T Nation

Back Arch, Glute Squeeze, Knees Out. Oh My

Hey all,

I’d like to micromanage my form for squat.

Back Arch:
I’m just trying to clarify this concept of back arch. I thought I was doing it correctly until I was doing some chest chin ups today and realized there are two places where I can arch my back.

A. I can either tilt my sacrum back and have the majority of my arch heavily focused on the sacrum, L5 region.

B. On the other hand, I can pull in around T6 to start the arch there.

C. Or thirdly, I can do both for a major arch.

Which arch is correct for powerlifting movements?

Glute Squeeze:
When I prep for a squat I squeeze my glutes. Again, I realized there are two variations of which I would like to clarify.

D. One method, I get a much tighter contraction when squeezing my glutes, but it also rotates my hips outward, pelvis forward, and turns the quads outward dramatically.

E. I also have found that I can squeeze glutes without the aforementioned hip rotation or pelvic tuck. This method produces a much less firm base as it feels currently.

Knees Out:
The above glute squeeze then affects my concept of what “knees out” means.

If I use method D, my knees are already rotated outward slightly. By then forcing them out once I enter the hole my knees flare at a very wide angle and it’s hard to stay on track over the foot.

If I use method E, my knees stay over my foot and I can push outward, however I do not have the torque in my glute squeeze as I do in method D.


I hope this thread and its answers might clarify things for myself and others. I might be micromanaging my squat heavily, but I would like to improve. I would also like to prevent myself from future injuries.

My knees have recently started to get better after a few months of pain from muscle imbalances. I rarely find my hammies or glutes to feel used the days after squats even though I sit back as far as possible, knees rarely coming over toes. It’s almost always in the quads and front part of the hips on each side where legs meet body.

Piece by piece these each affect my squat dramatically as well as areas that ache and do not. I appreciate any advice you guys have to give.

Hopefully, this can help others in the future as well!

dude, you have over thought this BIG TIME… This is arch stuff is simple. Lay on a bench. Try to make your balls touch the bench. Now try to make your shoulders touch your balls. IDK about all that T6, L5 shit…
With your feet on the floor, try to push so that you slide off the end of the bench while squeezing your ass and keeping some part of it on the bench. BAM, done…

My bench form is fine. I am asking about squats, because I still don’t think I’m doing them properly as my knees still ache at times. I never feel it in my hammies or glutes, at all.

I think SD was trying to give you a tip for what “arching your back” should feel like. Apply that to your squat.

I agree you have over thought this. I know it’s not a option for everyone but I’d find some experienced lifting partners. People that have been lifting and competing for years. That’s when my training got on the right track.

My wild guess is you’re not squatting as low as you think you are, i.e. not deep enough to engage your hammies/glutes fully.

OP: Videos may help your cause

I would love to try and find some partners in person, but as I am in Korea there are a small handful of powerlifters. Also, the majority of them that speak English is nil.

Thus, I can only get the majority of my information from online.

I’ll post a video.

I’m just trying to sort out what these cues means.