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Should My Upper Back Be Straight When Squatting?

Noticed my upper back rounds a bit, what should i do to fix it https://drive.google.com/file/d/1D49jvXXlgRbk26_EZuW79DFkHz0P94A-/view?usp=drivesdk

Video wont play… probably a sign your not staying tight


The best cue I’ve gotten for that is “keep your chest up,” although in some people that just causes them to hyperextend their lumbar spine and doesn’t help as much as it hurts.

My recommendation is to do some upper back work (face pulls, pullups, overhead squats, rear delt flys). That should (and will) increase your upper back strength if you do it right. For upper back exercises, IMO, mind-muscle connection is very important as well

Squeeze oranges in your armpits and make a double chin.

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I don’t think it should be rounded but if you have lots of muscle it might look a bit convex.

I don’t really have a cue but it helps to have someone grab your shoulders and elbows and put them into place so you can really feel what a tight back set up is like than repeat that every time you get under the bar.

If it feels light and stable on your back you did it right. If it’s opposite like wobbly then you know what not to do. Your back should be tight throughout the whole squat also especially into and out of the hole.

is there a reason you’re squatting so deep?

Tried some of the advice here, could it be an issue with ankle mobility. Still not happy with the squat, and exercises that could help? https://drive.google.com/file/d/19-9NKBLLZ9UtIEdTEqUvcQATCg48VVwV/view?usp=drivesdk

In my opinion your entire back should be straighter.

Mark mentioned the double chin and squeezing oranges in the arm pits to lock in your upper back and tighten your lats to keep your back straight. Definitely look into that. You can see your elbows rotate forward or back and your back round or straighten as they move. Figure out how to lock all that stuff in place. Maybe something useful in here.

I don’t know about ankle mobility, but your right foot/ankle/leg is all over the place, preventing you from getting your hips locked into place and braced. This restricted hip kinda problem is super common. Try to roll out or stretch out or release your TFL or Glute mediums or piriformis (like your whole hip and side-ass) on your right side. See if this allows you to plant your foot and get your hips right.

Will do, tried squats without the belt and they were much better. Still with the right foot moving but the back was much straighter. Thanks.

Heard it hits the glutes and hamstrings better, being a rugby player I assumed it would help.

Will take into account, thanks.

Will do, thanks.

Recently started chinups, will do more work. Thanks.

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There are tradeoffs for going so deep. 1 is that it might be the cause of your inability to come out of the hole without that forward lean. I really don’t like the way this squat looks. If you’re going to squat that deep, you need to work hard to keep your torso more upright on the way up. Can you hold a better position when you lighten the load?

The other tradeoff is that you have to work with lighter weights. So the added benefit is perhaps a little nebulous. Olympic weightlifters squat deep regularly because they have to catch the bar in a very low position. Powerlifters generally only go to right about parallel, as that is what is necessary in their sport. Athletes in other sports have to figure out what works best for them. So that’s why I asked. You can get incredible strong, including your hamstrings and glutes, without going THIS deep. But if you want to keep that kind of mobility, that’s also a thing to consider.

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To echo @flipcollar I remember a video with Ed Coan who said that now he doesn’t compete, he doesn’t care if he squats just to parallel.

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I cut reps short of parallel pretty frequently these days. If I’m working with 300+ for sets of 10+, I don’t necessarily want to bottom out every squat.

One of my favorite things to do, though, is bottom out either the first or last rep of a set, with a long pause to get that stretch without having to do it for every rep. If it’s a fairly light set, I might even do both. So for instance, a couple days ago I was doing 315 for sets of 10. I bottomed out the first and last rep for 3-5 second pauses, and then the other 8 reps were either right at parallel or short of it.


For the record I dont normally give form advice via video… so im breaking my own policy!

Well I got the video to run …
Not what I though the issue was…
you have the same issue my oldest has.
My opinion you dont need to go beyond this depth for the benefit your looking for.

I also would suggest playing around with widening your stance slightly.

I dont think so… plus the elevated heels would help with that

Listen to this man…

part of whats is going on IMO is that bar is drifting away from your center of gravity as you sink deeper.

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A couple of suggestions:

  1. Listen to @flipcollar.
  2. Try a wider stance. Play with foot position some. It looks like your knees are going all over the place. I’m not saying you have to go full out wide stance, but one way to help stabilize your knees is to make it where you can push out and spread the floor. I’ve personally never felt my posterior chain firing great in narrower stance squats, but that might just be me.
  3. One way to keep your chest up is to keep your eyes on the horizon. Not everyone does this, but it’s something to try. Don’t look up- straight ahead.
  4. Cue pushing your back into the bar when coming out of the hole. Don’t push up with your legs or your ass will start to outrun your chest. When you hit the hole, spread the floor as hard as you can and push your back into the bar.
  5. Try box squatting. You can play with the height, but box squats are great at teaching the pattern.
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