T Nation

Developing Flexibility, Squat & DL

I’ve been progressing on both of these lifts for awhile now, though I’m still ashamed of my numbers. I notice that I have a real tendency to lean forward on both, and that when I reach bottom position in the squat (sitting on my calves), my lower back has rounded substantially.

When I deadlift, I find that I have a great deal of difficulty alleviating a forward lean. I’m managing to maintain a neutral spine throughout this movement, but it seems slightly awkward. I find it easier when I deadlift sumo style, but still notice a tendency to lean forward. When I focus on keeping the weight on me heels, I frequently end up with a curved upper back.

Some background: I am rather tall, and I wear normal athletic shoes when I lift. I suspect that perhaps I need different footwear?

Additionally, I’ve been really working on my hamstring flexibility but I still have difficulty maintaining a neutral spinal curvature past parallel when squatting, even with no weight. I suppose my hamstring flexibility may not be good enough, but I can easily place my palms on the floor without bending my knees.

Finally, I recognize that a potential issue may just be “too much weight”, but I find the problem persists regardless of how much weight I use. I’m wary to progress further with either lift , as I’m sure this excessive forward lean might be a cause of many potential injuries as I increase the weight.

thanks

Glute stretch (helps me a lot)


Hip Flexor (REALLY helps me).

Well, you could try front squats, which will force you to keep your torso upright. Also, overhead squats will help as well.

As for the deadlift, I am no expert, but a little forward lean may not be such a bad thing. Since you are tall, your form will deviate from the norm, and I can’t picture how someone can deadlift with a totally upright torso anyway… As for rounding of the upper back, that is not a big deal, as most powerlifters do it to reduce the range of motion.

You have seen Eric Cressey’s recent deadlift articles, right? If not, look them up and study!

Oh, and stop wearing the cross-trainers! Get some Chucks, or some kind of flat-soled shoes. You don’t want your heels rolling around.

Calf-hip-quad-ham stretches all good!

Try doing overhead squats for 5 minutes before every workout (no matter what lifts you are focusing on). Use a broomstick or PVC pipe for those.

Whenh you can overhead squat with good form, you can back squat with good form!

put some muscle on your back.

pull-ups.

snatch pulls.

ghr and hypers.

more pull-ups.

I agree only I think you should use weight, long as there are no shoulder problems. If you lean forward while overhead squatting you will drop the weight. I thought I would never be able to squat correctly until I learned to do these.

[quote]derek wrote:
Try doing overhead squats for 5 minutes before every workout (no matter what lifts you are focusing on). Use a broomstick or PVC pipe for those.

Whenh you can overhead squat with good form, you can back squat with good form![/quote]

[quote]Airtruth wrote:
I agree only I think you should use weight, long as there are no shoulder problems. If you lean forward while overhead squatting you will drop the weight. I thought I would never be able to squat correctly until I learned to do these.

derek wrote:
Try doing overhead squats for 5 minutes before every workout (no matter what lifts you are focusing on). Use a broomstick or PVC pipe for those.

When you can overhead squat with good form, you can back squat with good form!

[/quote]

Right! Use weight when you can. The lack of weight with the PVC allows you to still lean forward and keep it pressed out although it will be far ahead of where it should be . Add weight and you’ll dump forward.

The extra weight will keep you honest (or flat on your face) :^)

[quote]derek wrote:
Glute stretch (helps me a lot)[/quote]

Is it me or does’derek’ look intersting?

Whatever you do, pay attention to your flexibility now which it appears you are doing. I have neglected mine for a while now and I AM sorry… from head to toe. It’s going to take me forever to get it back now.

[quote]derek wrote:
Glute stretch (helps me a lot)[/quote]

Derek,
Do you have anymore examples of stretching the hamstring? I keep pulling that one.

Putting your hands on the floor without bending your knees. Hmm… I would stop doing that stretch entirely. Any stretch that stretches the lower back significantly while stretching the hamstrings is not going to be good for you. You need to get yourself in positions where you are stretching your glutes and hamstrings while keeping a neutral or at least not excessively flexed lower back.

You are going to really feel good deadlifting when your lower back is strong enough to lock into place while you are deadlifting. It is definitely the weak point of the exercise now and the stretching you are doing may only be exacerbating the problem…

[quote]Shadowzz4 wrote:
Putting your hands on the floor without bending your knees. Hmm… I would stop doing that stretch entirely. Any stretch that stretches the lower back significantly while stretching the hamstrings is not going to be good for you. You need to get yourself in positions where you are stretching your glutes and hamstrings while keeping a neutral or at least not excessively flexed lower back.

You are going to really feel good deadlifting when your lower back is strong enough to lock into place while you are deadlifting. It is definitely the weak point of the exercise now and the stretching you are doing may only be exacerbating the problem…[/quote]

Too true! Although, as I saw in the Building the Efficient Athlete seminar DVDs, a great stretch for the hamstrings which has the added advantage of improving squat depth, is performed by squatting down with a neutral spine and grasping the ends of your toes.

The next step in this stretch is too push your hips up while keeping your hands “attached” to the edge of your toes and maintaining a neutral spine position. If done properly, you will have a fantastic stretch for your hamstrings without the con of lumbar flexion. Also, keep your head up and facing forward throughout the movement.

I hope that made sense. . . The motion will inevitably look like someone doing a squat while touching their toes and without raising their chest.

I suggest you use this as part of an active warm up before you do squats or deadlifts. It’s a great dynamic stretch.

Hope it helps! :smiley:

[quote]Jetboy1 wrote:
derek wrote:
Glute stretch (helps me a lot)

Derek,
Do you have anymore examples of stretching the hamstring? I keep pulling that one.

[/quote]

My reply may help you!

[quote]Shadowzz4 wrote:
Putting your hands on the floor without bending your knees. Hmm… I would stop doing that stretch entirely. Any stretch that stretches the lower back significantly while stretching the hamstrings is not going to be good for you. You need to get yourself in positions where you are stretching your glutes and hamstrings while keeping a neutral or at least not excessively flexed lower back.

You are going to really feel good deadlifting when your lower back is strong enough to lock into place while you are deadlifting. It is definitely the weak point of the exercise now and the stretching you are doing may only be exacerbating the problem…[/quote]

I just did this the other day to test increased flexability and ended up pulling the muscles in my lower back a bit.

Watch this - instant flexibilty

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-6529481301858251744

It’s long, but you’ll be hooked in the first few minutes.

Watch ALL of these:

Squat Rx #1: Lower Back Rounding at the Bottom of the Squat

Squat Rx #2: GMing out of the Hole

Squat Rx #3: Engaging the Glutes and Hamstrings (Part I)

Squat Rx #3: Engaging the Glutes and Hamstrings (Part II)

[quote]Old Dax wrote:
derek wrote:
Glute stretch (helps me a lot)

Is it me or does’derek’ look intersting?[/quote]

I assume you meant the chick in the picture?

That’s NOT me but if it was, I’d be hanging out in front of the full-length mirror a lot more often!

[quote]Flow wrote:
Jetboy1 wrote:
derek wrote:
Glute stretch (helps me a lot)

Derek,
Do you have anymore examples of stretching the hamstring? I keep pulling that one.

My reply may help you![/quote]
I hate to sound dumb, but what does a ‘neutral back’ mean?