T Nation

Long Legs and Leaning Forward on Squats


Hey T-nationers, I'm a 17 year old beginner who's interested on powerlifting. I'm following Stronglifts 5x5 and squatting 3x a week. My problem is leaning forward while squatting and "good morninging" the weight up. I think it's due to my relatively long legs and short torso, so how do long limbed powerlifters remedy this?

Thanks in advance


I struggled with that for a long time and it can still be an issue when the weight gets heavy. The best advice I was given was by Maraudermeat who advised me to drive my elbows under the bar so they aren't back behind the bar like a chicken wing. That helped me stay more upright and minimized the issue with my hips rising too fast. You should also work on a lot of core strength. I find when it gets heavy, I lean forward more causing my hips to rise faster. The stronger your core, the easier it is to stay upright.


does it help to widen up your stance a bit?


alexus I always squat with a wide stance (wider than shoulder width by a couple of inches) and the problem persists.


Ouroboro: thanks for your advice, but I'm confused as to how it contradicts with Dan Green's training, who is a long legged powerlifter. He explains that the lower back takes over the lift because it's stronger than the legs (short back, long legs), so he preaches that front squats solved that problem for him and strengthened his legs.

On the other hand, westside powerlifters train Good Mornings alot to emphasize not falling forward, which is congruent to your advice (GM train PC and core). Both methods worked while relying on contradictory logic. I'm confused.


Oly Shoes will help alot as well... Also another Dan Green remedy


Front squats with 500+ like Dan uses definitely strengthens the legs but also strengthens the core in a major way. Nothing contradictory, strengthening both the legs and the core should help your form.


Videos might help, too.

I have an uber-short torso and long femurs so when I low bar squat to depth my torso is almost horizontal when the bar path is fairly strictly vertical over my mid-foot. Now there is a sucky lever and my torso tends to crumple, yeah. Widening my stance more helps my torso be more upright (but that is because I don't get to sit back as much so it also makes hip drive out the hole harder). Placing the bar a little higher on my shoulders (instead of wedging it low bar good an proper) also helps. Helps my torso not need to be as strong :slightly_smiling:

(But it is surely possible I'm over-thinking)


Front squats and good mornings should both help. It seems like they are contradictory at first, but the point is they both work the muscles that keep your torso upright. The good mornings work these muscles actively while the front squats work them isometrically.


Definitely do heavy front squats. Not only will they help, they're badass.



I found that focussing on keeping my chest out, looking up slightly, and focussing on contracting my glutes (glute activations helped beforehand) helped to address this problem.


i also have a short nubby torso with loooong legs. i used to do a low bar squat and i would do squat mornings. tried widening the stance and that helped a bit. over the years i have done front squats and lots of super wide box squats to help. the last thing i did was switch to a high bar squat with the wide stance and i stay much more upright.


where the head goes, the body will follow. Video yourself with something and watch it. You'll be able to pick yourself apart and correct stuff. I've been lifting for years and when I record myself squatting I think I have my stuff together and everything feels great. Then I play back that video and can't believe what I'm looking at sometimes. Often times how things feel and look are two different things. Kind of like that chick you bring home that night of heavy drinking.... lol

It's common for beginners to start a squat from the bottom by pushing with the legs, I mean it's a squat right? haha Instead initiate the movement by driving your head back into the bar and raising your chest. I'm not saying look up at the ceiling I mean back into the bar, pretend you have a noose around your neck and someone is pulling you up. It's very likely that you are trying to squat with muscles you just don't have. I'd stop blaming shit on your body parts. No one here is perfect. Lifting is like ro-sham-bo you may be suited to be a great bencher but suck at deadlifting, etc. All this means is you have to work a bit harder to get shit done. For example I used to gripe about having "long arms". Guess what. I was a 180# skinny kid with no chest or back muscles and twig arms. Now, I suck less, 48" chest and 18" arms. Bench stroke went from being 3 miles to about 10". I didn't have "long arms" I suffered from "short chest" lol.


Thanks everybody for the helpful advice, I'll definitely lower the weight and try all of these technique fixes.
Plan: Drive elbows under bar
Widen up stance
Elevate heels (I'll consider buying the oly shoes if it made a difference)
Drive the head back into the bar
Video my self squatting and analyze

Strengthdawg: Your post was eye-opening. I am willing to put in the extra work to get my squat up, I enjoy the process.


I suffer from the same thing. Maybe I'll just get implants.


Hey man,

Good on your for squatting 3x a week at 17, that's going to build a solid base that will pay off in your 20's like you can't believe.

If your butt is rising up on the squat it's due to quad strength. Basically as you go below parallel that's where the most quad demand takes place, if your quads are weak, then your body is going to rely on your glutes and low back try to get it, this causes the forward lean.

What you need to change right away for the next 6 weeks is to FRONT SQUAT 3x a week, trust me, this one thing will build your squat form like you can't believe. it's going to be exactly what you need to coach yourself on an upright posture which will translate very well to your back squat.

google russian squat routine, it's a really good one.

Also, what will help immediately is plates under the heels, use 25's, no joke. this is going to allow your knees to travel way furrther forward allowing you to stay more upright and put more emphasis on the proper squatting muscles of the quads and glutes. Or do one better and get weightlifting shoes.

On that same topic, starting an immediate stretching and soft tissue program for your calves and ankles is going to be a great help. This is as easy as foam rolling your calves, and stacking one leg on top of the other for added pressure, as well as getting a thera stick to roll out your calves by hand, these work really well for this. Also, simple straight leg and bent leg calf stretches work great. another way is to stack 2 25's and do squats with your knees coming way way forward for a warm up.

From there make sure you stretch your hips, hamstrings, lats and pecs before squatting, loosening up those key areas realy allows you to get into proper form.

That's about it, good luck man, and post a video


i can tell you now, working on getting your knees out and externally rotating your femurs will go a LONG way, when i squat my femurs form a 150? angle almost and it's solved a lot of my problems


I hope in a good way...

check out this... there's 7 or 8 vids in this series. TONS of great stuff.


Mathew Bertrand: Thanks for the full analysis! To be honest, I'm itching to front squat cuz I wanna know how it feels to squat without leaning over. I will video myself back squatting and front squatting and if I find that my problem persists after implementing the technique fixes I will start front squatting 3x a week.

StrengthDawg: I think this series is more appropriate for geared lifters since its from elitefts, but I'll watch it just in case it has something of value for me.


Mina, where do you live in Ontario? You may want to contact a club close to you and try training with them. Get a couple of people who compete to help with technical issues. In person is the best way.

This is a link to Ontario PL clubs affiliated with the OPA (IPF) http://ontariopowerlifting.org/page.php?10