T Nation

Legs & Height

Hi, I’m new to this web site. I find it very informative. Anyway I’m 6’5" 190lbs about 10% BF decent upperbody and bad legs. I have a weak lower back and I’ve injured my back 3 times doing squats. I’m looking for an answer to either replace squats or a better way to do them. Know matter how hard I try my knees always go over my toes. I’m looking to build them. I currently do leg presses, one legged squats with back foot on the bench, leg extensions, and leg curls. I also run for about 10 mins. twice a week. Any help will be greatly appreciated. Thanks

Scott…Box Squats. Ck. out the online article by Dave Tate on, “How to Squat 900 lbs”. Box Squats teach you how to “sit back” into the squat, improving form and confidence. As far as your back…you need to keep “tight” as you are squatting. No sway in any direction. Box Squats will help in this area also, reducing the “question” in your mind as to “am I going deep enough”?..“is my form good”? etc…

Okay i gonna try to be nice cause chris asked to be nice, but why does no one read the f%@#&*^% articles. Please look at Dave Tates articles on squating and box squating, you are tall enough you can probably use a bench to squat off of, second, as far as your back problems are concerned are you doing in low back movement to bring up your weak area, try light sets of hyperextentions, reverse hypers, pull throughs, and when you get more advanced good mornings and russian deadlifts.

Why is it a problem for your knees to go over your toes? Where else are they going to go? Do you think that you have to keep your shins perpendicular to the floor? This is the reason you’re back seems “weak”. You have to bend foreward more when you keep your shins perpendicular…this puts A LOT more pressure on your spine. A low bar, wide stance powerlifting style squat uses this technique but, as i said, it does put considerable strain on the low back. Try a shoulder width stance with your toes pointing out slightly…look at a spot on the wall directly in front of you and keep your eyes on that spot throughout the movement (don’t look up and overarch your back as some people recommend)…keep a slight arch in the back. Keep your core (back and abs) rigid all the way through the movement. Don’t use a belt. Start light until your form is perfect then move up slowly in weight concentrating on keeping good form. Stop doing leg presses and leg extensions. Keep doing one leg squats. Learn to deadlift (may be more effective for your height and will strengthen your back). Stop “running” a couple of times a week and start doing “sprint” workouts (look up the 50 yard dash article by TC in an early issue of T-mag). Search the archives for descriptions and pictures of proper squat form so that you get an idea of what you should be doing. BTW I’m 6’4" tall so I can relate to the difficulty in maintaining proper squat form at your height. P.S. keep reading T-mag.

Question, do you do tibialis anterior and hamstring work? If you don’t, you might have a muscle imbalance and your hamstrings and tibialis may not be able to stabilize you in the lower portion of the squat.

Also what stretches do you do prior to squatting? If your hips are tight you won’t be able to squat low enough. I pulled a ligament once because of that very thing.

Allowing the weight / bar to be in front of the knees is a no-no. Plenty of “shearing” on the knees. With light weight it may be ok, but anything over 50% of 1 RM could be troublesome.

Practising Good Mornings with PERFECT form gives a unique strengthening and coordination learning of how the back and hips move in the SQ/DL in addition to the box SQ. They are heavy on your lower back however, slow progression of weights advised. GM teaches to keep back fixed while the angle of the torso changes and the hips make the weight move.

Scott, I’m 6’7" and on my 18th birthday I weighed 139#. Now, 10 years on, I weigh 290. Its all in the legs. Firstly, a lot of tall guys have problems in the lower back. Stretch the lower back and hip flexors to help here (Been there before). And, as the others have said, add some good mornings (and reverse hypers, if possible). Also, increase the amount of pulling (deadlifts and cleans) you do. This will help your hips generate more power for the squat.
The one legged squats are excellent. Add some front squats and learn to back squat properly and you’ll do well.

I’d like to thank everyone for responding. krakkerz, you have givin me hope. When I was 18 I was 150#. I thought I had no chance for legs. Thanks. I’m quite interested in the 50 yard dash. I read the article and I’m going to give it a shot.

As a fellow 6’5"er…I have one thing to say STRETCH! I used to blow out my back as well until I took the martial arts and learned how to stretch…since then I squat twice a week for the last 3 years with no issues. Lay on your back…legs six inches off the ground, bring one leg to your chest and hold. Then bring that ankle to your opposite knee and push that knee down to the side. Repeat with the other leg. Then bring both legs up to a 90 degree angle, and twist your legs to bring the knees towards the floor on the right side, then the left. Repeat this two more times, throw in a butterfly stretch (Used to pull my groin squatting on occasion…) Throw in a cobra stretch for good measure…and off you go!

I herniated a disc in the $@#!%^ Smith machine last year, since my gym has no regular squat cage. Sighhhh. I really like one-legged squats with one foot up behind me on a low support. I use a 3010 tempo most of the time and do sets of 15-20 on one leg at a time, no rest between legs. If you place your working foot far enough forward, your knee won’t go past your toes. If the rear foot is low enough, you can take the squat very deep. If you can do these without steadying yourself on an object, it is excellent for developing balance on 1 foot. You can also hold a dumbbell in the arm on the same side as the working leg for more resistance. I also like seated leg press where your hips bear the weight on a pad, not your shoulders, and I use a wide stance. - Nylo