T Nation

Falling Forward In The Squat

A repost from FI: (just looking for some more ideas here)

I’m not sure where the problem stems from, but it has become really prevalent when squatting normally. My upper back seems to be dropping very easily, even with weights I should be able to easily handle.

Recently I’ve been doing alot more work on box squats and I think they’re one of the main causes to my new problem. My form’s pretty brutal off them. I almost ALWAYs hit the box and sit dead up right and have to let the weight come forward before I can squat it back up (forming a slight rock, I hesitate to post this vid cos it’s UGLY - http://ie.youtube.com/watch?v=Z6Vq11LmA8k ).

Outside of addressing this by working harder on my box squat and normal squat technique, what exercises can I do to improve the muscles that are weak?

SSB squats would be cool, but I don’t have access to a bar. I’m thinking perhaps power shrugs? I already do alot of face pulls, bent over lateral raises, chest supported rows and dumbbell powercleans so I’m looking more towards “big” heavy exercises that I can load a lot of weight up on and hit hard.

And suggestions would be appreciated.

Hanley

I had a similar problem. As you may recall, Ive been traing sheiko for quite a while now. For a number of those prep cycles I replaced all squatting with box squats. That is alot of box squatting volume.

What this accomplished was to bang my knees up pretty good and cause me to develop a forward lean in the squat. This is even with all the good mornings in Sheiko. (Incidentally, if I were to do it again, I would vary the box height alot more than I did)

So what I have done was to take some time off box squats and let the knees heal up a bit. After than, I upped the ab work a bit doing alot of heavy pull down abs; although I’m not sure how much they helped.

What did help alot was front squatting. I now front squat at least once a week. Usually I do three sets of moderate front squats to warm up every lower body day. For me, I will never drop front squats again…my knees have never felt better, my core and back are strong as ever, and I never lean too far forward in back squats anymore. For me front squats are really an ab and upper back exercise and I rarely ever feel them much in the quads or hamstrings.

I’m training some sort of modified westside now and I always keep the fronts squats as an assistance exercise. My box squats look alot better now too. FYI I squat IPF style.

I hope this helps. Probably not the canned answer most people would suggest. Red

PS: Yeah, from what I read a SSB would have been nice, but I dont think there is one in the entire province.

Why don’t you just move your frequency of box squats way down, if that’s what you think is giving you problems with your squat? :slight_smile:

Hanley, when do you decide when to squat in chucks and when to throw on your adistars? Could your changing footwear create any problems?

Could hip flexibility be a problem when you don’t have heel lifts like with chucks?

Im going to second redroast on the front squats.

couple of things that i have noticed.

first off, i think, as many westsider’s do that box squats carryover the most to the squat, so do not know if it is necessarily a good idea to take to long of time off if you follow the above advice.

i beleive i saw your post on elite recently about something along the same lines. anyway, what i think…

  1. your not sitting back enough, the box squat is mainly to teach to sit back and then down, it looks more like you are just coming down on it.

  2. speed on decent, maybe because your not sitting back, but it seems like you are coming down to fast and plopping on the box. some would say you need to slow the decent, which is debatable, but you should try to set down instead of “falling” onto it

  3. something that i myself am working on is trying to keep the elbows DOWN towards the ground as much as possible, and also to drive the elbows forward to begin the ascent, and make sure to lead with your head.

not all of these are the prominent issue, and i think 1 and 2 can be fixed by simply sitting back more…

ihope i helped…

i hope this doesnt post…

anyway, another thing, in regard to new exercies. do you have access to cambered bar? that would help with the rocking motion a good bit as it requires you to be “locked” in.

for keeping the back tight and arched, try maybe bringing your hands out a little. i think they might be too close, and could be an issue. i believe elitefts addresses this occasionally.

alos, just keep on with the back work, doing heavy rows and pullups will help grow that back to get big and strong, helping you stay tight, and build a nice shelf for you

good luck dude, i have seen a lot of growth out of you in the last 2 years or so…

[quote]Stronghold wrote:
Im going to second redroast on the front squats.[/quote]

agreed

I’d second trying moving the hands out a little further. The extra muscle you’re carrying can change the squat a little, as your shelf moves higher up. If it doesn’t work, you can always ditch it.

[quote]hockechamp14 wrote:
Hanley, when do you decide when to squat in chucks and when to throw on your adistars? Could your changing footwear create any problems?

Could hip flexibility be a problem when you don’t have heel lifts like with chucks?[/quote]

The Chucks go on for wide work. Using the Adistar’s when I’m that wide makes me feel like my hips will explode.

I can actually get below par. with my chucks in a close stance, Itested yesterday, so I don’t tihnk flexibility is THAT much of a problem. It might be in part tho.

As for why I’m not ditching the box squats… they’re making me stronger. Just hurting my form a bit!

[quote]redroast wrote:
Hanley

I had a similar problem. As you may recall, Ive been traing sheiko for quite a while now. For a number of those prep cycles I replaced all squatting with box squats. That is alot of box squatting volume.

What this accomplished was to bang my knees up pretty good and cause me to develop a forward lean in the squat. This is even with all the good mornings in Sheiko. (Incidentally, if I were to do it again, I would vary the box height alot more than I did)

So what I have done was to take some time off box squats and let the knees heal up a bit. After than, I upped the ab work a bit doing alot of heavy pull down abs; although I’m not sure how much they helped.

What did help alot was front squatting. I now front squat at least once a week. Usually I do three sets of moderate front squats to warm up every lower body day. For me, I will never drop front squats again…my knees have never felt better, my core and back are strong as ever, and I never lean too far forward in back squats anymore. For me front squats are really an ab and upper back exercise and I rarely ever feel them much in the quads or hamstrings.

I’m training some sort of modified westside now and I always keep the fronts squats as an assistance exercise. My box squats look alot better now too. FYI I squat IPF style.

I hope this helps. Probably not the canned answer most people would suggest. Red

PS: Yeah, from what I read a SSB would have been nice, but I dont think there is one in the entire province.
[/quote]

A non canned answer from someone addressing the actual situation and not giving a blank recommendation??? That’s no use!!! Hahahahaha I’m joking of course!!

I think you might be onto something with the front squats. They’ve always hammered my upper back more than my legs. It’s definately something to consider. Thanks!

[quote]coolnatedawg wrote:
couple of things that i have noticed.

first off, i think, as many westsider’s do that box squats carryover the most to the squat, so do not know if it is necessarily a good idea to take to long of time off if you follow the above advice.

i beleive i saw your post on elite recently about something along the same lines. anyway, what i think…

  1. your not sitting back enough, the box squat is mainly to teach to sit back and then down, it looks more like you are just coming down on it.

  2. speed on decent, maybe because your not sitting back, but it seems like you are coming down to fast and plopping on the box. some would say you need to slow the decent, which is debatable, but you should try to set down instead of “falling” onto it

  3. something that i myself am working on is trying to keep the elbows DOWN towards the ground as much as possible, and also to drive the elbows forward to begin the ascent, and make sure to lead with your head.

not all of these are the prominent issue, and i think 1 and 2 can be fixed by simply sitting back more…

ihope i helped…[/quote]

Is my elbow position THAT bad?? I just ask because a few people have said it on FI and a few here without saying much else, and I’m not sure whether it’s just the general recommendation everyone throws out when falling forward is an issue… I’ve done alot of work in the past year on elbow position and I thougt it was pretty good now. You can see me setting my upper back and pushing my elbows forward before starting the descent.

I’m guesssing sitting back more will have an impact on the weight I can use? I’m not going to be ME box squatting for a few weeks so I’ll make the effort to sit way back on speed work and see if it helps.

And on my speed down, yup, it’s way fast. I come close to dive bombing most of my squats normally so I’ve a nasty habit of going down fast. I need to work on it definitely.

Thanks for the advice!!

(and no camber bar, nothing but straight bars unfortunately!)

You don’t have enough glute power to get off the bottom with that weight. Instinctively, you know this so you’re not sitting back, you’re sitting down so as to involve the quads. Knees and hips are breaking at the same time, rather than hips first.

Because the glutes aren’t strong enough, you have to lean forward to change the leverage and pivot on the knee joint,putting the glutes higher into strong enough position to help you push up. That forces a good morning.

Been there. Still there. Have to fight it all the time.

Drop weight some and work on form a bunch. Take multiple singles, doubles in the 85% to 90% range. That’ll get strength up and allow more form work.

I suffer the same problem bud. I have made great strides in improving my form though.

Firstly I actually have started placing the bar higher on my back. This stops me having to lean over so far and therefore being more vertical.

Ive also found my letting my arms go out wider I can keep them under the bar more which was pushing me foward before.

Ive been doing a fair ammount of zercher squats too to teach me to be more vertical.

Hope this helps bud.

yes, in the beginning sitting back will affect the weight you can use. by sitting back tho, you will activate teh posterior chain much more, and eventually, that will lead to much heavier weights with much better form.

honestly, with the elbow thing, its something you will have to work out. i myself am still trying to figure it out too… but by moving your hands out, you might get some help there…

but definitly try and slow the decent. i did/do the same thing a lot, especially as it gets heavier. by doing that not only are you going to rock, but you will lose that tightness overall…

i also really like skidmark’s comments…

[quote]Hanley wrote:
coolnatedawg wrote:
couple of things that i have noticed.

first off, i think, as many westsider’s do that box squats carryover the most to the squat, so do not know if it is necessarily a good idea to take to long of time off if you follow the above advice.

i beleive i saw your post on elite recently about something along the same lines. anyway, what i think…

  1. your not sitting back enough, the box squat is mainly to teach to sit back and then down, it looks more like you are just coming down on it.

  2. speed on decent, maybe because your not sitting back, but it seems like you are coming down to fast and plopping on the box. some would say you need to slow the decent, which is debatable, but you should try to set down instead of “falling” onto it

  3. something that i myself am working on is trying to keep the elbows DOWN towards the ground as much as possible, and also to drive the elbows forward to begin the ascent, and make sure to lead with your head.

not all of these are the prominent issue, and i think 1 and 2 can be fixed by simply sitting back more…

ihope i helped…

Is my elbow position THAT bad?? I just ask because a few people have said it on FI and a few here without saying much else, and I’m not sure whether it’s just the general recommendation everyone throws out when falling forward is an issue… I’ve done alot of work in the past year on elbow position and I thougt it was pretty good now. You can see me setting my upper back and pushing my elbows forward before starting the descent.

I’m guesssing sitting back more will have an impact on the weight I can use? I’m not going to be ME box squatting for a few weeks so I’ll make the effort to sit way back on speed work and see if it helps.

And on my speed down, yup, it’s way fast. I come close to dive bombing most of my squats normally so I’ve a nasty habit of going down fast. I need to work on it definitely.

Thanks for the advice!!

(and no camber bar, nothing but straight bars unfortunately!)[/quote]

Your elbow position is GOOD. Furthermore, you lock them in tight. Normally you will see the chicken wing effect. Also, I think your hands are good. The fact that you can get them that close is only going to benefit you in the long run.

Now, I agree that you are not sitting back. I also agree that it look like you are plopping on the box. I would be willing to bet that you would have smoked that the weight if you had stayed tight. This is major difference between box squatting and free squatting. You can pretty much bounce out of the bottom when you free squat. You REALLY don’t want to do that to a box. The tighter you stay the more power off the box you are going to have. I know a lot of people preach releasing the hip flexors on the box. I am not opposed to this, but until you master it a little more, don’t worry about it. Just stay as tight as humanly possible.

I don’t really see you falling forward. You look pretty upright to me. As it has been already said “ab work”. However, the one thing that I believed helped my lean the most was strengthen my upperback/rear delt/traps region. If you think about it, it makes sense. When I see people fall forward most often it is a result of the chest caving in/rounded upperback/ and elbows flying behind them. Link me to a free squat vid where you think you have this lean issue.

That’s a tough video to critique. That was damn close to a limit lift (wether it should have been or not) and you approach the box loose and never tighten up before you start the ascent.

You lean in quite a bit but agree with Pemdas in that you keep the elbows locked in and overall your starting position looks decent.

Given the overall volume of squatting, combined with the volume of beltless squatting you have been doing I don’t think core is an issue. Certainly not with that weight and a belt.

I read Buddy’s response of FI and my retort to him would be the reason your feet move is b/c you basically had no groove coming off the box b/c you were loose and you see the feet movement b/c your body is trying to reestablish an optimal position to complete the lift.

I wouldn’t over react to what happened. Just keep working it.

I like your elbow position, helps you stay tight and upright. As a couple of others stated, I think you came down too fast/hard on the box which caused you to loosen up on the box. Try to slow on the descent with just a light touch and go on the box (I know, easier said than done). If you stay tight at the bottom on that lift, I think you blow it up.

Yeah I would have to agree looks like you might have even relaxed on the box …

Try doing some overhead squats to help with you balance…

Hanley, a couple of thoughts here.

First, like APW mentioned it looked like a PR attempt, in which case there’s a damn good chance that it isn’t going to look pretty.

Second, I think you could have taken a bigger breath before you squatted and shoved your gut out against your belt. Granted you don’t have a gut, but I’d still try to push out against that belt as hard as you can.

Third, I was at a point not too long ago where I missed a weight 2 or 3 times in about a months span (430 or 435). I would get about half way up and then stall and fold over. The two things that really helped were HEAVY weighted abdominal work, I mean heavy enough so your only getting 5-10 reps before failure, and I also started incorporating the Safety Squat Bar with and without chains, and it really built up my upper back strength. My squat jumped by 50lbs pretty quickly and continued to climb over 500.

So if you’ve got access to a SSB bar, I’d try using it, as well as incorporating some kind of accommodating resistance to help explode off the box. And heavy abs if you aren’t already.

Just my .02.