« Press | Main | Rest Day »

Back Squat

Find a heavy single

Post loads to comments
(e7/8) compare to 4.13.11 and 3.23.11

Superset the Following two movements:
3x10 Good Mornings (add 5-10lbs to last exposure)
3x10 Strict Knees to Elbows

Post loads and experience to comments.

Scott L. on Games Open WOD #4

Heavy: A Response


By Margie Lempert

“How did your squats go?” I ask.

“Heavy. More weight than last time. But heavy,” you say with a mixture of disappointment, exhaustion, and maybe even a hint of disbelief. 

As if you wish, you think, you expect that your increase in weight will feel lighter by virtue of the fact that you got a little stronger. And that’s your goal: to be strong enough that heavy weight feels light.

Well, I think you’ve got your goal backwards.

Weight should be heavy. You should be required to push. Getting strong is hard work, as Mark Rippetoe often says. It is a commitment; not something you suddenly arrive at, but rather a slow, deliberate journey that becomes more challenging over time.

Stress adaptation – a fundamental principle of physiology. When you tax your body it rises to the challenge by growing stronger. Your bones get denser, your muscle fibers increase their contractile potential, and your ability to recruit those muscle fibers becomes more efficient. Increase weight, increase capacity; increase capacity, increase weight. It is a harmonious vertical see-saw.

Once you gain enough technical proficiency to use loads that stimulate growth, you are at the glorious beginning of not just building tolerance for, but ushering in struggle. Struggle signifies progress. “Feeling good under the bar” means you gave it a fight, and are rewarded with the tired satisfaction of getting your reps done. It does not mean an effortless set of 5 where you barely breathed hard and didn’t ever once ask: “Is this rep gonna happen?”

Sure today’s weight will feel light one day: when it’s your warm up on the way to lifting something heavier. Relish heavy weight, it never gets easier. And you shouldn’t want it to.

The Penultimate CF Games Sectional WOD is Now Up!

AMRAP in 20 Minutes of:
5 Power cleans (145lbs / 65kg)
10 Toes to bar
15 Wall balls (20lbs to 10' target/14lbs to 9' target)

Check out the description and demo!

Good luck to team SBK who'll be throwing down on WOD 11.5 this weekend at CrossFit LIC!
Update on the Open: Week 4
CrossFit Games
The Legume Manifesto
Whole 9
What is the Single Best Exercise? NY Times

Reader Comments (28)

from 4/19...

Squat (re-tooling after the SSS)265x5245x5x2


Pretty happy with the PR at 215. Previous best single was 204 before this cycle and I'd hit 209 twice on the 1st rep of double attempts last week before missing the 2nd rep.
April 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFox
squats: (45x5, 135x5, 185x3, 205, 220) 240, 260 (PR), 270(PR!), 280Fbig PR for me today--old one was last week at 250. Box squats help--who knew?
April 20, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkatie
@Fox nice pr!

@Margie nice article! I find sometimes for me "feels/felt heavy" normally means "I was surprised that that particular weight felt that way, I thought it felt differently last time." I squat all the time, and even after countless iterations, if I take a couple of weeks off, it "feels heavy!" It takes a bit to dial the form back in, so in an exposure like this where most folks haven't squatted in a while, it wouldn't surprise me for people to have to dial into their movement a bit.

The other thing that occurs for me in the heavy department is that on many days, the warmups building up feel unreasonably heavy. I don't know why this is, but by the time I get to work weight, I am ready to rock and roll, and that heavy feeling is out of the way. Good luck on the work today!
April 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJR
re: Katie - Nice PR!! You're on your way to 300 pounds by the end of the summer at this rate. Your numbers are something for the rest of us ladies (and guys!) to shoot for.

re: Margie's article. Thanks for this - more often it's the mental game that affects our potential to lift maximally - not necessarily the physical, and it's helpful to be reminded of that every once in awhile.
April 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAvery W.
Yeah Katie I missed it first time that's a big pr. good work! you looked good working on your cleans the other day too, even though you had some fails.
April 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJR
Work sets for squats today were: 185, 195, 205 (PR), 215 (PR), 225 (PR). Finally broke 200. Now onwards to 300...
April 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDavid Turnbull
Nice PR Katie! I'm happy if I can keep up with those numbers...
April 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterWill Schenk
Damn so there are some cons to lifting heavy and working out...

I put on my suit that I last wore early March when I first started working out again yesterday. I tried to sit down and they almost busted at the seams. Im glad I didn't sit down too quickly or they would've been done. I had to sit and walk gingerly the rest of teh day to make sure I didn't have an embarrassing situation at a job interview.

Maybe I need to go back to looser clothing,

Heres a video of UFC MW champ Georges ST. Pierre doing soem Muscle ups and Skinning the cat


Looking fwd to squatting today.
April 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterShawn$
Dang! All those PRs! Strong work everybody!
April 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDeb
225, 245, 250 pr

Stopped at 250. My squat had been stuck at 245 for a long time so I'm Pleased.
April 20, 2011 | Unregistered Commentercarlos
Katie! Rock on.
April 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBilly K
190, 200, 205 (pr), 210f

I'm really happy with this. I've had 200 as a sort of goal in the back of my mind for a while. When we tested before this cycle I pr'd at 185 and failed at 190. 20 lb gain in 4 weeks - I'll take it.

Nice work ppl.
April 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAaron
225, 245 (fail), 235, 246(pr)

Ny goal for today was 250 after failing at 245 the 1st time things changed a bit. As fox saw I got super soft and collapsed at the bottom. I went back to 235 and retooled, then was able to get 246. This pr is coming off only 1 squat cycle since coming back to the gym so I'm happy about that.

I think I maybe could've pushed for 250 today with 10 more minutes--but I'll take it.
April 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterShawns
WOD 11.5AMRAP 20 Minutes5 Power Cleans, 14510 Toes to Bars15 Wall Ball Shots

6 Rounds + 5,10 & 13

That was really hard. I didn't feel very "together" during that. My apologies to Degraw Street for the grunts, groans and gasps.

Big thanks to Josh L for judging and everyone else for the support. It's hard to catch your breath when Martinez is telling you to GO!
April 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDavid Osorio
Hurray Katie! That's an enormous gain. You too Noah. Nice work all around!

Excellent piece Margie - sentiment, writing, advice. Thanks, and thanks for the use of your belt and coaching me through the heavy lifts - it made a huge difference.

Squat: 200, 210 (PR!!), 220(F), 215(F). I was very happy with my 210, but decided to go for higher weights just to get that experience under the heavy bar. Bailed early on 220 so tried to hold on and fight the 215. I think I have these in me, I just get nervous and don't get the bounce out of the bottom.

Lovely working with Erica N as always - I was impressed by her grace in the face of frustration.
April 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLaurel
P.s. Liver = perfect post squat food.Yum.P.p.s. Accessory work @85lbs again. Last time it felt a bit heavy so I stayed at the same weight.
April 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLaurel

TodayBack Squat205(PR)-215(PR)-225(PR)-230(F)-230(PR? Depth suspect)

Still a little sore from Sunday's deadlifts. I should have done some hip and ankle mobility work before class, but I was short on time, alas.
April 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBilly K
Max squats!

Worked with Antoine which was really fun.

45x5, 125x5, 185x3, 225x2, 265x1.

285, 300, 310, 315F, 315F. 310 ties my PR from last October from before I hurt my wrist. I am also about 5 pounds lighter now, so I am very happy with this.

Didn't have time for accessory work as it was 7:02 when I made my final attempt.

I think some heavy walkouts will help, because currently the 315 is so heavy on my back that even at the top I am shaking like a leaf.
April 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMalcolm
Back Squat165, 170(shallow), 170PR, 175PR, 180F

I really have to concentrate on depth, I think 175 just barely counted. It's a real mental thing for me, I just kind of get freaked out and start standing up too early. More box squats for me!
April 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJessica Bailey
I was pretty down on my own strength programming for a while, but PR'ing today despite being exhausted from the Rip seminar might mean I wasn't as clueless as I thought. Definitely tweaked my technique at the seminar and all the attempts tonight felt *great.*

My only cfit goal for April was a new BS PR so I am pretty stoked.

160, 165(PR) 170(PR) 175 (F.)

Thanks Robin and Bailey for the spot and Fox and Jeremy for the coaching.
April 20, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermichele
Thanks, Malcolm - likewise!

Same warm-up as Malcolm. Had enough time to get a PR: 285, 300, 310, 320, 325PR by 5lbs from 2 years ago.

Did mini WOD after 10pull-ups,10 burpees x5 rds. 5:47.

Fun night.
April 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAntoine
(BTW the main squat correction I got at the seminar was: Stop thinking your back needs to be erect. Point your chest at the floor, at an angle, and keep it pointing there. Clouds parted, angels began to sing, & etc.)
April 20, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermichele
Just checked. My previous PR for back squat was 225. Today I got 245. So a nice 20 lb gain.

More importantly the training at CFSBK (Box Squats!) helped me figure out how to finally use my hams rather than my quads.

I feel this is just the start of my squat.

April 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterIsaac
Great to work with Noah on this entire exposure. Felt like our Wednesday evening workouts were a team effort throughout. Learned lots each week. Good capper tonite! Also tip of my hat to Fox for advice and coaching!300# PR.Noah and I celebrated by skipping the accessory workout! :-)Celebrated further with some beers (at Samir's suggestion) with the old lady at Der Kommissar which just opened across the street.Get the Austrian version out of your head after watching this video. (To paraphrase Charlie Murphy on Dave Chapelle's 'Prince plays basketball' : "I challenge you!")http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_w4Xulsjo5I
April 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChris A.
Wooho! Crossfit LI is where I came from! my how it has grown
April 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJason Fidler
WOD 11.5AMRAP 20 min5 Power Cleans 14510 Toes to Bar15 Wall Ball 20lb 10'

Got 7 Rounds + 5 PC + 2 T2B

Yikes. That was hard. Thanks, Margie for judging and Ryan for being the carrot.
April 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFox
I read Katie's blip about how helpful the box squats were and was like 'eh, I don't know', but then that was all I could think about during all those squat and whaddya know, the box squats were so super helpful!


warmup: 45x5, 95x5, 115x3, 135x2, 145x1, 155x1work: 165, 175, 185(PR), 195(PR), 200(PR)

Felt good to do that and have more in the tank. Thanks to Jess and Michele for the spots. Some magic combo of a packed house and having my head on straight (thanks, Margie) worked tonight.

Then I saw David start the sectionals WOD, went away and came back what felt like an hour later and he still had minutes to go. Good luck on Saturday, y'all. Holy smokes, that's a long 20 min!!!
April 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRobin
LBBS: 275, 285PR, 295F, 295PR

Very satisfying day for me, squats have been a major issue for me whether it has been coming off my back injury and working up to weight, horrible mobility and resultant knock-kneed squatting, or weird pain from my femurs, which apparently don't sit in my hip sockets correctly. Slowly been working to correct those, and I was surprised with how much it worked. 285 went up easy, 295 was a fight but could be easy with better depth awareness, and 300 is in striking distance.

Big thanks to Fox for figuring out much of what had been causing me trouble, and to Chris my squat brother this month. Margie and Jeremy did a great job programming this- TONS of PRs today in just a month of work.
April 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNoah

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>