T Nation

Squat Form: Low Back Injury on 2nd Rep


You can see me shoot forward at the bottom of the second rep -- I felt a painful pop in my lumbar region just before then.

I have spent a decent amount of time attempting to improve my form with healthy doses of Tate, Cressey, Robertson, and Stuart McGill, but clearly I am not there yet.

I'd say my biggest uncertainty involves core tightness and trying to incorporate all of the concepts I have come across. In particular, I am a little confused with how to tighten my abdominals while at the same time keeping my lower back arch tight. These seems like competing moves, sort of like flexing triceps and biceps at the same time.

Any glaring form weaknesses/advice?


Hi there, please show your feet so I can see your foot mechanics. also can you take the time to rotate the video?


Apologies for the sideways video.

Here is another video of me squatting a few days earlier. This shows my feet a little better. Not great, but given the back injury, I can't exactly take any more videos right now.

Thanks for your help.


Injury was on the second rep.


And the slightly older video showing my feet a little better.


Ok, the bar on the bottom is annoying, but I can clearly see that you are only following the form, but not engaging your glutes. your feet are relaxed and the weight pushes your feet into dorsiflexion.

Your feet needs to be in this mode in order to engage the glutes.


??? How can the ankles not go into dorsi flexion while squatting to parallel without a wall behind you to lean against (or incredibly long shins, and short femurs)? If you meant that his feet pronate/arches collapse inwards and need to remain supinated/arches engaged which is also accompanied/accomplished by "pushing the knees out", then ok.

I cannot view the videos ATM (they don't load on my phone), so I can't give you (the OP) any specific advice about how to adjust your squat form or what you may have done to lead to your injury.


Sentoguy, try replicate what you see on the video, see if you can. the same mechanism that activate the glutes is the same mechanism that locks down the ankle.

Replacement, do you feel your glutes hardened(engaged) when you squat down and up? or you feel more of your quad doing the work?


If you take a look at the video you got injured, you can clearly see that your knee went forward, the ankle between your foot and your knee was pushed very very close. this is "forced" dorsiflexion, the weight at this point is all on your quad and back instead of glutes.


What you seem to be demonstrating is unclear. Is there supposed to be sound in the video?

The ankle is supposed to dorsi flex during squats; Dorsiflexion does not in any way diminish Glute activation.


In the injury video, my knees definitely shoot forward. However, the major move forward on the 2nd rep occurred just after my back popped. So, that ugly move was a response to the injury, not the cause. Not sure if this is the only rep where you think there is too much dorsiflexion though.

I was definitely concentrating on keeping my knees out and also sitting back (hips break first).


Yes, of use the audio.

I disagree, when you are forced by the weight to dorsiflex, you are not in the glutes engaged mode, that's where most people over look. Try and replicate what I m demonstrating see if you can first.


OK, when you stand with the weight on your shoulders, did you try to engage your glutes before you squat down? or you didn't do anything just sat down. [that's a huge difference]
I am guessing the latter, your glutes need to be activated before you squat down, and is through the foot, I have press map data to prove this.

see here http://www.secret-of-athleticism.com/pressure-map-data/

When you just stand in the neutral state, your glutes is not activated. you can't just follow the form alone. that's why most people can't do it right.


Ok, listened to it.

Still disagree. The collapsing of the knees inwards represents the arches collapsing and inactive glutes, no disagreement there. But the glutes can be activated just as strongly when the ankles are dorsi flexed as when they are neutral. You are confusing ankle pronation/collapsing of foot arch with dorsi flexion.


dorsiflexion is the ability to move your toe towards your shin, when the ankle between your foot and shin is less than 90 degree, this is
in a dorsiflexion state. You cannot possibly engage your glutes in this state, I have pressure map to prove this.

There is only one way to engage the glutes which is through the feet.

My question is if you believe that when your feet are in the dorsiflexed state, you can still use glutes, can you show me how you can perform plyometric exercise with this state?

and I m very curios to hear this, are you able to replicate what I have shown on the video? on demonstration #1


A little confused about the warnings against dorsiflexion... Seems like dorsiflexion is the standard for pretty much all Olympic squatters. Furthermore, lack of ankle mobility is even specifically highlighted by Robertson, Cressey, etc as an issue squatters should address.

Thoughts? Sento?



the evidence is right in front of you, can you replicate what I have done in my video to lock the ankle? if not, is it possible that there is something missing? something that people over looked over the years?


For my final proof, I am going to show two videos, one individual uses the "regular people" dorsiflexed foot technique to jump

the other use my technique to lock the ankle and engage the glutes? can you clearly see the performance difference?


Without dorsiflex (always 90degree between shin and foot)with glutes engaged.


without dorsiflexion and glutes engaged.