T Nation

Squat Help


#1

Hi everyone,

For the past few weeks I have been practicing doing full squats (and stretching). The "Ass to Grass" kind (I want Thunder-ous Thighs :wink:. I have been having problems with my feet position when I go down too far. When I start to drop just below parallel, my right foot starts to turn outward. My left foot stays in position, however. I am doing narrow stance, feet facing straight ahead and flat on the floor squats. Can anyone help me figure out my weekness here?

Also, when I do the squat flat footed (heels not raised), I have a real problem getting my ass down so far with out fall backwards. What does this mean? Can I correct it? However, when I put my heels on a couple 5lb plates, no problem what so ever except my right foot still tries to point outward when I go down, just not as much.

No one at my gym knows how to squat like T-Dawgs so it's pretty hopeless to get help or a crtique of my form. Unless there is a fellow T-Dawg in Stillwater, OK?

I would appreciate any help.

Thanks,
Chris


#2

Point the toes out somewhat, and work on ankle flexibility.


#3

Yeah, your flexibility is limited. And you should probably position your feet at the same angles as you would when standing normally.
Maybe you are using too much weight, as well, if you cannot go down that low with proper form. You should be totally symmetric at all times - both legs should do equal amount of work.


#4

Stretch out your calves by doing some very heavey seated calf raises while really accentuating the negative portion to get a good stretch. A few sets should get you loose enough to not fall over. BTW in refference to Thunderous quads, I was just curious are ass-to-the-floor style squats what Thunder reccomends?


#5

I was practicing today with just the bar. So, maybe I can't squat the bar? Seems pretty hard to believe. I am small, but damn, that seems just too little weight.


#6

I had a problem getting low for awhile.

I began to stretch out my calves and my shins prior to squats.

It helped me immensely in getting my ass all the way down.

Mark


#7

"I have a problem going ass to floor without falling backwards".

That statement bothers me more than your foot turning out.

My question is where is your head when you are squating? Is it remaining erect? Where are you looking as you squat?


#8

OK, let me add some details here. I was practicing squatting today with just the bar. I really want to learn to get my "Ass to the Grass" as you guys put it. I can easily get past parallel without problems. This is with my feet straight ahead and less then shoulder width.

ZEB: Part of the problem with me falling backwards might have been the fact I was trying to see myself in the mirror(s). When I usually squat and not watch myself (i.e. practice with very very light weights or none at all) I keep my chest/head up focusing on something in front of me.

I feel I can easily get as low as the guy in the video on the BioMechanics site (http://www.bsu.edu/webapps/strengthlab/home.htm). But unless I am misinterpreting you guys, he is not "Ass to Grass" squatting. At least it does not look it to me.

I usually stretch for about 10-15 minues before I squat. Really stretching my calves, hams, and thighs. I noticed it helps greatly with getting down. But I feel I am missing something or have a weakness I need to fix. Kinda hoping you guys can help me troubleshoot it.

BTW, I do think my ankles have poor flexibility. Is there any way to test to see if they are not flexible enough? How can I improve them?

Also, is it ok to point my feet out some when squatting? The descriptions I read say to have feet straight ahead. I definitly feel it more (in my quads especially) that way. But my bloody right foot just keeps turning. I occasionally stop and re-align it in the middle of a set.

What about using a pair of 5lb plates under my heels? I think I read somewhere on this forum/site that doing that made it more emphasis on quads and less on the hams and glutes. That is what I don't want. If it's true. Since the squat is my main exercise for my legs.

Tomorrow is squat day. So if there is any testing that needs to be done I can do it and let you guys know.

Chris


#9

Wideguy: This is my inspiration to learn to full squat properly:

http://t-forums.t-mag.com/readTopic.do?id=297515

Thunder-ous Thighs! Oh baby! Someday that'll be me, oh yes, someday :slight_smile:

Cheers,
Chris


#10

I think the problem may be your narrow stance. Normally to do a full squat you need to have your feet planted slightly wider than your shoulders with your feet pointed slightly outward. With a narrow stance it is hard to do a proper full squat because your belly, which should be filled with stabilizing air, is pushing against the upper part of your quads. This will cause balance problems. Try the wider stance. It will give your stomach room to do its work.


#11

Thanks! I did notice that the farthest I could go down comfortably was until my thighs hit my chest/stomach area. Is that far enough? It is below parallel. I ask because I really feel it in my quads when my feet are closer together. Can barely walk after sets sometimes (I love that feeling) and the next day I am bloody sore. It feels good, real good :slight_smile:

When I put my feet wider, I don't really feel it, or at least not as much. I will try it and see if it helps.

Chris


#12

b3b0p, the angle your feet point out just shows how your legs grew.

You really notice this in downhill skiing, but also in other sports. Some people are just made with feet that naturally point straight ahead, and some are not.

Angle your feet however it works best for you, the whole point is to place the load on the large muscle and not let the little ones interfere.

As far as wider stances, that just works the inner thigh side more with the wider you go.


#13

If foot externally rotates on decent you have:
Short: soleus, lateral gastroc.
Long: Posterior tibialis, medial gastroc.


#14

A trick I read somewhere, I think it is a westside thing is to spread the floor with the feet. Seems to help. described it to an old tough as nails coot and he taught me to spread the bar with my hands. Not over doing it, but just a good amount of tension. Seems to help my upper back remember to stay tight.


#15

Boss14: What does that mean? You make it sound like I am cursed.


#16

Antiliberal is probably right about wide stance squats. However, I am not advocating a very wide stance. I am advocating what I understand is the standard foot positioning for a squat, which is slightly wider than your shoulders. I can assure you from the soreness I have experienced, the quads are getting hit.


#17

He's just talking about the muscles in your lower leg. Gastroc is the calf muscle. Soleus is under and underneath the gastroc. Tibialis anterios is the front of your leg.


#18

I will take your advice and try it out. Wider stance, shoulder width or slightly wider. Feet pointed out slightly or normal standing position which I am comfortable.

The thing about the my foot turning out what kinda scares me is that it is only one of my feet. Not both. So, I was wondering if something is weak or perhaps not enough flexiblility somewhere on my right leg/foot.

Thanks,
Chris


#19

I'll leave the foot placement alone as it seems to have been covered well above. However, putting plates beneath your heals can make it easier (for some people) to remain upright while squatting. As you guessed, a smaller amount of trunk flexion (i.e., bending over) will result in less activation of your glutes and hams and a greater use of your quads. The forward position of the bar due to the plates being under your heels will also emphasize your quads.

In your post you stated that this was not your goal, but you will probably find that a narrow stance such as the one you are using will hit your quads hard. A wider stance allows more trunk flexion and you'll hit your hams and glutes more. As a bonus, you probably won't need the plates under your heels with this stance either.

Basically, take everyone's advice and open your stance a little. After that you should be able to take the plates from under your feet and put them on the bar where they belong.

Let us know how it goes.


#20

Personally, I think that "ass to grass" is being taken to literally.

When you squat, if you go "butt to calves" that is low enough.

Are you able to do this?