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Problem with ATG Squat

Hey guys, I recently switched over from broken form squat 245lbs to ATG squats. I started back at 135lbs and since then have hit 175lbs no problem except for one thing.

I must not be getting out of the zone (bottom position) correctly or something. Each time I lift out it seems there is this weight pushing the middle of my back down, between my ass and the barbell.

I am not sure but could it be one of the following:

  • arching my back to much
  • learning forwards to much
  • doing something wrong when lifting out of the bottom position

I will try and best describe how I perform my squats so you can have an easier time helping me out.

Once the bar is loaded, low bar position, I take a step back and then a few side nudges to position my feet.

I keep my head fairly straight, slightly looking down, but not at the floor, the wall.

I then begin to move my hips back, which in turn lower themselves until my hamstrings touch my calves. Usually I keep going a bit because the weight is heavy and well I can’t just stop dead on it’s tracks.

When I lift the weight I begin my pushing my hips up and out and try as best as I can to tighten my abs/back and push up.

So there you have it, I hope someone can help me out because I can sense as the weight increases this pain will increase just as much. It’s the main reason I dropped from 245lbs parallel broken form to 135lbs atg squats but it seems now at 175lbs atg squat I am getting the same issue.

i’m sure a video would be a lot more helpful.

what you think you’re doing or seeing in the mirror as you lift might be different than what you’re actually doing.

[quote]thekrown wrote:

When I lift the weight I begin my pushing my hips up and out and try as best as I can to tighten my abs/back and push up.

[/quote]

there is no “try as best as you can”…your back needs to be solid from the start, elbows in tight, grip close and tight. sounds to me like your back is weak and you’re losing whatever tightness you had- if any-when you hit the hole and then are trying to regain it which is next to impossible… you need to keep that arch solid from the start. if you lose it the weight will leverage you into good morning mode, which from the sounds of it is maybe where you want to be anyway…just not with so much weight for now.

anyway this is my best guess without actually seeing what you’re doing.

[quote]swivel wrote:
thekrown wrote:

When I lift the weight I begin my pushing my hips up and out and try as best as I can to tighten my abs/back and push up.

there is no “try as best as you can”…your back needs to be solid from the start, elbows in tight, grip close and tight. sounds to me like your back is weak and you’re losing whatever tightness you had- if any-when you hit the hole and then are trying to regain it which is next to impossible…

you need to keep that arch solid from the start. if you lose it the weight will leverage you into good morning mode, which from the sounds of it is maybe where you want to be anyway…just not with so much weight for now.

anyway this is my best guess without actually seeing what you’re doing.
[/quote]

I think I may be leaning into good morning mode as the weight becomes to heavy.

Sounds like a good guess, others made comments about me turning the squat into a good morning on my last post when I had this problem.

I think I should just lock the weight where I am at now and focus more on perfecting the squat form or something.

What could I do to prevent the good morning glitch? I seem to lean towards this when the weights are to heavy.

[quote]thekrown wrote:

I think I should just lock the weight where I am at now and focus more on perfecting the squat form or something

What could I do to prevent the good morning glitch? I seem to lean towards this when the weights are to heavy.[/quote]

yes most people have no idea what proper squatting feels like even without weight, so it only gets worse when they start adding it.

here’s a fifty minute video which taught me more than anything i’ve read. do this and you will learn what
it feels like and likely you will need to work at it for a while with light weight or with a dumbell until your muscles learn to hold the form. but once you get it you’ll have it forever.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-6529481301858251744

from there i would suggest front squatting exclusively for awhile to build your supporting muscles and groove the form/hold the arch.

also what’s your back like ? the reason i ask is i have a friend who races bikes and nordic skiis…he has pretty strong legs and could do big weights on the leg press but would just collapse under a 80kg squat.

really his upper body was so skinny he could’t support the weight…he did a winter of various pulling movements pullups, rows, power snatches, etc and just from adding a little muscle to his back he was squatting another 50kg with much more rigid form …anyway food for thought.

watch that vid at least 20 times.

thanks i’ll check it out

Goblet squats.

[quote]thekrown wrote:
swivel wrote:
thekrown wrote:

When I lift the weight I begin my pushing my hips up and out and try as best as I can to tighten my abs/back and push up.

there is no “try as best as you can”…your back needs to be solid from the start, elbows in tight, grip close and tight. sounds to me like your back is weak and you’re losing whatever tightness you had- if any-when you hit the hole and then are trying to regain it which is next to impossible…

you need to keep that arch solid from the start. if you lose it the weight will leverage you into good morning mode, which from the sounds of it is maybe where you want to be anyway…just not with so much weight for now.

anyway this is my best guess without actually seeing what you’re doing.

I think I may be leaning into good morning mode as the weight becomes to heavy.

Sounds like a good guess, others made comments about me turning the squat into a good morning on my last post when I had this problem.

I think I should just lock the weight where I am at now and focus more on perfecting the squat form or something.

What could I do to prevent the good morning glitch? I seem to lean towards this when the weights are to heavy.[/quote]

How tall are you? I wanted to ask that because everyone’s got it in their heads now that if you appear to be slightly forward at all, you’re doing it wrong. If you’re taller, you have to to keep the bar over where it’s supposed to be or you’d be on your ass.

Your back could definitely be an issue. I’d try incorporating any type of row or pull movement to strengthen your back.

Have you tried wearing a belt when you squat? Although many are opposed to this, it helped remind me to stay tight.

I had the same issue as you and did this:

  1. Took video of all my lifts from the side.

  2. Decreased weight and worked on form (hurts the ego but necessary).

  3. Increased the volume - a lot. Practice makes perfect.

  4. Although I understand the concept of rotating movements and try this to help, try that to help, I’m kind of old school in my way of thinking now and I think if you want your back squat to improve - you back squat.

No one has mentioned it yet but I think some heavy deads would really toughen you up(It always helped me when I hit a wall on squats). Other exercises like rows which MsM recommended or maybe even front squats(like swivel said).

[quote]Steel88 wrote:
No one has mentioned it yet but I think some heavy deads would really toughen you up(It always helped me when I hit a wall on squats). Other exercises like rows which MsM recommended or maybe even front squats(like swivel said). [/quote]

Or for us people who hate front squats, zercher’s work as well:)

[quote]MsM wrote:
Steel88 wrote:
No one has mentioned it yet but I think some heavy deads would really toughen you up(It always helped me when I hit a wall on squats). Other exercises like rows which MsM recommended or maybe even front squats(like swivel said).

Or for us people who hate front squats, zercher’s work as well:) [/quote]

It’s pretty hard, for me at least, to get into a rock bottom Zercher position. Bar sort of gets in the way.