T Nation

Squat Form Flexibility or Leverage?

I’m tall with long femurs and I have the forward lean in the squat. Reading on here it seems that is related to hip flexibility. Yet I can easily sit on the groudn in the squat position if i have my hands supporting my weight, and i can sit on a low step also.

If it’s really a flexibility problem wouldnt I simply be unable to assume a full ATG squat position period? I have tight hamstrings and I have trouble forming a T due to this inflexibility, supported or not. Yet taking weight off my knees allows me to easily assume a squat with no stress at all. This is not true with any other inflexibility I know of.

It seems to me the forward lean just moves your center of gravity close to your knee joint, greatly reducing the force on it, by reducing the lever distance on that joint. I dont think it has anything at all to do with flexibility.

|…/x…|…x…/./x (x=pivot point, knee)
(centers of gravity)

A tall person has to lean forward to get the same stress as a short person does. Trading in potential knee injury for potential back injury. The body probably can weigh the relative strengths of knee vs back and naturally force a lean to distribute the risks equally. Is it really bad form, or just a bad exercise for tall people?

well to tell you the truth your post confused me a little. However, from what I can tell, you were trying to say that you have to lean forward to do a back squat since you are tall.

This is true, but has nothing to do with stresses on the knee or whatever you were trying to say. It is simply a balance issue. Tall and long-femur’ed people doing squats will necessarily have to lean over more to go “ATG.” This takes the emphasis away from the quads and uses the posterior chain.

If you’re looking for a quad excercise for tall people, try the front squat instead. This is not to say that back squats should be removed from the tall person’s routine. hope that helps.

do you lean forward by going down or when you try to go back up?

also try getting shoes with higher heels

it may just be an imbalance, which i think i have one too since the same thing happens to me

When you’re in the bottom position in a squat, the bar should be directly over the middle of your foot, and your weight should be on your heels. So the degree of forward lean depends on your body type and how high you put the bar on your back. The longer your legs relative to your torso, the more you’ll have to lean forward.

And the lower you carry the bar on your back, the more you’ll have to lean forward. There’s nothing wrong (or dangerous) with leaning forward if it keeps the bar on the right path.

What rmexico said, as i come down with the weight i have to lean forward more and more to keep it over my feet, as i come back up i straighten back up. This act of moving forward makes it easier to lean too far forward if you are not careful. It’s a big balancing act.

Actualy I’ve been sitting in the “third world squat” trying to figure out exactly what’s wierd about it. I hook my elbows around my knees and have to lean far forward. The further forward i lean the better my knees feel. After a certain point my ankles start to complain as i shift my weight towards them. So then i shift my weight back a little and my hips complain. Then i bend at the back a little to loosen up the hips and my back complains. Then i straight my back up and my knees complain. It becomes a balancing act and in around 10-15 seconds i have to get up out of the crouch due to a pain either at the back, hip, knee, or ankle, as i jostle around in the squat trying to get comfortable.

It’s just not something that comes natural for me. I think i have a right ankle flexibility issue, I don’t know though.

Two things.

1.) If you cant squat properly with Bw, and are having pain with BW, then you have no business squatting with added weight.

2.) Search the internet for the Dan John video where he teaches how to squat (i think it might be on google videos) Goblet squats might be what you need.

The Dan John video showing him hop like a frog while squatting tells me that calves are doing the support work and are fairly important in just holding a third world squat vs doing a weighted squat up and down where you do not remain in the bottom position for more than a split second.

Before I was pretty much letting the calves go dead and using the upper legs/glutes the entire time to fulcrum off the knee mostly. Noone really talks about calves much on here but it looks like they are important after all? At least having some minimum level of calf strength to keep good balance?

Hopping like a frog in a squat the way i was stabilizing with the quads/hams would pretty much instantly blow out my knee. Hopping off the heels/calves would not.