T Nation

Help Me Fix My Squat Problem

Anyone have any opinions on how to fix the following problem?

I’m finding that as I progress up in weight for my squat that I begin to sway/lean/tilt forward. Is this a problem that can be fixed by training a certain muscle or is it more so that I need to focus on my form? I think my form is pretty decent with this exception and it only seems to happen when the weight increases, ex:

5 sets, 4-10 reps per.

Set 1: 135lbs x 10
Set 2: 155lbs x 8
Set 3: 175lbs x 6
Set 4: 195lbs x 4 (problem starts here)
Set 5: 205lbs x 3 (continues here)

I’m in the habit of using a belt for the last 2 sets, for better or worse. Not sure if this matters, but I wear trainers, planning on getting some chuck taylors soon.

Today my spotter mentioned that I was doing good deep reps, but pointed out my tilting problem was noticeable. Whenever I have someone check my form, they say it’s good, but it’s always at a lower weight, ex 135lbs, when I ask them to check.

Does this mean I’m going too heavy and should focus on form, then increase weight?

Thanks.

leaning a little bit forward is natural, and if you see videos of any poerlifting meet… people will be leaning a bit forward, that said, if you’re doing it to the extent that it impedes either your safety, or gains… then it could be a problem (without a video it’s hard to say whether or not you are)…

try doing. 2 things, 1. work damn hard on focusing on not leaning forward, and 2. good mornings

You said it yourself, you are going too heavy. Cut down the weight and work on your form.

When you tilt forward a lot, you give your lower back more work (note, this doesn’t mean tilting forward is wrong, just in excess).

My guess is that you do too many reps for the warmup. Try 135x10, 155x4, 175x4,195x4, etc.

I’ve thought about good mornings but wasn’t sure about them, I’ll have to take a closer look.

I should have mentioned my “warm up” is 5-6 reps of just the bar, then 5-6 reps x 95lbs. This is after a light 5min jog and good stretch.

Good thoughts so far, keep it coming!

Dude, no disrespect, but you’re squatting 205 for 3. You just need to plain squat more. I’m guess you’ve only started with squatting recently?

Are you using high bar or low bar?

A couple of tips;

-Drive your head back and up.
-push your elbows forwards when you’re in as you desecend and really drive them forward hard as you reverse out of the hole.

It could be SO many things. Weak core, weak lower back, weak upper back etc etc. Working one of them isn’t gonna magucally transform your squatting. You just need to make sure every rep of every set is perfect and keep adding weight to the bar.

Sets of 6 and 8 might be an idea for a while to get your conditioning and co-ordination up.

[quote]Hanley wrote:
Dude, no disrespect, but you’re squatting 205 for 3. You just need to plain squat more. I’m guess you’ve only started with squatting recently?

Are you using high bar or low bar?

A couple of tips;

-Drive your head back and up.
-push your elbows forwards when you’re in as you desecend and really drive them forward hard as you reverse out of the hole.

It could be SO many things. Weak core, weak lower back, weak upper back etc etc. Working one of them isn’t gonna magucally transform your squatting. You just need to make sure every rep of every set is perfect and keep adding weight to the bar.

Sets of 6 and 8 might be an idea for a while to get your conditioning and co-ordination up.[/quote]

Yes, this is right. There’s no one thing to fix; you’re just weak all over. No shame here as we were all at this stage once; just get to remedying it now.

Read articles written by powerlifters (Dave Tate, Rick Crain, etc…do some legwork) about squat technique, find a competing lifter if you can to help you, and get to work on that. Be patient, strength takes time.

But make sure you know how to squat…every rep should be identical. And lose the belt for now. When you add 100 or so pounds to your squat, invest in a good powerlifting belt.

And get appropriate shoes TODAY…or at least before you squat again.

Good luck.

I knew I could count on T nation to set me straight!

Hanley: No disrespect taken, that’s why I ask. You are correct, I’ve only been squatting (& doing deads) since April. At the risk of sound like a total noob…what to you mean high bar? I’m using a 45lb standard issue bar, set at the 5th notch down from the top in the squat rack. I have to drop down below it, then push up about 6 inches, before I back it off the supports and start my set.

I know my lifts aren’t big, but I’m working and eating hard to get some gains. Trying to get stronger and push myself with each session. I was 210lbs in Dec 2005, then dropped down to 143lbs in Dec 2006 thanks to diet and cardio. Now I’m digging in for the long journey “up the hill”.

Thanks for the pointers so far and I’ll be getting my chuck taylors as soon as my size gets in!

A couple of tips that have always helped me:

-First is to keep your body tight from beginning to end. I shouldn’t have to remind myself to do this as often as I do because when I’m good and tight, it’s amazing how much stronger I am out of the hole. For myself, staying tight has a tendency to clean up a lot of form issues such as leaning forward.

-The second is to concentrate on pressing either your neck or upper back into the bar.

Good luck!

Post a video so we can all do a better diagnostic. My guess is that leaning forward on the ascent means that your hips are rising at a faster rate than your shoulders… which means your knees are straightening, but your hips aren’t.

It is essentially putting your hips into a position for your hamstrings to be under extreme stretch so that they can good morning you into an upright position… so to me this sounds like strong hams - but weak glutes.

when he says “high bar” or "low bar’ he’s referring to where you place the bar, “high bar” would be most liely what you use, having the bar reston top the the traps almost at your neck, vs.“low bar” where the bar is held lower on your back, just above your shoulder blades

Great answers, plenty to think about and watch for. I’d say I’m more of a high bar setting. I’ll try and get a vid next leg day…my gym wasn’t too happy when I tried to get a vid of my deadlift form.

lead with the head out of the hole

pull bar down into ur back. this tightens the upper back and helps a lot with leaning forward.

use ur air to stay tight. take a big breath into your diaphram and really push ur stomach out like ur taking a dump.