T Nation

Lean to One Side and Forward During Squat


#1

I've had this issue for awhile - once I get to around 50% of my 1RM back squat, I start leaning onto my left leg and pushing with my right coming up. If I consciously focus on overcompensating, it usually gets better up until around 65-70%, where the leaning happens no matter what I do. Once it gets heavy enough, I also start tipping forward (you can somewhat see it in this video). I've tried switching to front squats, doing goblet squats and focusing on pushing my right knee out. They've all seemed to help mostly minimally. What do you think is the main issue here? My feeling is that I've got glute weakness on the left that the right leg is compensating for, and perhaps reduced mobility in the right hip? Is my entire posterior chain just weak? If I could pin down where the dysfunction is, it would be a lot easier to fix.


#2

When doing goblet squats, are you focusing on getting your hips, abs and lats involved? Or are you doing them just to push your right knee out? Those goblet squats eventually need to be pushed to something relatively heavy in order to continue building your hips. Eventually the weight needs to be heavy enough to force you to really fight the tendency to lose stability.

The first issue I see with the above technique is that it looks like your lower back is hyper extended. To fix it you have to work on breathing techniques and learn to brace your abs hard. Find as many articles as you can on this topic from reputable coaches and athletes to learn how you can improve on this. Chris Duffin and Chad Smith have many articles and videos on this.

Check out this thread for a similar issue:


#3

I had a similar problem. It goes away after warming up for me, as it might be the case for you. Otherwise, you’d probably do yourself justice by stretching out your hips and glutes. While warming up, if you can feel yourself gravitate to the one side, focus on getting a symmetrical “feeling”, per say. As a foreword, this was something that I stressed about over and over again but eventually sorted itself out so I wouldn’t be too concerned; just pay some mind to it and it’ll most likely get better with time.


#4

It looks like the right knee is swaying in while the left knee stays more or less in position. Focus on pushing both knees out and this may help with the uneven squat situation.


#5

It’s not unusual to have one leg (or arm) slightly longer than the other, that could be part of it. Also, one leg might be stronger than the other. Some single leg work like split squats or lunges, or even single leg leg press could help, just don’t push the stronger leg harder than the weaker one or you won’t fix the imbalance. I used to have a messed up left arm from an old injury, that’s the kind of strategy I used to even things out.


#6

One other thing I forgot to mention is your shoes. It looks like you’re wearing Nike Frees. If so, get shoes with better grip and support - something that has very little give. It should feel like your shoes are rooted into the ground when you squat so that you can push out and screw your feet into the ground. If you are unable to do this, you won’t be able to use your hips well. You need to drive your hips forward instead of letting it shoot up and back. Soft shoes will prevent you from doing this effectively.


#7

[quote]szzz12 wrote:
I’ve had this issue for awhile - once I get to around 50% of my 1RM back squat, I start leaning onto my left leg and pushing with my right coming up. If I consciously focus on overcompensating, it usually gets better up until around 65-70%, where the leaning happens no matter what I do. Once it gets heavy enough, I also start tipping forward (you can somewhat see it in this video). I’ve tried switching to front squats, doing goblet squats and focusing on pushing my right knee out. They’ve all seemed to help mostly minimally. What do you think is the main issue here? My feeling is that I’ve got glute weakness on the left that the right leg is compensating for, and perhaps reduced mobility in the right hip? Is my entire posterior chain just weak? If I could pin down where the dysfunction is, it would be a lot easier to fix.[/quote]

This is a very common problem known as a left AIC pattern. Essentially, due to overuse of a chain of muscles across your left trunk, pelvis, and femur, the left half of your pelvis is anteriorly tipped, causing your entire pelvis to abduct and rotate to right. So as of now, your pelvis is “twisted” in three planes of motion, leaving your left femur abducted and exteriorly rotated and your right femur adducted and interiorly rotated. You need to realize that currently, it is IMPOSSIBLE for you to create symmetrical movement through your trunk and lower extremities because the 3 bones and 6 joints of your pelvis are not in their proper positions.

While treatment can be a fairly involved process, progress can happen quickly and you should notice (at least) acute improvements after a single session of treatment. Find a Postural Restoration Institute (PRI) certified physical therapist, as they will be able to quickly identify and begin treating the issue. It is unlikely that someone without PRI training and certification will be able to help you, and even less so that you will be able to work this out on your own.


#8

[quote]TrevorLPT wrote:

This is a very common problem known as a left AIC pattern. Essentially, due to overuse of a chain of muscles across your left trunk, pelvis, and femur, the left half of your pelvis is anteriorly tipped, causing your entire pelvis to abduct and rotate to right. So as of now, your pelvis is “twisted” in three planes of motion, leaving your left femur abducted and exteriorly rotated and your right femur adducted and interiorly rotated. You need to realize that currently, it is IMPOSSIBLE for you to create symmetrical movement through your trunk and lower extremities because the 3 bones and 6 joints of your pelvis are not in their proper positions.

[/quote]

This, to an extent. My guess is you are right hand/leg dominant? It even looks like you have your right foot further back than your left when you set up.

Try this, grab a heavy kettle/dumbbell in your right hand and walk a straight line without leaning excessively to compensate. Then try the same thing with the weight in your left hand. My guess is you will start to do some funky stuff and it will be much harder with the weight on the left side. If this is the case you need to bring up the imbalance by getting the right side of your “trunk” stronger.

1 arm farmers walks/ suitcase carries.
cable trunk twists
suitcase deadlifts


#9

[quote]Alrightmiami19c wrote:

[quote]TrevorLPT wrote:

This is a very common problem known as a left AIC pattern. Essentially, due to overuse of a chain of muscles across your left trunk, pelvis, and femur, the left half of your pelvis is anteriorly tipped, causing your entire pelvis to abduct and rotate to right. So as of now, your pelvis is “twisted” in three planes of motion, leaving your left femur abducted and exteriorly rotated and your right femur adducted and interiorly rotated. You need to realize that currently, it is IMPOSSIBLE for you to create symmetrical movement through your trunk and lower extremities because the 3 bones and 6 joints of your pelvis are not in their proper positions.

[/quote]

This, to an extent. My guess is you are right hand/leg dominant? It even looks like you have your right foot further back than your left when you set up.

Try this, grab a heavy kettle/dumbbell in your right hand and walk a straight line without leaning excessively to compensate. Then try the same thing with the weight in your left hand. My guess is you will start to do some funky stuff and it will be much harder with the weight on the left side. If this is the case you need to bring up the imbalance by getting the right side of your “trunk” stronger.

1 arm farmers walks/ suitcase carries.
cable trunk twists
suitcase deadlifts
[/quote]

It is much more likely that her left abdominal wall is weaker/ lengthened. This is because of the compromised (anteriorly tipped) position of the left hemipelvis and the relative weakness of the left leaflet of the diaphragm putting greater respiration demands on the right side of her body. I’d actually expect to see or feel a left rib flair given the strength of her pattern.

In the video, you can see that she is side-bending to the right as a compensation for her lack of right hip adbuction. This further contributes to a stronger abdominal wall on the right, although it is not the primary cause.