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  1. #1
    Registered User jebrady03's Avatar
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    jebrady03 is offline

    quad size and squat strength don't seem to correlate

    I'll try and keep this short as I tend to ramble... a lot.

    I've always had large muscular quads. I always hated that because as a kid I equated large with fat and I never replaced that ridiculous correlation with logic until recently (I'm 39). So, I never really worked my legs from the time I was in HS until about 3 months ago when I realized that I was likely having knee pain due to an underdeveloped posterior chain. I added in squats, deadlifts, and other lower body work and my knee pain is gone and everything seems to be progressing fairly quickly in strength (hams and glutes) and size (my butt and legs are literally outgrowing my pants while my waist has stayed the same) but for some reason, I don't seem to be able to add much to the bar for squats. My last set (3rd of the day) was 12 reps x 175 lbs and I felt my core loosening on the last rep or two).

    Form wise, I'm using a safety squat bar (shoulder issues) and keeping my feet somewhere between shoulder width and hip width and I'm squatting down to parallel. Size wise I'm 5'8", 178, and about 18% bf and my thigh circumference is 24.5".

    Here's what I'm thinking and I'm wondering if y'all might have a different take on things...
    Potential issues: weak core, ****ty form (not bracing sufficiently, not breathing properly), and/or too many reps for adding weight at a decent pace (I stick with 12 for all sets).
    Anything I'm missing?
    Potential remedies: fix the weak core with supplemental exercises and/or sets with more weight but fewer reps (3-5 reps?), fix form by doing more weight with fewer reps and not allowing cardiovascular conditioning to drain me mentally and physically (ie, stop letting my core get loose) OR less weight and more reps and really ingrain the movement, and again, more weight/less reps to strengthen the muscles and forget about the 12 rep range for a little while.

    I don't know... maybe I'm on the right track and I just need to give it time and realize that I'm not going to progress quickly with everything...?

    Anyway, I'm just frustrated and could use some insight/help from whoever's willing to offer it.
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  2. #2
    Registered User jebrady03's Avatar
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    Oh, I forgot to mention that I also have some spinal alignment issues and my pelvis is tilted and I am seeing a chiropractor for it. Now that I think about it, this is quite possibly a substantial contributing factor.
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  3. #3
    Registered User Garage Rat's Avatar
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    Thats a whole lot to think about.
    I would stop your set when you start feeling loose.
    You may have core strength because your able to do some reps well but you core endurance may need some work.
    When doing reps and your technique starts to go out the door thats the likely time an injury can happen.
    It's possible your knee pain could be from poor technique but i would seek medical advise from a physical therapist or chiropractor that work with athletes and active people for an accurate answer.
    Dont self diagnose even doctors go to other doctors for issues.
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    Registered User IroncraftP's Avatar
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    How is your range of motion are you able to go to full depth?

    Size and strength depends on how you train, your legs have hamstring and glutes too. The size of your legs will depend on those areas too, whether they are neglected or strong too.

    If you want to be lifting long term, slow and steady is great for strength progress, don't compensate your form to lift more. You'll end up injured.

    Practice more of good form, good sets good reps, critically looking at how you're squatting and weak areas and working on them.

    Strength and building muscle is a marathon, it takes time and years, its not a sprint. It's a journey.
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  5. #5
    old woman melDorado's Avatar
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    I've got zero quads but I can front squat nearly 250lb
    Size doesn't always = strength

    Hard to advise without a video
    Although doing sets of 12 is never gonna get you to a powerlifter level squat, you know that right?
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  6. #6
    Registered User jebrady03's Avatar
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    jebrady03 is offline
    Originally Posted by Garage Rat View Post
    You may have core strength because your able to do some reps well but you core endurance may need some work.
    I think you're onto something there. Thank you!
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  7. #7
    Registered User jebrady03's Avatar
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    jebrady03 is offline
    Originally Posted by IroncraftP View Post
    How is your range of motion are you able to go to full depth?
    After doing a ton of reading/video watching on the subject of depth, as well as assessing what feels good to me, I've opted to stick to a depth of parallel, slightly above, or slightly below, as acceptable during a set. I have the safety bars in my squat rack set to just below parallel and do my best to come within an inch of those bars at the bottom of the rep which equats to "parallel". 9/10 reps end up right there.

    Thanks for the advice!
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  8. #8
    Registered User jebrady03's Avatar
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    jebrady03 is offline
    Originally Posted by melDorado View Post
    Although doing sets of 12 is never gonna get you to a powerlifter level squat, you know that right?
    I do. As I'm just getting into squatting on a regular basis, I wanted to focus on endurance and form first, and then later lower the rep range and increase the weight quite a bit. Also, the safety squat bar is new to me as well so again, I wanted to start off lighter and with more reps to get used to using it. It's been a godsend for my shoulders.

    Thanks!
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  9. #9
    Registered User NoGainNoPainBro's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by jebrady03 View Post
    I wanted to focus on endurance and form first
    High reps are not the way to go to learn proper form. Your CNS gets sloppy after a few reps and so does technique. Also proper breathing (valsalva) is not possible for most people if they leave lower rep ranges, so just because of that you will already have a lot less tension.
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  10. #10
    Registered User jebrady03's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by NoGainNoPainBro View Post
    High reps are not the way to go to learn proper form. Your CNS gets sloppy after a few reps and so does technique. Also proper breathing (valsalva) is not possible for most people if they leave lower rep ranges, so just because of that you will already have a lot less tension.
    😣 Best laid plans....
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