T Nation

How Not to Squat ATG

This was me in October of 07 after lifting seriously for about 6 months or so. I bought into the blind ATG Nazi cult that seemed to hold sway over some forums at the time, and this was how I squatted.

Gah, I want to delete this video and forget that it ever happened but I figured that some people might benefit from seeing it so it remains on my youtube account.

This is as they say “buttwink” which is the lower back rounding when hitting depth in the squat. This is akin to rounding in the deadlift, which is obviously something that should be avoided at all costs.

Hip mobility is the answer.


I’m a little older and a little smarter now, and I just hit 3 plates in the low bar back squat a month or so ago.

Bottom line is, squat as low as you can without rounding and stay there and slowly increase your mobility until you can squat properly.

Vids of your corrected squat?

I max in 3 weeks, I’ll definitely have it up then along with all my other lifts.

how badly did you get injured?

Not at all, but I was on the path to be.

I’m guilty as well.

I tend to get my ASIS pinching up against my upper quads forcing my pelvis to roll underneath me.

Doesn’t seem to matter what corrections or cues I give myself.

PS good post

Thanks you so much for those links. It seems fairly clear to me that my hip mobility is lacking. I only recently started doing squats and managed to strain my back about a week ago largely because my back rounding when trying to get depth.

These exercises should prove really useful.

foam roll and release your glutes, will fix that nicely

The “danger” of the tail rounding is a myth.

I started squatting ATG a few years ago when Charles Poliquin advised me to. I asked him about “rounding” and he laughed and said. “That’s bullshit. I’ve been training people with ATG squats for 20+ years and never had even one back injury from it.”

So after following his advice for the last few years (I’m fast twitch so heavy singles and triples are standard fare for me) I can back him up - I’ve never had a problem.

Awesome gym.

Thanks for those links. Going to try and fix mine.

I actually didn’t think the OP form was bad at all really. Maybe keeping the chest pushed out more would help keep the body more erect and not create the round.

Don’t over think the squat, learn safely and then just do it. Like someone else said, I have been squatting for over 20 years also, and nare an injury in my life from it. Only hurt myself deadlifting due to ego, and learned to check it.

That first video of the OP looked a little rounded, but not that badly rounded.

The trainer in those squat RX videos looks like he goes from an arch to a neutral spine. I would hardly call that rounded.

Great post. That second link was extremely helpful.

The second link is fucking gold, thanks alot. I think you can hurt your back more by deadlifting than squatting…unless your squat becomes a good morning.

edit: Holy shit.

I see more back injuries on the squat than the deadlift, and it is always a form issue with a big forward lean.

I find everyone rounds their lower back either due to flexibility or not keeping a proper chest up position when squatting and they tend to look at the floor rather than straight ahead or slightly up.