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Patrick Donnelly
07-06-2008, 08:14 PM
I was setting a PR for 3x5 front squats today. After the second set, I began to experience some minor soreness in the upper back; then during the third set, I was hardly able to keep any semblance of upper-back tightness. My lumbar arch was fine (good flexibility), but the upper spine was curving like someone doing thrusters on the CF main page. I completed the set, but it's obviously very difficult to squat something upwards when it's trying to fall forward, and probably pretty dangerous too.

Any recommendations on how to fix this? Is it an endurance issue in the scapula, or could it possibly be a flexibility or technique issue?

Greg Everett
07-06-2008, 10:12 PM
May be that you're a) not able to flatten your t-spine arch enough, b) are leaning forward too far to reasonably maintain it. Try foam-rolling the upper back to loosen up the vertebrae a bit and keeping improving your ankle and hip flexibility to improve your posture in the bottom - also make sure you're not shooting your ass up into the air out of the bottom of the squat.

Garrett Smith
07-07-2008, 10:15 AM
Really lift the chest (flatten the t-spine, as Greg said) and lift the elbows at the start of every rep...it's next to impossible to fix reps that don't start correctly.

Dave Van Skike
07-07-2008, 10:30 AM
I used to have problems losing stabillity on my upper back with sets of 5 in the front squat. I fixed it by doing sets of 8 in the warm up and never going above 3 reps the rest of the time. problem solved.

Greg Everett
07-07-2008, 07:43 PM
I'm with Dave, I just didn't want to open that can of worms... triples are about as high as I'd go with the FS.

Arden Cogar Jr.
07-08-2008, 09:31 AM
Agreed with Dave and Greg. I've found that lower rep numbers really allow you to focus on the proper form. As a result, less chance of injury, etc. Strength is a skill. Training the proper neural pathways with proper form and adequate weight that doesn't over tax the system is the best way to train the skill. I think.

All the best,
Arden

Patrick Donnelly
07-08-2008, 11:57 AM
Elbows are up, and the chest is lifted, for at least the first few sets. It was just the last one that had the problem. Hip and ankle flexibility is good, but more couldn't hurt.

I'm with Dave, I just didn't want to open that can of worms... triples are about as high as I'd go with the FS.

Could I get an explanation? Nothing too detailed is necessary, but I'm always looking for tweaks and improvements to make in my training.

Garrett Smith
07-08-2008, 12:11 PM
I really like the suggestion of keeping the FS sets 3 reps or less. For some reason, the thoracic extensors just don't seem to have the strength-endurance to perform well through sets over 3 reps (personal observation).

Patrick Donnelly
07-14-2008, 07:43 PM
All right. I got another chance to front squat today. (Most of my equipment is outside, so when it pours, I just substitute jumping pistols. It's not that I have any problem with myself getting wet - I just don't want rusty bars!)

I had the same issue again today, when doing 185x3. However, I began with the higher rep warm-up, as per Dave's suggestion, and that alone got some soreness built up prior to any of the work sets. I assume that with a few more warm-ups like that, I'll have the endurance to keep a tight upper back. These sets of three will probably carry over to the clean a bit better too.

Re: Dave
Thank you; this'll be a great help.

Dave Van Skike
07-14-2008, 08:54 PM
All right. I got another chance to front squat today. (Most of my equipment is outside, so when it pours, I just substitute jumping pistols. It's not that I have any problem with myself getting wet - I just don't want rusty bars!)

I had the same issue again today, when doing 185x3. However, I began with the higher rep warm-up, as per Dave's suggestion, and that alone got some soreness built up prior to any of the work sets. I assume that with a few more warm-ups like that, I'll have the endurance to keep a tight upper back. These sets of three will probably carry over to the clean a bit better too.

Re: Dave
Thank you; this'll be a great help.

Cool.

A huge front squat is something I just recently started to covet dearly. I hope you feel the same....it's that important.:)

Good luck with your training.

Johan Simu
07-26-2010, 11:55 PM
Patric did you manage to fix this problem? I'm having the same problem and I am trying to figure out how to fix it.

Gant Grimes
07-27-2010, 09:10 AM
I had the same issue again today, when doing 185x3. However, I began with the higher rep warm-up, as per Dave's suggestion, and that alone got some soreness built up prior to any of the work sets. I assume that with a few more warm-ups like that, I'll have the endurance to keep a tight upper back. These sets of three will probably carry over to the clean a bit better too.

Re: Dave
Thank you; this'll be a great help.

It probably goes without saying, but remember your cues for a FS. Elbows up, big chest of air, look STRAIGHT ahead, valsalva. For some reason, I see a lot of people try to FS looking down without a breath.

Of course sets of 3 will be better for your clean. Mix in some singles and doubles, too.