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"Doing more exercise with less intensity,"
Arthur Jones believes, "has all but
destroyed the actual great value
of weight training. Something
must be done . . . and quickly."
The New Bodybuilding for
Old-School Results supplies
MUCH of that "something."

 

This is one of 93 photos of Andy McCutcheon that are used in The New High-Intensity Training to illustrate the recommended exercises.

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Squats to Failure?!?
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JackT

I just bought, read, and enjoyed the new HIT book.

One of my questions concerns squats. My understanding is that this excercise is to be performed just like every other, namely one set to failure.

I believe that if I did a set of 12 squats to failure, that would be my last set of anything for the day. You would have to scrape me off the floor.

Are there really people who can do a set of squats to failure, rest 60 seconds, and then continue on with their next excercise?
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Drew Baye

Florida, USA

Yes. You become accustomed to it over time. I was doing two full body routines, one of which started with squats, the other deadlifts. I now split them up into 3 separate workouts to see how much of a difference, if any, it makes for my progress, but I'm still starting out one of those with a set of squats to failure.

Drew Baye
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sniperfrog

I have been doing the HIT workouts for a few weeks now and I dont have a problem with doing squats to failure at the beginning of my workout. I also think I have a low pain tolerance in my legs because squats kick my ass. But I just pick myself up and carry on to the next exercise which is usually chinups with weight. I dont even take a full minute of rest. This does make me a bit light headed but to me squats is the worst exercise so I like getting them done first.
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eintology

California, USA

May I ask where the failure is ideally supposed to occur during this type of squat? Bottom? Mid point? Barely eeching into the top position?

Erik
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macfit

Maryland, USA

I've only ever failed at the bottom. I believe this is the weakest range of the exercise, due to poor leverage.

Robb
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macfit

Maryland, USA

I've only ever failed at the bottom. I believe this is the weakest range of the exercise, due to poor leverage.

Robb
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NeuroMass

eintology wrote:
May I ask where the failure is ideally supposed to occur during this type of squat? Bottom? Mid point? Barely eeching into the top position?

Erik


eintology,

True positve failure on the squats (all pressing exercises) should always occur either at the bottom or the middle part of the lift. In my case I always use a POWER RACK and setting the pins at a point an inch or 2 higher than where the bar would hit at the lower portion of the lift when I'm doing squats to failure for safety.

PEACE.
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eintology

California, USA

Peace to you as well and thanks Neuro,

Got it. I hope the gym has some spatulas handy, just in case. No, I carrry the banner well. Are deadlifts with the Hammer ground machine a legitimate substitution for squats? Or deadlifts with the Olympic bar? I have no aversion to doing squats, especially once a week. The thing is the squat bar at the gym is always either being used, or has nine fourty five pound plates (not that I can't squat with that mind you) on each side and I am trying that relative "blitz" between the sets exercise sytem again. But in the event that I could access the Hammer deadlifts, because that piece is never being used ... what do you think? Nyet? Da? That's Russian powerlifter jargon, in case you were wondering.

When I was a kid my oldest brother and his wife took me to see a Bruce Randall weightlifting clinic which took place in the sporting goods section of the local J.C. Penny's. I still remember Bruce Randall saying full squats were his favorite exercise because the results they produced were like no other he had ever tried for overall conditioning. Now I know I have bagged on some of the current pro's training techniques, (only because I was concerned about their public health and safety), but Bruce Randall was a former Mr. Universe and he could do full squats, in good form, like hell. The guy was strong. Even at a reduced body weight. And while I'm at it, he was flexible as ____ too. And not in that hyper-mobile kind of way either. He must of had a nervous system like Bo Jackson, or something. Myself aside, as I said I was practically a child, but name bodybuilders from all over the place converged on this clinic, and I can assure you they left impressed.

Erik
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backtrack

My problem with squats is that when I do them I cannot decide on the range of motion. I always used to go down to the horizontal, and managed to increase the weight without too many stumbling blocks. However, I have since started lowering the weight as far down as I can, which normally means being much lower, with a firm contact on the backs of the legs. I realized the first time I did this that the weight had to be reduced significantly. By comparison, my previous technique seems more like partial repetitions now.
The problem with going down as far as possible I find, is that for one it is much more dangerous, its much more difficult to rise up out from the bottom. Not only this, but I have found when you come to increase the weight, next time round you cannot increase it as much as with the other technique.
I have also noticed that the fuller range of motion hits the back muscles much more, hamstrings. Whereas when going to the horizontal the emphasis seems to be much more on the Quadriceps, even though you will inevitably, give up because of your lower back or rear leg muscles.
I found that the best results I ever got when doing the legs is having a warm-up on the squat, followed by a leg extension, followed by squats to a horizontal, perhaps a bit below but not to the extent of going as far down as cracking my rear end on the floor. I would also pause at the top for a few seconds to force more repetitions out.
The problem I find when I train now is that I become too conscious of all the little discrepancies that in my experience, hinders training. I don?t see how it is psychologically possible to consciously concentrate on going to failure, whilst thinking of rep cadence and val salva, to name a few.
I have found on machines it is far from impossible. On the other hand, when you take these factors into account with free weights it can become a heavy distraction, in effect you become to conscious of the movement, you seem to block out the intensity.
It seemed to me that in any training I with the Squat or whatever, I produced better results just allowing myself to do the movements in a more natural manner. This was done with good cadence, although not the kind of cadence whereby you would do a precise x amount of second?s positive, static and negative. To me the place of that seems to be in the controlled exercise environments, but if you?re not in a controlled environment it can cause more harm than good in my opinion.
I was reading something, the great, Arthur Jones wrote, and one of the sentences that struck me the most went something along the lines of 'doing more of what doesn't work, simply doesn't work. I think that this can be true even with HIT, for me it is very difficult to concentrate on all the affecting variables, whilst also trying to train to failure with free weights. I emphasize free weights because it is much easier with machines.
Probably doesn't make sense, nevermind.
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liftnbig

It took me 18 years to learn how to squat properly <being selftaught and all>. For too long I used a block under my heels so I could get down as low as possible. Once I took the block away, widened my stance beyond hip width to delt width, turned my feet outwards to where I felt comfortable they took on a whole new feel. I go as low as possible, just prior to rounding my lower back, which is the only way I would have ever squatted 400#. Had I kept with my former style I doubt anything much beyond 300# would have been likely.
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waynegr

Switzerland

Hi there all,
On doing the squats, it all depends what body proportions you have, some people were made for squatting some were not, Magnus Samuelsson, former Worlds Strongest Man was not made for squats, at 6? 7? and 24 stone, however he still moves some incredible weights when squatting.
Squatting, some place a block under the heels; however, this will stress more on the knee patellofemoral joint, if you try this, please with only you?re warm up weight.

If you have very long legs, you might like to take a powerlifting wider stance, but not to, to wide a stance, (after trying this you may find no need for a block) with toes pointed out, also keeping the knees aligned over your toes. This stance will use your thighs adductors more, This seems to be because the thigh shows increased abduction and lateral rotation during the lowering in the squat with a wide stance and then, during the upward movement, adductors are therefore activated to pull the thigh back to the medial line or plane of the body, and also medially rotate it back to a central position.

Gluteus maximus and hamstring activation should also increase with a wider stance, It is because, for Gluteus maximus, that this will be due to the positioning of the distal attachment, and makes the gluteus lengthen with thigh abduction, This lengthening shifts them away from it's favourable position on the length tension curve, and so greater activation will be needed to make the same tension, than a closer stance. More use of the hip extensor should also happen, because width stance will effects torso inclination.

You can lean forward Just a few degrees. Leaning is not bad, it's the rounding your back that causes lots of the problems. However, some say to keep your back flat or even better very slightly arched, and to help this by looking forward and slightly up. Also try some flexing, stretching exercises, but do not over do it.
Try to avoid, bouncing out of bottom position, do not, rotate, flex or relax the lumber spine, also do not do the tilting of the knees inward.
In addition, to help your squat, you may practice full range dead lifting, standing on a platform. Late here hope his helps a bit.

Thank you Wayne
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