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Back Squat- Shin Angle?


I was reading one of Dave Tate's articles on how to properly back squat and he mentioned that the angle between your shins and the floor should be perpendicular or greater.

I've been trying to get this to work, but even with just bodyweight, I can't seem to push my shins that far back. Is this just a lack of flexibility, or do I just need to spend some time hammering my form??


you always want to strive for a perpendicular lower leg position. as a raw lifter this is almost impossible though. a geared lifter can sit back into their suit to get into this position. to help get closer to this position, take your stance out. point your toes out some, force your knees out the entire time and sit back SOME.

as a raw lifter, i used to try and sit back more but without the gear to sit back into, i find that i basically squat down and up. lastly, ankle flexibility, or lack there of, can make it hard to get those lower legs close to that perpendicular position.


try slightly lifting the toes off of the ground as this will shift all the weight through the heels. Make sure your stance is at least slightly wider than shoulder width, if not, wider. Doing so will enable you to squat with your glutes and hamstrings, which is the powerlifting style.

If that does not help with keeping the shins perpendicular to the floor, then try stretching your calves, as tight calves have a tenancy to keep people from squatting through the heels.


My stance is a little wider that shoulder width. Usually I can keep my shins perpendicular up to the point where my hips are in line with the crease of my knees, after that though my shins break perpendicular. As to the sitting back, forcing knees out, and point the toes out, I already do those. So it seems like I just have a slight flexibility issue, right?


It sounds like your able to go to paralell with good form, which most people can't even do. Anything below paralell with that form requires great flexability and the right body type. people with short torsos and longer femurs will find it hard if not impossible to break paralell with that good of form and not lose their center of balance.


shins perpendicular to the floor? How can that happen without falling backwards? Typically shins and torso should be parallel. This is not coming from a power-lifting background though.


I've been playing w/ this lately, really trying to focus on getting my butt back and keep my shins as perpendicular as possible. I took some video the other day and I'm starting to rethink things.

My big problem is getting my hips back at the expense of losing a little back tightness. My arch is still there and my back is at least neutral, so not unsafe, but it feels mechanically disadvantaged. I find myself good morning the weight up a bit, or at least having to focus more on not caving in and following forward than if I didn't sit back as far as possible; when I hit the sticking point or the slowest part of the lift, I really feel a lot of force coming from my lower back, when I want to feel it more in my butt/hamstrings.

It also feels like I am going a lot deeper than I am. I'm just getting below parallel, but if I went any lower I would just cave in.

I need to get some video of the ones where I don't feel the extra lower back effort, and just feel the push from my butt and hamstrings. I'm assuming my knees will be a bit more forward and I may be able to get a little deeper.

I also squat in weightlifting shoes, so I will need to take more video and experiment more, perhaps w/ different shoes, but I think that I may be stronger w/o purely vertical shins.


Is this a powerlifting squat question, or is your interest bodybuilding?

If the latter, then working the quads to a more stretched position, rather than the minimum possible as is strived for with the PL'ing squat, is not a bad thing.


I'm having the same problem. Even with a wide stance and toes pointed out, my lower back loses its tightness (and even begins to round) towards the bottom of my squat. I tried pushing my knees up a little bit, and it seemed to have fixed the problem. This was, however, with no weight (I was doing body weight squats to check my form), so I don't know if it would hold up when I'm lifting heavy.

Bill: What's the ideal stance if one is more interesting in bodybuilding than powerlifting?


think about it


The bar should be over the middle of your foot which creates a shin angle...So, your shin angle depends on your limb measurements, where you place the bar on your back, shoes, distance between your feet...

heres some examples...different shin angles...

box squats are an exception though...are you sure dave wasn't talking about box squats?


It will depend on the purposes and what naturally suits the lifter, but a narrower stance does more for quad sweep, and in general extremely wide stances reduce quad involvement. (The powerlifter is not focused on building bigger quads with his squats: instead, reducing potential of the quads being a limiting factor is a good thing for PL'ing.) For bb'ing the range approximately around shoulder width, whether the same or somewhat wider or narrower, but more typically same or somewhat wider, is what seems most productive for most.


IMO the only flexibility issues that would interfere with shins perpendicular to the ground would be in the hips, if you want to sit back more, then pivot more forward from the hips.. it really is that simple
You start running into issues when you're not flexible enough to pivot at the hips, don't ever sacrifice your lumbar arch for a better shin angle.


Well since I'm trying to get my squat numbers as high as possible, I guess I fall under the powerlifting category. And I was trying different stance widths today and it seems like if I do an ultra wide stance, it's much easier to keep the perpendicular shins while keeping the arched back. So could I just start doing squats with an ultra wide stance and slowly begin to shorten my stance?


Ah you're right, found the article http://www.tmuscle.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance/squatting_from_head_to_toe
But wouldn't keeping the shins perpendicular reinforce sitting back in a normal squat too? Which would help me use my hams and glutes instead of quads


Not to mention greater than perpendicular? You'd fall over...


It depends on the squat you are doing...

There is difference between these squats

and this squat

either way...you would probably get better advice in the strength sports forum