T Nation

Another Thread About Squats

I started out squatting on the smith machine for awhile (I know, I know…) and then I moved to the squat rack. Unfortunately I couldn’t go more than 45 degrees even with a very light weight (it felt like my hamstrings would just give out), so I took the advice of someone that was helping me out and put some plates under my heels. I did that for awhile and then started reading up about how doing that is a crutch for weak hamstrings and poor posture.

After reading a great article I found here, I switched to box squats and added good mornings for about a month to help me get better form. I’m switching back to free squats and was wondering if anyone can offer any insight or any a-ha moments you’ve had when squatting that might help me make sure my form is good so I can get lower.

I think I got it and I’m anxious to get back in the gym and try them again, and I really don’t want to dissapoint myself.

My guess would be stretching the hamstrings, together with some stiff-legged deadlifts or other way to train the hamstrings.

  1. Can you squat properly with no weight on your back?

  2. Is it really a flexibility issue, or are you just forgetting how to squat the second you put a bar across your back? It happens.

I used this progression with my wife when I was teaching her to squat.

Goblet squat -> dumbell squat -> bodyweight “box” squat on a stack of plates, removing a plate every set -> bodyweight full range squat -> “box” squat with bar, removing a plate every set -> full squat with bar -> full squat with weight.

I had her goblet squat and dumbell squat for a few weeks to get her sitting between the legs rather than over them. After that she was able to do a full-range olympic squat in one session when she’d previously have fallen over backwards with only a broomstick.

Like ninearms said. Goblet squats. Can you full squat without weight?

Maybe front squat to take load off the posterior chain.

If youre using the ‘pad’, ditch it. I feel it throws off balance.

Its a back squat. Don’t hold the bar on the top of your shoulders. Position it a bit lower. At the same time, try to push your chest out and squeeze your shoulder blades together.

Take a deep breath, hold it in your chest, and sit back. Get parallel (at least)… on your way back up, If you start to feel like you aren’t going to make it (legs fumbling or back caving), try to push your knees out (literally).

front squatting is a great way to get where you want to go.

learn to front squat no-hands - hold your arms out front like a zombie and slightly elevated if need be. like this guy:

start with the bar and work up only when your form and balance start falling into place. maybe one session. maybe six sessions.

i front squat for 80% of my squatting, only using the back for the weights i can’t front.

In order to correct my horrible squat form I did front box squats on the smallest plyo-box my gym had. It must have been a foot tall and forced me to go ATG and keep my back in a safe position.