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Old 05-26-2009, 07:34 PM   #1
Daniel Olmstead
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Default Fixing my squat geometry

I have a problem with my squat that I think is not uncommon, but I'm not sure the best way to go about fixing it.

As I near the bottom of my squat, my upper body tilts way forward. I can get below parallel without difficulty, but I can't do it with my chest upright. If you stand me in front of a wall and tell me to squat, I have a very difficult time not smacking my nose into the wall.

It's not much a problem with air squats or light weight, but as weight gets higher in my front, overhead and back squats, I'm definitely hitting trouble maintaining form at the bottom.

What's the best way to go about fixing this? It feels like a back flexibility thing - like I can't arch my back enough - but I'm told it's my hamstrings. Are there any specific drills or stretches I can do to get my body more upright at the bottom of the squat?

Thanks,
-Daniel
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Old 05-26-2009, 09:41 PM   #2
Steven Low
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Video tape it.

Could be a flexibility issue... could be something else too.

Generally if you're bending over too much it's probably not a flexibility issue especially if your lumbar spine is kept in extension.
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Old 05-26-2009, 11:26 PM   #3
Brandon Oto
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... this may not be a bad thing depending on what sort of squat you're trying to do.
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Old 05-27-2009, 12:03 AM   #4
Torsten Hauptmann
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supposing that you want an olympic style squat here are my experiences:
i had the same problem but i had a hamstring/quads imbalance so that i leaned forward to generate more power from the hamstrings... but neverless back then my squats have been weak and i felt like loosing all the tension when going below paralell but my oly coach improved my squats in the last two month:
he made me frontsquat about 60% of my max "with tension" that means going very slow and not all the way to the top (about 45° when you consider 90° as paralell) so i did 5x5 ad withing two month did my squat improve a lot. i now can back and frontsquat very upright.

so here is my suggestion take a light weight which you can squat with proper form and but then squat it with tension make a squat that long that the weight does not seem that light but that it needs efford to squat it. then if you do not go all the way to the top and relax during your 5 reps you will find that you were under tension during all your squat something which i could not learn from squatting light weights in the normal manner or doing doubles or trippels with heavyer weights (there i lost form).

hope the helps a litte
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Old 05-27-2009, 09:49 AM   #5
Steven Quadros
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A video would be best, but realize that a high bar, olympic style squat will have the knees well forward of the toes to maintain as upright a torso as is possible. Even with that happening, there will be some forward lean at the bottom of the squat, assuming it's not a front squat. This keeps the bar in balance over the midfoot.

Unless there is weight on my back, I require a very narrow stance to get A2A comfortably. I have narrow hips and relatively long limbs at 6'1 , though nothing too out of proportion.

If this isn't a setup or stance issue, and you find your hips rising to fast, which is what Torsten mentions, then backing off the weight and working back up without letting the hips shoot is a tried and true method.

If it is stance and/or setup, then doing what Greg Everett has mentioned before, getting to the bottom of your squat and shuffling the feet, toes, and knees around until you have a very upright torso seems to be the best way to find your stance. This actually has me squatting with a very narrow stance, which I widen up when under a bar just a tad.
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Old 05-28-2009, 12:41 PM   #6
Arden Cogar Jr.
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I had the same problem and mine was to do with ankle/calf flexibility and too many years of back squatting.

It was remedied by stretching my calves between sets and throughout the day.

It took me about 4 months to get more comfortable front squatting and stop learning forward.

Good luck and happy training.

All the best,
Arden
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Old 05-28-2009, 10:37 PM   #7
Daniel Olmstead
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Low View Post
Video tape it.

Could be a flexibility issue... could be something else too.

Generally if you're bending over too much it's probably not a flexibility issue especially if your lumbar spine is kept in extension.
Here's a video of a few different squats - very heavy (for me) low rep back squats, midweight high-rep back squats, and air squats: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ra6NlfvxLAM

I've never actually recorded myself doing air squats before, and am surprised/dismayed at how rounded my back is. I suspect this is the root of the problem right there? In which case the question becomes, "how do I improve lumbar extension"?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brandon Oto View Post
... this may not be a bad thing depending on what sort of squat you're trying to do.
All sorts, but the impetus for posting this was that I have trouble losing/dumping the weight forward at the bottom of front and overhead squats, particular when the weight gets high.
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Old 05-29-2009, 05:40 AM   #8
Gavin Harrison
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Olmstead View Post
Here's a video of a few different squats - very heavy (for me) low rep back squats, midweight high-rep back squats, and air squats: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ra6NlfvxLAM

I've never actually recorded myself doing air squats before, and am surprised/dismayed at how rounded my back is. I suspect this is the root of the problem right there? In which case the question becomes, "how do I improve lumbar extension"?



All sorts, but the impetus for posting this was that I have trouble losing/dumping the weight forward at the bottom of front and overhead squats, particular when the weight gets high.
Solution! Cut out the LBBS's... Glenn Pendlay first made this clear to me, but think about it for a second. LBBS's make your squatting strong in the really-leaned-forward-hamstrings-doing-all-the-work position, which is not ideal for front or overhead squatting. This is why Oly lifters do not do them, and instead do HBBS's with a more upright position.
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Old 05-29-2009, 06:48 AM   #9
Darryl Shaw
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Olmstead View Post
Here's a video of a few different squats - very heavy (for me) low rep back squats, midweight high-rep back squats, and air squats: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ra6NlfvxLAM

I've never actually recorded myself doing air squats before, and am surprised/dismayed at how rounded my back is. I suspect this is the root of the problem right there? In which case the question becomes, "how do I improve lumbar extension"?

All sorts, but the impetus for posting this was that I have trouble losing/dumping the weight forward at the bottom of front and overhead squats, particular when the weight gets high.
1: Listen to the lady in the video - chest up!

2: End the set before your form breaks down and your squats turn into good mornings.

3: Do front squats and stretches with a sandbag held in the rack position and work on finding a stance that works with your longish looking femurs.
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Old 05-29-2009, 08:29 AM   #10
Brandon Oto
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Probably just weak quads. I do the same. More front squats (thanks John) wouldn't be uncalled for.

Your squats have some more general issues, though.

Nice to see ye old Ironworks.

Edit: you have long femurs but I never want to see air squats like that... back to basics, proper spinal extension (lumbar AND thoracic), and weightlifting shoes will help some.
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