T Nation

More Squat Technique Queries


Its pathetic that I've been working on doing a proper squat for literally a year and I still can not get it done. Anyways, I've used the search function and found answers to my questions, but the answers vary and contradict eachother.
First off, i am 6"4, long femurs (no excuse to get low some say, is an excuse others say)

  • When i go low, my heels come up and i am on my toes. Some say its a lack of ankle mobility, others say its hip mobility and others say its just bad build and to put a plate under my heels
  • I've tried putting plates under my heels and it works well, i can squat low and keep good form.

Are heels elevated acceptable, or is there no reason physiologically why i shouldn't be able to get my arse low with flat heels?

I've tried all the hip mobility drills you can think of, to no avail, yet i see people crouch in the 'frog position' with a low arse and flat heels and wonder how the hell they can do it. When i crouch down heels elevate, and if i lean back to flatten them i either fall over or rise up to just above parallel and feel like my quadriceps are going to rip my leg in half

Any experienced advice would be welcomes, this is getting mighty discouraging.


Wider stance, toes out. Tried that?


then i either fall over or rise up to just above parallel and feel like my quadriceps are going to rip my leg in half

I think you identified your own problem. Mobility is most likely your issue. Just try to stretch damn near

everything on your lower body. My main issue was hip mobility and i had to do some split squat stretching,

and that really helped.

I had to keep this up for about two weeks until even getting into a full squat was painless. I was also

recovering from knee surgery so hopefully it'll be easier for you



made for you ^^

when you're low in the squat position, make sure you use your elbows to push your knees outwards, really open the hips up.

ankle and hip mobility do take time, ive been through the same thing. make sure you're also stretching lower body muscles, and working on thoracic mobility (helps keep your chest up!) and foam rolling too. and not just 3-4 times a week, id do mobility drills, stretches and foam rolls everyday, sometimes twice a day. itll work, it just takes time.


I posted this recently in another thread, but in addition to stretching, you can try doing goblet squats to help groove the feel of a proper deep squat. Pause each rep at the bottom and really work on pushing your knees out on the descent.

As for stretching, pay particular attention to your hip flexors, hamstrings, calves, and IT bands.


Plate under heel is acceptable. Oly-lifting shoes provide similar elavation, the main difference is that oly-shoes are flat on the bottom, and despite the raised heel, provide an incredibly stable surface to squat off of. With a plate under your heels, you'll be fine, but I'd highly advise figuring something else out before you start pushing 3+ plates for reps.

Here's how I developed the flexibility to squat: I loaded up a 45 on either side of the bar, got under it, unracked it, gripped the floor with my toes, sat back and down until I was hanging out at the very bottom position I could hold without tipping over. Then I held the isometric post for a count of five. If I could then get lower, I would. Otherwise, I came up. I did three sets of five reps like that each 3x/week.

At first you only get a little above parallel. Then you get to parallel. If you want to, stop at parallel. Ain't nothing wrong with parallel. Or you keep going. I was squatting ATG in six, maybe eight workouts.

EDIT: FWIW, While I'm 6'3", I have a 30" in-seam, which correlates to short, stubby legs. Kind of.


A few bullet point suggestions:
-Goblet Squats will help tremendously!
-Ankle mobility is important, as is hip mobility..... Work on both.
-DeFranco's Agile Eight - http://www.defrancostraining.com/ask_joe/archives/ask_joe_08-10-03.html (this will take care of a lot of the mobility issues if you do it religiously)
-Being a taller lifter myself..... I do much better with a lower bar position on my back. Play around, see what works for you.
-Use light weight to start, dont let your ego take over. If you cant squat correctly with just the bar, do you really think you should be adding weight????
-Build up the weight gradually as you progress.
-Starting Strength by Rippetoe (Read it!)

Hope some of that helps!