T Nation

Collapsing in Squat/Shooting Hips Out of the Hole


I'm having an issue where I collapse in my squat and shoot my hips out of the hole. I still am able to get the weight up since I can good morning more than I can squat, but I know if I can manage to stay upright I'll be able to really get my technique nailed down and hopefully see my squat numbers go up. Anyone know a way to solve this?

I've been thinking about paused front squats to really work my extensors and help my stability in the hole.

Any and all thoughts/help on this would be great.


Have you tried low box squats?


Not lately but will be incorporating them back in 2 weeks for my DE days. They've never really helped me regarding this problem. Had this problem at the meet we were at and had been doing box squats for the 16 weeks preceding.


a video would really help.

Off the top of my head, I am thinking that if you can good morning more than you squat, your hams/glutes/low back are not your weak link and your quads and upper back likely are.

Also it is probably a technical problem as well--get your shoulder blades together, pop your chest UP, not OUT, and force your elbows completely down. If you can maintain that in the hole, you will be staying up right.

Also not forcing your knees out hard enough can cause you to lean extensively as you push your hips back to try and make depth at the hip crease. It's weird to watch that happen. I don't think that's probably the case, my money is upper back is losing tightness and chest is coming down/elbows back.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XrNNIguh4ls - squat day from 3 weeks ago haven't had a chance to video the last couple squat days.

Also a video from my meet which you definitely can see the issue:


First, I'd be more concerned if these were lesser weights...When you're taking a maximum attempt, I believe everything is going to fall back to the strongest muscles.

So WHY are you folding over? One of my training partners does the exact same thing...weak abs, sitting back, staying erect. Try to touch your shoulder blades to your glutes...tough to tell but it didn't look like you did that on your first video and there's no way of knowing from the second video.

hope that helps.


Rough form on a max attempt is nothing new.

If you are really worried, get a stronger lower and upper back, and work the shit out of your abs to brace yourself better.


For the record this happens with lighter weights in the sub 400 range as well. It's not that I'm just terribly worried, it's just that I think if I can fix this I'll be able to really take my squat to the next level. I want to hit 550 by end of year.


Man, I've been having the same issues. It seems like my quads will fire and lift me forward because I'm not firing my hamstrings/glutes fast enough to extend the hips at the same time. it essentially gets you from the squat position to the GM position. I don't think the problem is upper back, although a strong upper back can help 'rescue' you from this postion. I think it's mostly hamstring strength out of the hole. But I'm definately interested in any other input from the rest of T-Nation.


A couple things that I can see:

-Zero arch in your lower back. The only way you can get away with that is with very wide and very mobile hips. Which it looks like you have neither. One fix to this is to get your upper and lower back stronger, I would suggest more emphasis on your upper back because that looks like it is giving out first. Another reason you can't get a good arch could be:

-Very weak external rotators in your hips. I am assuming from your avatar picture that you are a rower. You can't squat like you row. The MOST important part of squatting is driving your knees out in order to engage your external rotators. This will give your hips a "hole" to bounce out of in the bottom. Also, just the way our human anatomy is made up, dropping your hips into flexion while externally rotating your hips makes it very very hard to get your spinal erectors into any other position but neutral or acrhed. Which seems to be your problem. With that in mind, your abs act as a brace to keep your spine in an efficient position. So:

-Work the shit out of your abs with very very heavy weights.

Hope this helped.


On your dynamic squats (and all others) really think about pushing the hips forward out of the hole. Glute activation exercises might help too.

I had this issue too when I started back squatting (used to row as well) and I really do believe that some of it is motor patterning/muscle memory. Push those knees out hard. Maybe experiment with bringing your stance in while pushing the knees out hard? Continue to work on hip mobility and everything in STB's post as well.


Thanks for the input guys. I know my mobility is shit so this will just give me more motivation to actually do something about it.

Regarding external hip rotators being weak, what are some specific things I can do to fix this?

Also is there a way to work on increasing your arch? I have this issue in bench as well and cannot get much of an arch.

You assume right STB - I am a rower or at least kind of am (not competing right now) and I absolutely squat like I row so hopefully once I can figure these things out I'll see a large improvement.


External rotation:
X-band walks
bad girls
band bad girls
band around your knees when you squat


Storm...... what hip mobility stuff do you think is best? I need to not have such a hard time putting my socks on, not to mention getting down into a proper squat.


For ext. rotation- Quad a mini band, sit down, put the mini band just below your knees, then externally rotate your hips as hard as possible. Do that 100 times and do it everyday for at least two weeks. Try to change the height you are sitting as much as possible (lower is harder).

Working on just the arch is tough because there could be a lot more going on than just a lower back weakness/activation problem. So, just get your lower/middle/upper back as strong as possible. The best way to do this? Start making those areas a priority in your workouts and actually do exercises that target them. Also, tons of heavy (bracing) ab work will make a huge difference, even if your abs arent a weakness.


There seems to be an explosion of information coming out recently on mobility. Most of it sucks though. Check out mobilitywod.com and just search around until you find some hip opening exercises. The last 50 episodes have been pretty awesome. The guy who runs the site, Kelly Starret, has recently started working with Donnie Thompson and the Supertraining guys so several of the recent WODs are geared towrards improving mobility for the powerlifts. KStar is like the Yoda of proper squatting mechanics.


I'm not sure I understand what you mean..what does 'quad a mini band' mean? and where exactly do you hold it? (sorry for being dense..)




Subbing to this thread because I have this problem as well...some great information so far guys, thanks alot!


It means to make it so that a normal length mini band is much shorter/higher tension. Like making a figure eight and than folding the two parts unto itself. Then do it again and you have "quadding". You can then slip your legs through the now smaller hole/higher tension band and externally rotate.