Author Topic: Revisiting the role of hamstrings in backsquats  (Read 2825 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

maxent

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2253
  • Respect: +1405
    • View Profile
Revisiting the role of hamstrings in backsquats
« on: October 16, 2015, 08:00:48 am »
-1
Postulates: 1. DL jumpers need strong quads. 2. Strong quads help us jump and run faster in athletic activity. 3. Athletic squatting helps build stronger quads faciliating 1 and 2.

The above are taken for granted on first principles.

Argument: When squatting a challenging rep near RM, squats turn into good mornings. This suggest hamstrings are not able to maintain back angle. This means hamstrings are not strong enough. In the past on this forum this was rejected and it was proposed rather it was quads which were not up to the task. I was told to front squat because this would build up the missing quad strength and bring enough leg strength to the table. The prescription/antidote was correct but the explanation was wrong (explained below).

New information: Whenever i've used a belt, i find my form deteroriates instantly, even in first reps not close to RM. I never understood why, however, with the study that came out recently (linked on this sub forum), it was suggested a belt helps us squat better by allowing the legs to work harder than sans belt. That was the missing link in the explanation for my back squats with a belt -- by using a belt, my hamstring were overloaded and were not able to maintain back angle! Hence squat mornings when using a belt.

Fix: Make hamstrings bigger and stronger.

Role of front squats revisited: It turns out a rep limit set also exhibits the problem described above, namely to maintain back angle. It just so happens front squats require a upright back but nevertheless the hamstrings are responsible for maintaining this back angle. By doing front squats, i wasn't 'bringing up my quads' as suggested but rather, i was training my hamstrings to be stronger and better at maintaining back angle!!

Future exploration: How do i do an even better job of bringing up my hamstrings so i can use a belt and become a big squatter (180kg)? That's where i'm stuck .. i know front squats help but it feels somehow not enough. There might be other ways to build up hamstring strength to maintain back angle. An idea I had was simply to do more belted squatting and force my hamstrings to be exposed to more loading and hence learn to maintain back angle in that overloaded situation. Interestingly, unlike many others who use a belt to lift more weight, i would have to use weight less than my beltless squat, since that would address my weakness better.
Making a new strength setpoint of 75/100/150 on OHP/BP/BS.

maxent

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2253
  • Respect: +1405
    • View Profile
Re: Revisiting the role of hamstrings in backsquats
« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2015, 08:07:39 am »
0
What about olympic lifters? They squat upright and don't use belts and they have massive quads.. ergo upright squatting emphasises the quads? This is correct but not completely. It overlooks that these guys are doing a great deal of pulling which means they have strong hamstrings! And this strength allows them to maintain back angle in limit front squats or backsquats. It wasn't that their form of squatting allowed them to require less hamstring strength (that was wrong to claim), rather they got that hamstring work from elsewhere.
Making a new strength setpoint of 75/100/150 on OHP/BP/BS.

ChrisM

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1778
  • Respect: +1192
    • View Profile
Re: Revisiting the role of hamstrings in backsquats
« Reply #2 on: October 16, 2015, 08:33:21 am »
0
This sort of makes sense...after a really heavy squat day the first thing that used to get sore was my hamstrings. Always thought it was weird but fogured they just weren't up to par.

Side note: Somewhere in KFs journal I remember him saying he doesnt dp dedicated pc work because he gets a lot of ham recruitment the way he squats.
Insert motivational quote here...

maxent

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2253
  • Respect: +1405
    • View Profile
Re: Revisiting the role of hamstrings in backsquats
« Reply #3 on: October 16, 2015, 08:41:14 am »
-1
This sort of makes sense...after a really heavy squat day the first thing that used to get sore was my hamstrings. Always thought it was weird but fogured they just weren't up to par.

Side note: Somewhere in KFs journal I remember him saying he doesnt dp dedicated pc work because he gets a lot of ham recruitment the way he squats.

KF is a special case, he's a former olympic lifter (lots of pulling --> strong hammies) and also he has acquired and maintained the amount of hamstring strength he needs to squat what he does through years of backsquatting, whether it's for higher reps and thus challenging his hamstrings to maintain backangle on those heavy/long limit sets or from maintaining back angle in the bottom position of a deep paused squat. But yeah, it makes sense why hamstrings get sore after a hard squat session. It was never quads, quads are strong, prime movers for people with an athletic background because we've trained them hard all our lives through sport. It's why we can put a lot of weight on the bar and do half squats or quarter squats without much problem, cause our quads are plenty strong. It's just at that depth, hamstrings aren't being challenged cause there the back angle is easier to maintain.
Making a new strength setpoint of 75/100/150 on OHP/BP/BS.

maxent

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2253
  • Respect: +1405
    • View Profile
Re: Revisiting the role of hamstrings in backsquats
« Reply #4 on: October 16, 2015, 09:12:02 am »
0
I just wanted to clear one thing up, if you're built to be an olympic squatter you're going to have an upright (minimal back angle) at the bottom of a squat. Congrats you won the squat lottery, you're basically just challenging your quads and glutes to move up and down, hamstrings don't really have much of a role in maintaining a very vertical back. However, i'm not talking about /those/ olympic lifters. I mean the ones who do actually have some back angle involved -- they do need strong hamstrings to maintain that position at hte bottom of a squat. And leaving aside that special population that's genetically self-selecting -- a normal person not of htat population will have a decent amount of back angle at the bottom of a squat (any variant). And for that person, it's important to have big/strong hamstrings to maintain that back angle even if the end goal is bigger, stronger quads, you can't squat as much with weak hamstrings holding your squat back from athletic fruition.
Making a new strength setpoint of 75/100/150 on OHP/BP/BS.

seifullaah73

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3076
  • Respect: +1161
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: Revisiting the role of hamstrings in backsquats
« Reply #5 on: October 16, 2015, 01:29:12 pm »
0
But this would be strange in my case as my hamstring's are way stronger than my quads that my body if ucontrolled falls into a good morning squat. I used to do a lot of hamstring oriented exercises such as natural glute ham raises, single leg hyper extensions but am now building my quads.
----------------------------------------------------------------
So, verily, with every difficulty, there is relief.
Holy Quran 94:5
-------------------------------------------------------------
Measuring reminder:
5 toe to heel steps = 148cm
------------------------------------------------------------------------

�Strength comes from the legs, Power comes from the torso and Speed comes from the arm.� � Al Vermeil

My Progress Log
A Journey to Running fast and Jumping High

maxent

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2253
  • Respect: +1405
    • View Profile
Re: Revisiting the role of hamstrings in backsquats
« Reply #6 on: October 16, 2015, 01:41:54 pm »
0
But this would be strange in my case as my hamstring's are way stronger than my quads that my body if ucontrolled falls into a good morning squat. I used to do a lot of hamstring oriented exercises such as natural glute ham raises, single leg hyper extensions but am now building my quads.

Yes, i think that's a good point, hips shooting up out of a bottom of squat means your hamstrings didn't hold back angle -- but additionally, it could also mean your quads didn't have enough strength to move the bar up and your body compensates by getting into a more mechanically advantageous position to complete the lift. It's possible your hamstrings are strong enough to hold back angle but didn't and it was your quads which weren't strong enough to move the load. Therefore your body intentionally lost back angle to put yourself in a better position to lift the weight. It's not clear cut what's going on at all.. no black and white answers..
Making a new strength setpoint of 75/100/150 on OHP/BP/BS.

Merrick

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 271
  • Respect: +197
    • View Profile
Re: Revisiting the role of hamstrings in backsquats
« Reply #7 on: October 16, 2015, 09:47:18 pm »
0
Lots of over-analysis going on in here...

seifullaah73

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3076
  • Respect: +1161
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: Revisiting the role of hamstrings in backsquats
« Reply #8 on: October 17, 2015, 09:37:42 am »
0
But this would be strange in my case as my hamstring's are way stronger than my quads that my body if ucontrolled falls into a good morning squat. I used to do a lot of hamstring oriented exercises such as natural glute ham raises, single leg hyper extensions but am now building my quads.

Yes, i think that's a good point, hips shooting up out of a bottom of squat means your hamstrings didn't hold back angle -- but additionally, it could also mean your quads didn't have enough strength to move the bar up and your body compensates by getting into a more mechanically advantageous position to complete the lift. It's possible your hamstrings are strong enough to hold back angle but didn't and it was your quads which weren't strong enough to move the load. Therefore your body intentionally lost back angle to put yourself in a better position to lift the weight. It's not clear cut what's going on at all.. no black and white answers..

+1
This is what I thought also, that my quads is weak in bringing the weight up.
----------------------------------------------------------------
So, verily, with every difficulty, there is relief.
Holy Quran 94:5
-------------------------------------------------------------
Measuring reminder:
5 toe to heel steps = 148cm
------------------------------------------------------------------------

�Strength comes from the legs, Power comes from the torso and Speed comes from the arm.� � Al Vermeil

My Progress Log
A Journey to Running fast and Jumping High

LBSS

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 11252
  • plugging away...
  • Respect: +5739
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: Revisiting the role of hamstrings in backsquats
« Reply #9 on: October 17, 2015, 01:01:12 pm »
+2
none of that makes any sense.
Muscles are nonsensical they have nothing to do with this bullshit.

- Avishek

handstand + backflip + flag

Merrick

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 271
  • Respect: +197
    • View Profile
Re: Revisiting the role of hamstrings in backsquats
« Reply #10 on: October 17, 2015, 01:07:58 pm »
0
none of that makes any sense.

Finally...

Raptor

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 14464
  • Respect: +2393
    • Yahoo Instant Messenger - raptorescu
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: Revisiting the role of hamstrings in backsquats
« Reply #11 on: October 17, 2015, 01:18:14 pm »
+1
The hamstrings are pretty much useless in high bar squats. They are being shortened at the knee, while being stretched at the hip. So they pretty much maintain the same length throughout the squatting movement.

That's why you sometimes see the knees caving in on the concentric phase of a high bar squat - since the hamstrings are being pulled out of the concentric phase, the adductors are being recruited to act as hip extensors instead - hence the adduction that is occuring.

The last thing in the world you should worry about in a high bar squat are the hamstrings. The hams do participate to a more important degree in the low bar squat, since the low bar squat is more of a "sit back and limit the forward knee translation" type of squat, meaning the hamstrings are being stretched more at the hip and shortened less at the knee => more hamstring participation.

Obviously, the lack of hamstring strength importance is the greatest during front squats - they're pretty much a quad+glute exercise.

PS. I remember when Kelly said he had "girlish hamstring strength" on leg curls when he had a 40+ vert off two legs. All glutes+quads.