T Nation

Solving The Arch Problem


#1

I would like to be able to arch properly while squatting. I'm not sure how to go about it. I don't understand why I can't keep a proper arch.

I try to keep an arch, but when I am about to hit parallel I start rounding may lower back. The lower I go the more it rounds. I don't understand how it's supposed to be achieved.

I can arch the upper back properly in order to make a good "shelf" for support. I use a low bar position, and I squat with a medium stance. I breath in my stomach and am trying to get used to flexing it while I'm squatting, which is only a matter of practice. If I try to initiate the movement from the hips I'd say I tend to lose my arch even more easily.

Due to a lack of good camera I can't post a video.

If anyone has any good idea I'm all ears.


#2

Weak abdominals. You need to start doing weighted situps, pulldown abs, and any other weighted ab exercises you can think of. It could be partially weak lower back muscles, but my first guess is that your abs aren't strong enough to keep you upright. I like to do my abs on my lower body days, but I have no idea what kind of program you're on. Just try to hit them heavy twice a week.

Does this happen with all weights or only with heavier weights? Do you "fold" over with light warm up weights also?

Also, pulling your elbows in toward your chest (envision squeezing them inward like a high butterfly motion) will help keep your back pushed against the bar. You also should focus on keeping your head up and looking straight ahead or slightly above head height.


#3

Sound to me like you're lacking in flexibility somewhere. Read the squat article currently on the front page. Much of it directly addresses this issue. I would also suggest you learn and practice the front squat. It will force you to maintain better form.

BTW, it's not so much an "arch" but a neutral spine that you're trying to achieve. Keep your eyes and head facing forward (or a little bit upward) and learn to sit back on your heels. Stretching and box squats may be in order for you as well.
Good Luck.


#4

Sounds like a lack of flexibility in the hips and hamstrings to me.


#5

http://youtube.com/view_play_list?p=C03D688F10C4DE1F


#6

You're describing "butt wink". It's a very common problem, and it can cause a lot of lower back issues. The two best ways to overcome it are [1] to stretch your hamstrings and hip flexors A LOT and [2] to build up very strong ab and lower back muscles.

It could also be form-related. If your stance is too wide, it's hard to get deep. Make sure you're spreading your knees as far apart as you can when you're going into the hole. Also, if you're going super deep, it's virtually impossible to avoid butt wink. Rippetoe says you should stop just as your hip goes below your knee. To get any deeper, you have to relax your hamstrings, which isn't a very good idea if you have a lot of weight on your back.

You might want to try front squatting for awhile. It's much easier to maintain a lower back arch when you front squat than when you back squat. Front squats are also good because they strengthen your lower back and abs a lot.


#7

I doubt it, but it's possible. I do a lot of overhead pressing with somewhat heavy weights(5x3) and I don't have problems such as leaning back. I keep my body straight/upright, but that doesn't mean they couldn't be too weak for squats.

With any weight, every time, even when doing them Bodyweight.

I'll have to remember this.

I do this.

Will do. The sitting back on my heels will definately be strange at first, but I know it'll become second nature very quickly.

Looks like there are a lot of things I forgot/didn't know to do form-wise.

Thank you all for your tips and video, I certainly forgot about the Squats Rx. I will start doing what was suggested, add stretching everyday and before training and try to improve my form and I hope I'll come back in a month and report great squat form.