat-morning enough to stop it from happening.
                    Oddly, I can power through a squat morning on the final rep of a limit set. I totally squat-morninged the 7th rep at 315 the other week. It's clearly gross-looking and wrong, an affront to the model, but that doesn't mean an insistent lifter can't get away with it.

                    The fix is to keep your effing chest up and continue forward progress. Clearly, you get hip drive. Now spend a few workouts cueing "chest up" like an olympic high-bar squatter and maybe it will average out with your muscle memory to look decent. At least that's what I'm trying.

                    Do you have a partner or coach who can cue you throughout the lift (at least starting before you hit the bottom)? Because poor form in the gym is caused by insufficient yelling. Fact. So spaketh the Rippetoe.
                    The Champagne of Beards

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                    • #11
                      Are you talking to me? I had a spell where I was squat-morninging my squats pretty badly but I got over it.
                      Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.

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                      • #12
                        Nope, I was talking to the OP. But the advice stands for whomever has this same problem, including myself. If you cured it and have any tips for me, I'd appreciate you sharing them. I'm on the road to recovery though, and I'll post video to allay Gorbag's concerns once I have it completely sorted out. From the rear, of course, for the ladies.
                        The Champagne of Beards

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by RichMahogany View Post
                          Do you have a partner or coach who can cue you throughout the lift (at least starting before you hit the bottom)? Because poor form in the gym is caused by insufficient yelling. Fact. So spaketh the Rippetoe.
                          BAAHHAHAHAHAAAA

                          +Many

                          And yeah, good advice on the chest too. The other thing I've found that helps...while I don't agree with everything Medhi says in the Stronglifts guide, white knuckling and tensing your entire upper body before unracking is a huge help. Tends to keep that upped body slump and "squat morning" from happening to begin with.

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                          • #14
                            I'd recommend this advice:
                            The weight of the barbell is only one of many factors which combine to produce the resistance your muscles contract against during an exercise, along with things like leverage and acceleration. Use correct body positioning and path of movement to modulate the leverage to match the resistance to your changing strength over the range of the exercise, and minimize acceleration when reversing direction to maintain more consistent tension and avoid the potentially harmful peak forces and subsequent deloading caused by rapid acceleration.

                            In addition to providing relatively consistent, balanced resistance to the target muscle groups over the full range of the exercise, your positioning and path of movement should allow for the joints involved to move in a safe and comfortable manner.

                            If you canít instantly stop and hold the barbell motionless at any time and point over the range of motion of the exercise without changing body position you are accelerating too rapidly and moving too fast.

                            If you can hold the barbell motionless at any point over the range of motion and feel little resistance against the target muscles in that position or if you feel the resistance more in muscle groups other than the ones targeted you are positioned or moving incorrectly.

                            If an exercise canít be performed in a slow and controlled manner it is a poor exercise and has no place in a proper exercise program. Accelerating rapidly and moving fast during exercise does not provide any general physical benefit over slow, controlled movement, but reduces the efficiency of muscular loading and increases the stress on the joints and connective tissues and the risk of injury

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by OldSchhool View Post
                              I'd recommend this advice:
                              Where do you get this stuff from? Seriously! The second last paragraph makes no sense at all and the idea that fast movement isn't required is absolutely ridiculous.

                              Seriously old school read some actual books on the science of lifting, getting strong and training athletes other than body builders and stop with the magazine articles and blogs of bro science! It's just brutal!

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