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Squat the hell is up with this?

Heya T-freques. I’ve been having difficulty doing ass-to-the-floor squats because I always seem to rise up on the balls of my feet when lowering so deeply. I keep a very tight lower back and use as strict form as is half primate half humanly possible. I’ve hypothesized that one possible explanation is my particularly wide feet. I am more balanced when on the front portion of my foot, hence the natural inclination towards this problem. Can anyone offer anything in the way of advice? I plan to incorporate Overhead squats into my next HST cycle, and this would definitely assist things. Thanks in advance, people. Lata.

MBE: "Will swing and hoot for food. Since 1811."


You could try putting a small board underneath your heels.

Agreed. It’s a flexibility issue, fool. Put some small plates under your heels. Should help keep yo’ monkey ass from tippin ovah.

Don’t put the plates under your heels. That’s a crutch, not a solution. I used to have the same problem, but I read a Poliquin article in the old MM2K about stretching the calcaneal tendon and reducing the weight you are using until you can keep the heels down. It hurt my pride to reduce the weight, but in the long run I’m glad I did.

Skip the board or plates under the heel. That’ll do you more harm than good. This may mean you need to lower the weight until you get that form down. How wide is your stance now? You may be able to afford to go wider. Work with different stances.

Yes, You can start will boards under your heels. Lower you weight and work on form at least three times a week. the goal here is not to use this exercise to work your muscles until your form is correct. On Leg days use leg presses or partial squats in the power rack.
Slowly, decrease to thickness on the board. This will take several weeks to a couple of months depending on how much you have to inrease your flexibility.
Best of Luck.

I agree, just stretch your calves out. What kind of shoes are you using? Olympic lifting shoes make it a lot easier to full squat.

Thanks forum friends. I usually keep a shoulder-width stance when squatting. As bar as shoes, I workout barefoot, yet another benefit of trianing at home. Lata.

MBE: “Cool, calm, casually crazed since 1490.”


what is your squatting form? do you squat like a traditional powerlifter, or is it more of the “bodybuilder” type of squat. i get ass to heels pretty easily doing the bodybuilding squat. basically, in one smooth motion, its bending the knees and almost thrusting the hips out (like you would on a sissy squat) then from that position sitting down on the back of your heels.

there is an article by Poliquin in the archives which explains and shows a good stretching exercise to fix the problem.

Try this, just out of curiosity… hold an empty barbell out in front of you and try to squat on your heels. I’m not sure what this implies or what value it has, but i did it on accident the other day when i was trying to explain not to come up on your toes to my girlfriend and noticed how easily i could get into a super low squatting position with minimal leaning of the torso. Come to think of it, does that indicate a weakness or flexibility issue somewhere?

Stretch your calves for sure - What are the bottoms of your feet like? I have wide flat feet(overpornation and capsulitis) - I just got a set of custom orthotics (from a DR.) and it totally changed my squat and corrected some of what your talking about.

Thanks for all the support and help guys.

JC#10: Can you elaborate on the bodybuilding v. powerlifting form so that I can be more specific in my answer? Thanks.

franks: going to try that in a lil bit, thanks for the tip.

jjw: right with ya, bro. Wide flat feet, I wear a 10 1/2"-11" shoe. I have phenominal balance when I lean forward so thay may be an indication. What is the name of the Poliquin article? Again, thanks a great deal peeps.

MBE: “If it looks like a monkey and squats like a duck…since 1983.”


Eurika! Found the article, it’s from one of the “Question of Strength” columns. Looks like a good strethcing protocol. I’ll keep any interested partied up to date. Lata.

MBE: “The internet’s answer to a crop circle since 2017.”


A BB squat holds the bar higher up on the traps (usually with the hands placed closer in on the bar), thereby allowing a more upright torso position, thereby throwing more of the stress on the quads. A powerlifting squat involves holding the bar with a wider grip further down the back, which allows you to lean over further, involving more of the glutes and (to a certain extent) hams. Since the bar is closer to the lever point of your hips, you can generate more power this way.

Personally, I think that if you’re after huge quads, you can probably use a board or weights or whatever under your heels and it won’t hurt you much. People with good ankle flexibility sometimes use a board anyway (even though they don’t strictly need it) to throw more emphasis on the quads if they’re doing a bb movement. Sort of like with a front squat.

Also, you’ll find that whether or not you need a board may vary with how wide your stance is. I have very poor left ankle flexibility due to an injury, so I always use a board when doing shoulder-width (or narrower) squats, but with a sumo stance I find I can do without. You can also experiment with the degree of foot turnout, as different foot positions will yield different stresses.

How this helps. BTW, you posted on another thread that you’d gotten some good gains out of your HST cycle. Care to post some stats?

cd: Hate to say it, but I’m out of tag lines. Since 2002.

Go to Dave Tates squatting articles in T-mag(or Elitefts) and learn to BOX-Squat. Crucially, this will allow you to progressively increase the range of motion and ensure correct form (through placement of the hips). What is ass-to-the-floor anyway? People that are built for squatting deep, use 4-6 inch box’s for their “ass-to-the-floor” workouts, while most use a lot higher.

Everything I’ve ever read about putting a plate or board under the heels says that it’s a temporary measure until you get the ankle flexibiity to where you don’t need it any more. Also, ditto with the attention to stance width. Try going a little wider, pay attention to your foot angle (splayed out a little) and keep the knees over your feet.

char-dawg pretty much hit the nail on the head. i hold the bar pretty high up on my back/traps. actually, when i first started BB squatting, i had trouble getting ass to heels. front squats helped me get all the way to the gound, as well as stretching the shit out of my hip flexors and glutes. now you cant go as heavy with the bb squat, but it does hit the quads only, and i always have about a 411 tempo (well 4 count down for that matter) b/c any faster and my knees would go out.

char-dawg’s given you the answer. Squatting ass to the mat is by nature a powerlifting type squat. If you wanna squat deep you gotta drop the bar further down the back. Some powerlifters with good shoulder flexibility will have the bar one third of the way down their back. With the bar held low this way, it’s almost impossible to come up onto the balls of your feet.

For mnore advise go to the expert. Dr. Squat. Search out his website. Lot’s O good stuff. Best of Luck.