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    StupidFatHobbit's Avatar
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    What's the proper speed for doing a squat?

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    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...(?)

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    Mr. Anthony's Avatar
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    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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    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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    Iron Will's Avatar
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    Quote 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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    Jefferson1775's Avatar
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    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.
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    RichMahogany's Avatar
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    "up too fast" is a ripe one. If you go up too fast, the barbell is too light.
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    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.

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    sbhikes's Avatar
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    Quote 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", 49, Starting weight: 163lbs. Current weight: 135 (more or less).
    Starting squat: 45lbs. Current squat: 180 x 2. Current Deadlift: 230 x 2

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    quikky's Avatar
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    Quote 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.

    Quote 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.

    Quote 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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    RichMahogany's Avatar
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    Quote 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.
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