T Nation

Chest Caving on Squat

As some of you know, I’m doing Smolov for the first time. I’m in the 3rd week of the base mesocycle right now but I have a problem. My Chest seems to be caving in after 6-7 reps with 315 LBS.

  • Sometimes I look down when I squat, But ir eally try to keep the head up.

  • I can do a full overhead squat without problems, I can do the same with front squats. My problem lies with back squats.

  • My toes point out when I squat

  • I squat beyond the point of parallel, to the point where I sometimes bounce off the calves.

  • Seems I get a cramp, or tightening in the right erector when trying to arch a lot, in order to keep my head and chest up.

  • I notice that when I squat down without weight, I always bring my arms forward.

I’m really not sure what could cause the problem, I started the program just fine, I think.

Could it be I lost some flexibility? Any advice?

Looking down is a dead giveaway to lose tightness in your back. Don’t do that.

Could be your set-up too, probably some flexibility/mobility issues at hand as well. But frankly I’d say it’s probably that your upper back is just weak and that you should look to strengthening it with back exercises…

Cramps you pretty much just to fight through. Helps to make sure you get electrolytes and stuff, stay hydrated too.

One thing to look at is probably your technique as well. Little things can hurt that. For instance, if you start out of the hole and your hips move first it causes you to cave in. It shifts you forward ala a good morning, but it can also cause your upper back to cave.

Head and chest up, reset them at the start of each rep. Actively try to pick your chest up at the top before you do down again.

Drive you elbows forward as you come out of the hole. Like you’re trying to push them under the bar, and even further than that, so that they’re in front of it. You won’t be able to do it, but it’ll help keep your chest up.

Go get a broom stick and put it where the bar would be while you’re squatting, and do that with your elbows. Watch yourself side on in a mirror, your chest will pick up.

I use to have this problem i did basically what hanley said to do and it fixed. Also it could be a weakness in your lower back compared to your legs. Or both.

Thanks guys. I did some work with the advice.

  • I notice that I have to stop a bit earlier now as far as depth goes

  • I notice that I am tight from smolov, gonna need some stretching.

  • I fairly well distributed in muscle strength, but I do see your point EG, could be the lower back is fatigued.

So I guess stretching (on off days), maybe a longer warm up, taking the sets a bit slower and actively trying to keep my elbows forward.

I’ll keep you posted if everything goes to plan, I have a video of me squatting but its in 3gp format.

Smolov tightened me up quite a bit actually now that you mention it, and it caused me to fall forward a bit more frequently with my squats. Once I got stretched out again I was fine.