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Squat Technique, Vertical Shins?

  how important is it to keep your shins as close to vertical as possible throughout the squat? I am a raw powerlifter and find that my shins go forward significantly similar to olympic lifters.


You pprobably won't ever keep them perfectly vertical, but it really depends on hip, ankle, and calf flexibility.


Just keep em as vertical as possible. It also depends on your stance. Also if you don't use a wide stance, your shins are going to go forward some. It's the nature of the stance.


Good point - narrow stances are going to require some forward lean to the shins, unless you're a little crazy like Bull Goggins (sp?). If you're going wide stance, though, you're just inflexible or not leading the squat by pushing your hips back.



thanks for the replies,

I guess my question is should you try to minimize forward movement of your shins regardless of your squat stance? For the past 3 years I have been squatting medium stance w/ oly shoes and I havent been happy w/ my progress (only gained 9 lbs in 2005). After reading some articles I am considering giving my squat a makeover by losing the heels and opening my stance slightly (I do not wish to go westside wide, I like to squat IPF deep). Keep in mind I compete raw.


I've heard from several refrences that squating should be like sitting down. Thus you should be pushing your hips back and tryuing to keep the shins straight. It's not a huge deal but it depends on stance, form, and how deep you go, kind of like what everyone else said.


Check out this article from EC...



I don't think you should try and keep your shins vertical if you're squatting with oly shoes and a narrow stance. If you've chosen that stance ideally you've done so because you're a quad squatter. In that case there's no need to try and restrict shin movement.

As far as losing the heels and going wider, you can get pretty wide and deep if you're flexible enough. I used to squat relatively narrow, in oly shoes and I made the switch to chuck taylors and a wider stance and was still able to hit IPF (USAPL) depth. It just takes practice and flexibility work.


the only way the shins will be vertical is if you're doing it on a smith machine, simply because it's not going to be natural for the shins to remain vertical.

They'll probably be around 45-60* depending on flexibility. Just make sure that the torso and shins form parallel lines and you're good to go.


Minimize while allowing the rest of the body to assume the proper positions is the way I look at it but yeah, you don't want the toes going real far forward for a PL legal depth.



The only way your shins will probably stay vertical is if your squatting on a box. If you are squatting on a box you try to sit BACK as far as possible NOT sit down. This will keep them close to vertical and help recruit your hams and glutes. The only other way they will probably stay close to vertical is in a suit, not sure that you could keep them vertical free squatting without a suit.


how important is it to keep your shins as close to vertical as possible throughout the squat? I am a raw powerlifter and find that my shins go forward significantly similar to olympic lifters.

This all relative to your amount of flexablity, the more flexable you are the better your form will be.
I was having this very problem when I started working with a trainer, she started working with me on flexability and man did that help. But to answer your question, I don't think that the shins will ever stay at a 90 degree, I think unless u are very flexable.



The less vertical your shins are, the deeper you will have to go. In a full squat (narrowish stance, all the way down), this isn't necessarily a bad thing, because you're relying on the pop out of the bottom anyway. In even a moderate stance powerlifting squat, the knees going forward or in is typically going to be wasted movement.

Some guys go so wide that they CAN'T keep their knees vertical, because their femurs are only so long. I think this is stupid an innefficient. I lift with several guys that don't use insanely wide stances yet squat huge weights with their shins vertical. There will be some lean 99% of the time, but the goal is to minimize it in most cases.


Ditto- my knees usually come forward unless I have suit or briefs and I am taking a wide monolift style stance. Even on a box, using a normal stance my knees come forward. Wraps tend to help keep my knees from coming forward by shifting the flexion to my hips.

I think a lot of this has to do with individual body proportions. I have long limbs, and my knee tend to come forward. Some of my training partners that are short guys never do this.


It depends what your goal is like Cressey says in his article. If you are using the squat as the good hip extensor knee flexor exercise it is your knees will def be better off coming forward. Think about splitting the difference in regards to the work done between your quads and glutes/hams, knees and hips. Another good rule of thumb if these are your goals is to have a similar angle in your back and shins, as you squat they should be pretty paralell. And I'm assuming you know basic squat form, if you lean to far forward or try to straighten up too too much you can still follow what I said and mess up.


Another note, if you get used to squatting and lunging/split squatting with a vertical tibia, you will decrease the involvement of the VMO quite a bit. If you want it to get involved you will have to start at a lower weight and get them going again, depending on how long you have done the vertical shins type, it could take awhile.


You don't want to fall over. That's why the center of gravity of your body and the weight has te be over your feet.

Try that with your shins vertical, without turning the squat into a seated goodmorning.