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View Full Version : Ideas for my Squat problems, Please If possible


Mark Hammer
09-25-2010, 04:42 AM
First up i am sorry to ask you guys this but i am a little concerned.

For the love of anything i can not get my Squat more vertical. Meaning the bar seems to travel very far forward sometimes almost past my toes. I am weak in the core at heavier weights and the arse rises before the shoulders, working on that one but, even when i drop to 40kg i get almost the same bar path. What ever the problem is it also effects the front Squat too. I have tried to get the knees more forward but i just lose balance.

I have read a lot of stuff here, even have Greg's 2nd edition and wrote a review, but for some reason i can not seem to get more vertical.
Here is a video. apologies for the dark nature of the vid. It is the best i could do for the moment. Oh in case you are wondering i was settling in at the bottom to try and get in better, more vertical position. Believe me i was trying hard too but i get almost no movement.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9v-Xhbbnw9E

Is this all in my imagination am i am just stuck like this for my body type? Or is it as bad as it looks to me, even if there is no pain even at 160kg.
To add a last bit i am not sure it is flexibility. I can put my feet on a wall, as Kelly Starrett does, and i can get my hip almost to the wall. As for adductors they could be better but by no means bad. As for hamstrings and flexors i am about 4cm off doing full front/back splits on both legs.

I am really lost.

Any help much appreciated
Kind Regards
Mark H

Robert Callahan
09-25-2010, 02:30 PM
Ankle mobility?

Derek Weaver
09-25-2010, 02:46 PM
There are other more knowledgeable people on this board, but I think I see a couple things.

One is it looks like you're breaking at the knee before the hip. I'm guessing this is a light weight, and such is not causing the problem with your hips rising above your shoulders. Honestly, I don't think that's really possible at a heavy weight. Or a lighter weight. It'd be a close stance good morning with an exaggerated ROM where you didn't throw out your back. I'd be surprised if that's happening.

Regardless, I guess you'd need to work on core stability, maybe improve mobility although it seems as though you're likely fine on this front from your original post, keep the weights low and progress slowly as you improve.

Also, read this. http://www.dieselcrew.com/how-to-squat

Mark Hammer
09-25-2010, 05:22 PM
Thanks for the reply guys. Much appreciated.

I don't think it is ankle mobility. I am pretty flexible. I have tried getting the hips in closer to the feet, thus making the angle of the feet and lower leg more acute, but, i cannot find balance in that position and it is worse than my normal squat.
Even so, i still work on ankle mobility almost every day it may end up helping somwhere down the line.

Derek, That was a light weight. Only 40kg. I was using it to try and get in better position and the bar alone is too light to feel anything. The midline is weak but you wont notice it until i get up to 120-130kg (I am just leading with my arse there but i certainly don't get close to good morning style). I am working on getting the midline stronger.
It is not so much the midline i am worried about. If you look at the bar path and where it is in relation to my heels, especially at the bottom of the squat, it is almost infront of the ball of the foot. Even at 40kg.
I have always read the more upright the torso in the Oly squats the better and the bar should be over the front of the heels. I am just wondering why i can't seem to do it even with good flexibility. I am also wondering if it may just be body mechanics and i am just this way?
I have tried a lot of positioning work; feet wider, closer, pushing knees out more, knees more forward and none of it seems to make a difference. Am i missing something?

Will make sure breaking hips first.

Kevin Shaughnessy
09-25-2010, 06:52 PM
Maybe try lifting your toes which will force you on your heels?

Derek Weaver
09-25-2010, 07:47 PM
On another viewing of your video, it looked like you did okay on the second and third reps regarding breaking at the hips first.

I did see a little rounding in the lower back at the bottom of the rep. You may be fairly flexible, but you still may not have the necessary mobility to get to the depth you're at in the video. I'm likely nitpicking and wrong here though.

I wish someone who knows things would jump in here.

Gant, Dave, Shaf, Arden? Greg?

Mark Hammer
09-25-2010, 08:14 PM
On another viewing of your video, it looked like you did okay on the second and third reps regarding breaking at the hips first.

I did see a little rounding in the lower back at the bottom of the rep. You may be fairly flexible, but you still may not have the necessary mobility to get to the depth you're at in the video.

I have noticed the little bit of rounding, too. You may infact be right, though. Even if i am flexible i could always be a little more. I do mobility stuff every day so I will only get more flexible. If flexibility is the problem it will eventually sort itself out as long as i keep trying and doing the mobility stuff.
I have been busting a gut to get the mobility up there maybe i just need to be a little more patient.

I have a wrist injury at the moment and it looks like a month or more off clean, and anything heavier than a piece dow over head. So i am Mobility and squat everything right now. More to work on i guess and see what happens. Keep plugging away on form and mobility.

Replies and help is much appreciated.

Mark

Derek Weaver
09-25-2010, 09:28 PM
Here's the thing... You may not be built to get that deep to begin with. Flexibility and mobility go hand in hand, but it could be that your problem isn't with flexibility in terms of tissue length, but with motion, in that your body isn't happy going through that ROM.

Just food for thought. Try cutting the depth just shy of where your back rounds and see how the rep goes.

Jarod Barker
09-26-2010, 07:44 AM
Ankle mobility?

I think you're right, perhaps just the first area to work on. A few of my athletes were bending themselves in half even just squatting a broomstick when they first came to the gym, started building their ankle flexibility and slowly their bottom position improved.

Mark Hammer
09-26-2010, 06:08 PM
Hi and thanks again to all that replied.

While i wont dismiss ankle mobility as part of the blame, i honestly think i am more than capable of getting the ROM through the ankles i need. That does not mean I will not try to get even better range of motion in that area. In-fact i work my ankles at work every day (I have to stand behind a counter and i am regularly stretching the the lower leg and ankles).

Today I spent another hour and a half trying different positions (believe it or not i actually tried raising my heels even more with a plank of wood. It almost looked like i was wearing high heels, ha ha) and I actually think i may have found the problem. I think it may be that the toes were not pointing out far enough thus the knees not following the correct path, much wider than i first thought, to get the hips in between the legs. The adductors also seem a bit tight here, which i have mentioned in the first post. I just never thought that it may be the actual problem. I am going to have to give Greg's book credit here as i went through the squat section about 3 times last night trying to get ideas.

While i don't know yet, i think i may be on a winner with this. I did have video but by the time i figured it out i was too tired and and other parts of the body started getting too weak to make a good lift. I will recover and try again tomorrow and work on getting the addutors even more flexible to get the wider angle. It did feel good though and it really felt for the first time that the hips were getting very close to being in between the feet and it also made the front squat much more vertical and i felt the bar sitting much more stable on the shoulders.

What is really funny is i have managed to get 5 people into a pretty much perfect form squat, yet i can't seem to fix myself. Fingers crossed for tomorrow.

Thanks again to all that replied.
Mark H

Derek Weaver
09-26-2010, 06:58 PM
...
To add a lasIt bit i am not sure it is flexibility. I can put my feet on a wall, as Kelly Starrett does, and i can get my hip almost to the wall. As for adductors they could be better but by no means bad. As for hamstrings and flexors i am about 4cm off doing full front/back splits on both legs.

I am really lost.

Any help much appreciated
Kind Regards
Mark H

You're right. It's at least not flexibility. Improving the movement will work (wall ankle breaks etc.) It's unlikely, but beware of becoming hypermobile.

It looked like you lacked a bit of stability at the top of the movement as you completed the rep and reset to start the next one.

It sounds like you got a fair amount figured out. Continue to get video/photos as needed if you continue to have problems

Mark Hammer
09-28-2010, 09:24 PM
Just thought i would post a little test front squat at 100kg. I am not saying it is perfect, far from it but, for me this has been the most comfortable front squat at 100kg.
It was as simple as having the feet more turned out so i could open the hips more.

Unfortunately i have some new flexibility issues i need to address. My back is now rounding more than ever, damn. The adductors need work too so i can keep My knees tracking over the toes. All in good time with light weight and mobility work. Will post a back squat from today and an overhead squat (with a broom stick due to my wrist :( )

Front Squat http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RJ3hMNsDlVI

Thanks again for the ideas before

Jarod Barker
09-28-2010, 10:47 PM
Have you seen the video of KStar back squatting something obscene like 475 pounds? I think BMac posted it, but you might to copy his positioning. He had a slightly wider stance with his feet actually straight instead of turned out. I suck at all the physiology, but someone explained that squatting in that position allowed the ITB to stretch further which then allowed other muscles to work in a better range, hence, KStar's very straight upper body.

Mark Hammer
09-29-2010, 12:05 AM
I haven't seen it. but, i have heard about it. I have been looking for it but, i suck at this internet stuff and have trouble finding what i want.
Ultimately i feel i have more power and strength with the feet straighter so, i would like to get it if possible. If i just have to do it this way, though, so be it.

I will try find that vid

Jarod Barker
09-29-2010, 08:54 AM
I tried checking BMac's YouTube channel for it, but I don't see it there except for KStar doing a Zercher squat. The back squat video is on BMac's facebook page. Personally, I can't squat like that without it hurting, but everyone's biomechanics are different.

Gant Grimes
09-29-2010, 09:40 AM
I didn't read through all this stuff other than to see you complained of problems squatting and keeping your back straight.

First of all (and this is not a good camera angle), your thighs and shanks look a wee bit long in proportion to your torso. This is going to make it very difficult to keep a vertical back angle unless you want to take a sumo stance and do plie squats (note: you do not want to do this).

Move the heels out a tad and point the toes out more. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and think "chest up" as you descend. Shove your knees out as much as you can. With a wider stance, you'll be able to drop into the hole with your back in a more vertical position.

PS The fact that your back squat is not vertical should not cause you concern.

Dave Van Skike
09-29-2010, 12:06 PM
http://joeskopec.com/squatform.html

I found this article helpful in reconciling my desire to squat narrow with my short back and long spider legs

Denver Buchanan
09-29-2010, 12:47 PM
Hey Mark, I watched your videos and understand your frustration, as we seem to have very similar body proportions.

When I switched to high-bar squatting, I had a hell of a time staying vertical. When I taped myself, the bar was out over my toes, especially on heavy weights. As you've discovered, I had to do the following:

1. Flare toes out more (feet making angle closer to 90 degrees) so that I can make room to "squat between the heels". Let my knees drift forward well past my toes.

2. Realize that I may not be able to immediately do a vertical squat ass-to-ankles like other guys do. With my body proportions, it will likely take extreme ankle flexibility to pull this off.

Mark Hammer
10-01-2010, 12:19 AM
Thanks Gant, Dave and Chad.

Chad I say the Zercher Squat. Still can't find the Squat, Though. Damn internet.

The Link you gave me Dave was a good read. Thankyou.

Gant, thanks for you take on squating form for the lanky legged people like us. My feet used to be about 25 degrees out. At the moment i am trying it with about 50-60 degrees out. It is great so far. My problem now is that some of the flexibility issues i had and got rid of, have now reappeared. Adductors are now the biggest thing for me. The good news I PR'd my back squat by 5kg, going to 160kg, 1 day after pointing the toes out more and opening the hips up more.

Now the front squat and abs need some serious strenghtening and i will be set by the looks of it

Jarod Barker
10-01-2010, 09:04 AM
You can try adding Brian MacKenzie as a friend on facebook, then go to his videos, and you'll find the one of Kelly squatting. It's listed as water buffalo squats 475

Samuel Hughes
10-09-2010, 10:16 AM
Mark, I have the same problem, but even worse. Though I am still not able to consistently reproduce a good bottom position, I think I have found the problem. It is allowing my knees to come forward enough. For me, this translates into ankle flexibility. I can't tell what you have on your feet (oly shoes?), but if I elevate my heels fairly drastically (1-2"), get into the bottom, then force my knees forward I seem to see improvement. Your lumbar is straighter than mine, but the real problem is getting into lumbar kyphosis. If you play with this, let me know what you think as I need input as well.

Mark Hammer
10-18-2010, 03:14 AM
Thanks for the reply Sam.
I am actually wearing Do-wins. 2.5" heel on them. I know what you mean on the heels though. I tried the other day with no shoes on and crap it was hard. I wasn't even going heavy.

Things i have tired since I first wrote this post:

I actually raised my heels even more in the off chance that i need my knees even further forward. I had them up about 5cm and the result was, great position in the bottom but, severe drive forward as the heels were too high.

I have tried to open the heels Slightly wider as Gant said. I helps a little.
Pushing the knees out more helps a little too. But too far on each and i lose so much strength and natural positioning it is obviously not good.

The biggest thing i have found in thie past week is my elbows and breathing. I always knew keeping them up high was a must but, even though I was trying hard i couldn't do it as high as i would like to. This week after trying a great drill and by doing Frankenstein Squats i have fixed it a little. Mind you i have Kyphosis in the Tspine. It doesn't help either, but i have tried heaps to fix that and it stays the same (actually using two tennis balls taped together and working on the t spine before cleans and front squat helps a little)

The Frankenstein Squats make sure the shoulders are up, otherwise it just rolls straight off. Also great as i have a wrist injury.
The drill was almost like a quarter squat till i touch a box. Very high box. My coach noticed that I tuck my bum to try and keep the torso high rather than elbows high and this range of the squat is where i needed the fix. I will post a video of it tomorrow. It has helped but Still not perfect. Actually before i do i will check the 1/4 squat Greg has in the vidoes on this site and see if it is the same thing. I can't do that now as i am at work and no video programs on this computer. Will add to this post later.

Breathing. I have found if i do singles i am pretty good but as soon as i take in a 2nd breath to do doubles or triples my form immediately dissapears. I can't seem to get in enought air for the 2nd rep. So i am sticking to singles and sort of max effort training for front squats. Yesterday i pulled off 15 singles with 120kg with decent form. I will play with this for a while and see if i can eventually get my goal of 130 by the end of October.

I have found i need more mobility in my aductors and a little in the hamstrings, now the feet are slightly wider. I also need some more T spine mobility. My ankles seem good but, i still work on them

As for forcing into Lumbar Kyphosis (do you mean lordosis or hyper extension?) i would never try it. I want a 170kg FS and a 150kg clean. If i can't do that by being natural i just wont do it. It is not that important to me.

Samuel Hughes
10-18-2010, 05:49 AM
Thanks for the reply Sam.
I am actually wearing Do-wins. 2.5" heel on them. I know what you mean on the heels though. I tried the other day with no shoes on and crap it was hard. I wasn't even going heavy.

Things i have tired since I first wrote this post:

I actually raised my heels even more in the off chance that i need my knees even further forward. I had them up about 5cm and the result was, great position in the bottom but, severe drive forward as the heels were too high.

I have tried to open the heels Slightly wider as Gant said. I helps a little.
Pushing the knees out more helps a little too. But too far on each and i lose so much strength and natural positioning it is obviously not good.

The biggest thing i have found in thie past week is my elbows and breathing. I always knew keeping them up high was a must but, even though I was trying hard i couldn't do it as high as i would like to. This week after trying a great drill and by doing Frankenstein Squats i have fixed it a little. Mind you i have Kyphosis in the Tspine. It doesn't help either, but i have tried heaps to fix that and it stays the same (actually using two tennis balls taped together and working on the t spine before cleans and front squat helps a little)

The Frankenstein Squats make sure the shoulders are up, otherwise it just rolls straight off. Also great as i have a wrist injury.
The drill was almost like a quarter squat till i touch a box. Very high box. My coach noticed that I tuck my bum to try and keep the torso high rather than elbows high and this range of the squat is where i needed the fix. I will post a video of it tomorrow. It has helped but Still not perfect. Actually before i do i will check the 1/4 squat Greg has in the vidoes on this site and see if it is the same thing. I can't do that now as i am at work and no video programs on this computer. Will add to this post later.

Breathing. I have found if i do singles i am pretty good but as soon as i take in a 2nd breath to do doubles or triples my form immediately dissapears. I can't seem to get in enought air for the 2nd rep. So i am sticking to singles and sort of max effort training for front squats. Yesterday i pulled off 15 singles with 120kg with decent form. I will play with this for a while and see if i can eventually get my goal of 130 by the end of October.

I have found i need more mobility in my aductors and a little in the hamstrings, now the feet are slightly wider. I also need some more T spine mobility. My ankles seem good but, i still work on them

As for forcing into Lumbar Kyphosis (do you mean lordosis or hyper extension?) i would never try it. I want a 170kg FS and a 150kg clean. If i can't do that by being natural i just wont do it. It is not that important to me.

Thanks for the reply, will definitely check out your video.

Ironically, I think my form gets better as the reps get higher. I did some breathing squats for the first time the other day and by rep 20, I felt tired and weaker, but solid in the movement.

I was saying lumbar kyphosis is my problem... the infamous butt wink. I came across this post from Gant Grimes' website since then, http://www.70sbig.com/?p=2978, I'll let you read it and tell me what you think.

Mark Hammer
10-22-2010, 05:28 PM
Sorry i haven't posted that video yet. I have been having some trouble with my internet at home. Torential rain does that to things where i live.

I finally got to look at all of Greg's vids and what i am doing is not there. I am not even sure how my coach got it but it seems to help. will try and post today.

I have however found another problem altogether. it seems i may not pressurising my whole torso, even though i thought i was, and my body crumples because of it. I originally just thought it was for multipule reps.
I tried a belt the other day, for the first time ever, for lifts over 115k and the squat became extremely better in terms of form.
I actually managed to squat 125kg for 5 singles and then thought it was so easy i would try more. managed to do 3 singles at 130kg both new PRs. Not sure if that may be your problem but, it may be worth a look.

Having said that i am not a big fan of belts and i will still try to get stonger with out the belt and work on the pressure thing, too. But if i need it for the heavier stuff i will use it.