A tale of two squats…

The Real Deal

A couple of months ago I had a come-to-Jesus meeting with myself. I had just started the Texas Method program but on week two I was unable to complete the prescribed volume of squats. I chalked it up to fatigue and decided to not add weight the next week. I waited patiently all week for a chance to redeem myself but when Monday rolled around, I whiffed again.

What gives?

The problem is that the Texas Method is a percentage based progression and I had calculated my percentages against my Ego Squat. The Ego Squat is what you do to get a big number on the leader board, or to lay claim to an impressive milestone. In my case my Ego Squat is a 2x bodyweight squat. I’ve been working for a 2x bodyweight squat forever. One morning I weighed in at 175 and later that day I managed to stand up with 365…barely. But hey, my hip crease broke the plane of my knee so I gave myself credit.

Here’s the problem. Outside of the edge case of competitive powerlifting, a squat where your hips dip just below your knee isn’t really a squat. It’s nothing. It’s worse than useless because it’s a completely different pattern than the one you actually want to engrain. The way real athletes squat is ass-to-ankles, with an upright chest, and always, always, always sitting all the way into the squat. Squatting this way can add 10-15kg to your snatch. It can mean the difference of several minutes in a WOD like Karen or Fran. It makes you better at everything, including the deadlift.

In order to finish Texas Method I had to swallow my pride and ratchet down my numbers. Rather than calculate percentages from my Ego Squat, I calculated percentages from 315 which was my max when I sit all the way into my squat. That adjustment gave me six weeks of productive training where I was able to fulfill 100% of the prescribed volume. The result is that my squat went up as well my snatch, clean, dead lift, and bench press.

The point is this. You are always training for something. So you may as well live by your standard. If you spend your time in the gym chasing shiny objects and giving yourself credit for things you haven’t earned, you’re training to be a knucklehead, and you can’t be surprised when you get owned by somebody with a little humility.

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