T Nation

Should I Give Up On Squats?


#1

I repeatedly tried to learn to squat but have always failed. I thought I had finally learned it but realized later my form was atrocious. I’ve lost confidence that I’ll ever have the proper mobility to squat. Should I just give up on at all together. How much more practice do I need to get even a decent squat?

My problem is that I lean forward every time I squat and end up in my tippy-toes. I don’t know how to squat and put pressure on my heels. It seems physically impossible to me.


#2

No, you don’t ever give up on a lift because you’re bad at it. Post a video of your squat. You could also try box squats to learn to squat properly.


#3

You may need some special work, without a bar on your shoulders, to strengthen your legs and hips.

Stuff like step ups or lunges to build quads. Maybe hack squats?

RDL’s, or back raises really using your glutes and hams, or dumbbell stiff leg deadlifts for your backside.

I am doing a bunch of sled drags now to work my legs without my back taking over.


#4

Have you tried squatting with your heels elevated? (either with a plank of wood, oly shoes or some plates etc) that wouldn’t fix your mobility issue, though it would probably enable you to squat nice and deep without tipping forward until you fix your mobility issues.


#5

Just keep working on it. Post a video too, preferably side-on. Almost everyone can squat, it just takes longer for some.

Based solely on what you describe, it sounds like you descend by pushing your knees forward and leaning forward. The correct descent is broadly sitting back and/or down while pushing your knees out.


#6

Try some bodyweight squats with some PVC pipe. Practice wiggling your toes as you do it to help your body sit back.

Do not try wiggling your toes with a loaded bar.


#7

Video!

Do not give up!


#8

Try doing goblet squats with anything between 10-20lb. Have someone see what happens while you do this if you can.

See if the same thing happens.

Another thing I would really suggest holding onto something (I liked a door or a pole) and then just squat down and hold the position for anything from 20sec-1 minute. Do this multiple sets. Ideally you’ll see an increase in depth and stability as you go along with your sets.


#9

Start with raised heels (use weights or a block or something) and wrap a heavy band around your waist.

Squat down while leaning back.

Depending how raised your heels are you should be able to squat right down. If not, raise your heels higher.

Keep doing your agile 8s, over time use lighter bands and lower your heels. Eventually you’ll be able to squat right down without assistance (but that is not necessary to squat)


#10

Yes, raising the heels seems to be helping. I guess I’ll do that for now and work on the mobility issues in the meantime.

Do squat shoes raise your heel?


#11

Yeah, I lean forward and my knees end up point out rather than being inline with my toes. If I try to sit back when I descend I end up tipping backwards and landing on my butt. Fortunately, when that happened the weight on th bar was very light.


#12

Giving up? No way mate. This is not an option.

When you think to quit on something, you have to remember the reason you start it. Focus on the right position of your body with no weigths at all, later start to add some weights and do the same thing through time.

Start with low weights, focus more on the movement. Keep working on that and when you will feel confidence enough with the movement, go for more …

Good luck …


#13

What are you trying to get out of lifting generally and squatting in particular?


#14

Yes. Exactly. You still need to work on your mobility issues… BUT

Exhibit A

Exhibit B


#15

As always when people are struggling to learn the full squat, I suggest zombie squats with either an empty bar or a lighter broomstick or something (front squat with arms out in front).

Try them for an hour and I bet you’ll get damn close to a perfect full squat. If not, start with aggressive mobility work and high rep leg press for the first few weeks, then try again.

Also, include some kind of glute activation before you squat (glute bridges would be ideal), and remember the golden rule of lifting: hold your breath and get TIGHT by pushing your abs out and ribcage down.

Best of luck!