T Nation

Can't Keep My Arch During Squats


This is a video of my workout last monday. My working sets were with 300lbs on the squat and 280lbs on the reverse lunge. I can't seem to keep my arch when I go down to parallel. I try to arch my back as hard as I can, but my back still rounds a bit when I get towards the bottom. I personally think it's a combination of not being quite flexible enough and my back not being strong enough to keep my arch. I've been prying and working on my flexibility for a bit now. What are the things I could do to add to my routine to help this out? Right now my routine is:

Squat day1(mon):
Squats: Pick a weight I can't do 3x5 and stick with it until I can do 3x5, then move up 10lbs next squat workout.
Reverse Lunges: 1x6/leg(Love these by the way)
GHR: 2x8

Bench day1(wed):
Bench: Pick a weight I can't do 3x5 and stick with it until I can do 3x5, then move up next bench workout.
One arm row: 2x5
Weighted pullups: 2xamap
Seated military press: 3x6
Alt. Bicep Curls: 3x6

Squat day2(fri):
Squat: Pick a weight I can't do 3x5 and stick with it until I can do 3x5, then move up next squat workout.
Barbell Hip Thrusts: 3x5
1 Legged 45deg back extensions: 2x8

Bench day2(sat):
Bench: Pick a weight I can't do 3x5 and stick with it until I can do 3x5, then move up next bench workout.
Seated Row: 2x5
Pullups: 2xamap
DB Bench: 2x10
Arnold Press: 2x10
Cable Tricep pushdowns: 2x10
Cable bicep curls: 2x10


Make your stance 4-8" wider, and take a big belly breath on the way down, sticking your belly as far out as possible. Pretend you're trying to look really really fat, and it's the last breath you will take for 2 hours. Should help.


You aren't sitting back. You should initiate the squat by pushing your hips back 10-12". Then spread your knees. Your knees are really going forward. You'll probably need to work on hamstring strength to do it right.


You need to sit back as Wild Iron Gym said.

The way I do it is: slightly bend at the knees (just basically unlocking them) forcing them out. It should feel like you are going onto the sides of your feet. Now, stick your butt out by arching as hard as you can. Then going slightly back sink down between your knees. I had the same problem as you but read about that tip from Charles Bailey. Your hamstrings may be tight as well, when they reach their limit, they will pull on the back of your pelvis causing it to tilt as demonstrated in the video. Bending my knees first helped me concentrate on the arch more than by arching first then forcing the knees out. Since you are squatting without the use of a suit or briefs, you will have some forward knee movement.

Another thing you can do is actively "pull" yourself down at the bottom with your hip flexors. They aren't a prime mover in the squat at all but by actively recruiting them, they pull on the front of your pelvis and can help prevent the "butt wink" you are experiencing. Since you have a video camera, you can try it without weight. Just squat down without actively using your hip flexors and then with actively using them. See if there is a difference in the amount your lower back rounds.


I disagree, I think he looks to be sitting back pretty well. Some people just aren't made for narrow stance squatting. But more hamstring strength never hurt anybody's squat for sure! Also agree about not pushing knees out nearly enough.


That's not sitting back. The knee should stay above the ankle. His knee travels forward a lot. He's just dropping. If he was sitting back, you'd see his hips move back before anything else happens.


What all those guys said.

AND something that helps me is forcing my elbows underneath the bar as I lower. Just imagine pushing the elbows forward the whole time. It makes the arch feel more secure to me.


Take a lower bar position and get your hands in as close as you can to your body, fill your stomach up with air and sit back and push your knees out to initiate the squat.


I've tried sitting back more and I still tend to lose my arch. This leads me to believe its more of a strength issue as well. I feel like my leg strength is there, but my back strength isn't. What should I add to my routine to bring my back strength up to par? I work out at LA fitness so I don't have a lot of great equipment, but I'm sure I have more then enough to work with. I think the only things I'd want to add there are a GHR maching and reverse hyper.


The lean forward is to keep the weight on your quads. Your body is avoiding using your hamstrings. Just do a bunch of SLDL and do them with a 2-4" deficit if you can.


The sitting back could use improvement, which is why I mentioned spreading the stance more. Like I said, some people ain't made to squat narrow-stance.


do some deadlifts to make your lower back stronger,helped alot for me


Youve got no arch to begin with. Your back is straight, but its not ARCHED. Try to touch your shoulder blades to your ass and see how that treats you.



This works with double ply equipment to sit back into but a raw lifter will do better breaking with the knees and sitting down.


Go down a little slower and emphasise the things said above !

Also it looks like you are unraking the weights and stepping back at the same time. you need to let the weights balance before taking the step back.


Not necessarily. EVERY squat should start with the hips moving backwards. It will be less with a guy who lifts raw all of the time, but his first movement should be with the hips back.



x50 million. If you want to arch your back, then arch your back. You accomplish this by arching your back.


Fred Hatfield would disagree with you. The man knows a thing or two about squatting.

People with weak hamstrings do better at breaking at the knees and sitting down. That also makes it much more difficult to consistently get depth.


When a squatter arches his/her back it rotates the pelvis forward, creating a stretch in the hamstrings at the start position. Then during the eccentric portion of the squat the hamstrings are getting stretched more making it very difficult to keep the arch in the lower back, especially right around true parallel.

More hamstring/low back flexibility is needed but you also must sit back more, essentially the purpose of arching your lower back is to create a stretch reflex in your hamstrings to increase speed and strength out of the hole. Work on Sitting back more and get more hamstring/low back work in.


Try some box squatting... Seemed to really help me get the confidence to sit back. Also, if you have the fattest guy in the place scream back 4-5 times on your decent, this seems to help. Beards optional.