T Nation

Squats - Pushing With Toes

Lately I’ve been noticing that when sqauatting, at the bottom of the rep before coming back up, I’ll push of the front of my feet/toes to drive back up. When pressing down with the toes I can feel it it my calves and shin area for some reason and not too much in my legs. I don’t feel my heels lifting off the ground at all but I definitely can feel that I’m pushing with the front of my feet.

Any tips to fix this problem?

Thanks.

Thats more than a slight problem. Try curling your toes up. It will leave you no choice but to push out of your heals. Also, squat/deadlift with a flat soled shoe like a Chuck taylor. You will notice a huge improvement.

Oh - and squat deep.

[quote]PentagraM wrote:
Thats more than a slight problem. Try curling your toes up. It will leave you no choice but to push out of your heals. Also, squat/deadlift with a flat soled shoe like a Chuck taylor. You will notice a huge improvement.

Oh - and squat deep. [/quote]

Thanks, I’ll give that a try. Also, I got these Otomix lifting shoes, will that do?

it would help if you posted a video.

I’m assuming you’re talking about olympic lifting shoes. As far as I know those are going to make the problem worse. The added heel of an olympic lifting shoe forces you onto your toes, which is useful for an olympic lift but not so much for power lifting. Somebody more knowledgeable might be able to help you more though

[quote]cord13 wrote:
it would help if you posted a video.[/quote]

X2. Oftentimes these things are a symptom of a larger problem that you might not be aware of, like having your stance too close or rounding your back at the bottom.

[quote]ncscarface wrote:
I’m assuming you’re talking about olympic lifting shoes. As far as I know those are going to make the problem worse. The added heel of an olympic lifting shoe forces you onto your toes, which is useful for an olympic lift but not so much for power lifting.[/quote]

Why would he be trying to powerlift? This is the bodybuilding forum.

Incidentally, the squat form I use is heavily influenced by the way olympic weightlifters squat, as I’ve found it to not only be more comfortable by taking the strain off of my lower back, but it also acts more directly on the quads. You still want to avoid pushing from your toes at any point, however.

Sorry…didn’t actually mean powerlifting specifically, meant squatting as opposed to actual olympic lifts, i.e. cleans/snatches, etc. Basically what I was getting at is that a more flat soled shoe might be a better alternative.

I’ve found it much easier to adjust my squat form when wearing chuck taylors than in just regular running shoes, which I felt kind of forced me into a certain form that was hard to adjust

Dan John video:

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-6529481301858251744#

He talks a lot about how to sit back into your squat.

[quote]ncscarface wrote:
I’m assuming you’re talking about olympic lifting shoes. As far as I know those are going to make the problem worse. The added heel of an olympic lifting shoe forces you onto your toes, which is useful for an olympic lift but not so much for power lifting. Somebody more knowledgeable might be able to help you more though[/quote]

The Otomix shoes he’s got are most likely wrestling shoes, they’ve got a flat and thin sole and are quite ok for both squatting and deadlifting.

Edit: After a look at their website I found the Otomix shoes he’s talking about. Apparently they do make some form of lifting shoes, but they’re more of a cross trainer than a serious weightlifting shoe. They seem ok though, as long as the sole isn’t too soft they’ll be fine.

As for olympic lifting shoes they would not necessarily make the problem worse, it all depends on how you’re built. Some lifters need flat shoes and others need elevated heels. You can still (and SHOULD) push through the heels in these shoes, an elevated heel is not the same as standing on your toes.

There are actually shoes specifically designed for powerlifting that has an elevated heel, like Crain’s Genesis or Safe USA’s Contender. Many powerlifters use shoes with elevated heels, they’re very common in the single ply organisations.

It’s possible I’m being Capt. Obvious here, but also maybe not:

The fundamental reason you are pushing more with your toes (apparently much more) than your heels is because your center of gravity is above a point nearly out to the toes.

In other words, you’ve got the barbell further forward than it should be, which may be occurring from more forward lean than is necessary, and not enough weight behind your heels, which may be occurring from not sitting yout butt back enough.

It isn’t just a question of how you are pushing: that is only a symptom. The actual problem is that your form is putting your balance too far forward.

Possible helps: practicing sitting back with box squats; and making a point of driving the bar where your ascent doesn’t cause extra lean compared to your descent. This next may be stupid: you know how every actor that has played Superman thrusts his chest out (extends the upper back) as he exposes the S while ripping his shirt off? Whereas many squatters let the upper back sag. Do the first, not the second.

If there’s a mirror, it’s actually a helpful visual seeing if your chest is looking like Superman exposing the S, or like Clark Kent slumping over.

x2 and the curling up the toes. Sometime while squatting during my warmups i might get off balance on the first or so rep so i just curl up my toes and adjust myself.

Pushing with the balls of my feet always gives me a better quad workout on squats, leg presses, hacks, etc… If I start pushing with the heels I feel it all in my hamstrings and glutes. That’s just my two cents.


Here’s a picture of the shoes I use.

I know some people frown on the whole ‘looking slightly up’ approach, but it’s always worked for me. Something Thibs said when we were squatting in Colorado, was to pretend you were a dolphin coming up out of the water, basically keeping your chest high as you come out of the squat (feel free to make any sort of Dolphin noises you think may help)

S

[quote]The Mighty Stu wrote:
I know some people frown on the whole ‘looking slightly up’ approach, but it’s always worked for me. Something Thibs said when we were squatting in Colorado, was to pretend you were a dolphin coming up out of the water, basically keeping your chest high as you come out of the squat (feel free to make any sort of Dolphin noises you think may help)

S
[/quote]

lol thats hilarious

Try a slightly wider stance, toes slightly pointed out in a comfortable position. Stick your ass out and lean forward like you’re going to sit on a little foot stool. If you still feel like you’re pushing with your toes, stick your ass out more until you feel balanced and flat footed.

Just my opinion.

First—Are you naturally built for back squats? Long or short legs? You could use the “Wall Test” to give you an idea. Face the wall with your toes about 6 inches away from the wall (normal squat width of the feet), while keeping your chest up and out with your shoulder blades tight and pulled together and a tight arch in your lower back (your arms should mimick holding a BB on your back), descend down as low as possible while maintaining that tight arch in your back.
If your able to sit down past parallel, the forward translation of your knees don’t prevent you from getting to depth by coming into contact with the wall, and your heels stay flat, you’re probably just fine to back squat.
**Just because you don’t pass the wall test, doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t back squat. It will give you an idea of the problem areas you need to address…losing your lower back arch, ankle flexibility, chest posistion, etc.

Second----where are you placing the bar? High on the traps, low, traditional? This can make a big difference. That’s one of the main problems with those neck rolls people put on the bar while squatting, it automatically puts you in a bad starting position by forcing your head forward.

I’ve found that squatting without any shoes to help me keep awareness of where my weight is on my feet, as well as keep them flat to floor.

I have also found the “Dophin out of the water” image to be helpful. By looking up while coming out the hole, you automatically keep your path more vetical…the head follows the eyes and the body follows the head.

What are you trying to accomplish with your back squats? Are they necessary to reach your goals?

Third—Do you keep your elbows tucked, tight, and below your shoulders as you descend and then ascend. If you’re letting your elbows rotate backwards, it’s going to force your torso into a forward lean.

[quote]The Mighty Stu wrote:
I know some people frown on the whole ‘looking slightly up’ approach, but it’s always worked for me. Something Thibs said when we were squatting in Colorado, was to pretend you were a dolphin coming up out of the water, basically keeping your chest high as you come out of the squat (feel free to make any sort of Dolphin noises you think may help)

[/quote]

From now on Thib is Le Dauphin.

[quote]Bill Roberts wrote:
It’s possible I’m being Capt. Obvious here, but also maybe not:

The fundamental reason you are pushing more with your toes (apparently much more) than your heels is because your center of gravity is above a point nearly out to the toes.

In other words, you’ve got the barbell further forward than it should be, which may be occurring from more forward lean than is necessary, and not enough weight behind your heels, which may be occurring from not sitting yout butt back enough.

It isn’t just a question of how you are pushing: that is only a symptom. The actual problem is that your form is putting your balance too far forward.

Possible helps: practicing sitting back with box squats; and making a point of driving the bar where your ascent doesn’t cause extra lean compared to your descent. This next may be stupid: you know how every actor that has played Superman thrusts his chest out (extends the upper back) as he exposes the S while ripping his shirt off? Whereas many squatters let the upper back sag. Do the first, not the second.

If there’s a mirror, it’s actually a helpful visual seeing if your chest is looking like Superman exposing the S, or like Clark Kent slumping over.[/quote]

Bill, It’s unfair to use the Superman example because everyone knows he only does the Leg Press.

lol

excellent.

I’ll just add that I’ve known some severely top heavy lifters who had no choice but to use a low bar position in order to squat properly. Same reason.

I wonder why no one ever tried stuffing a 45 pound plate in the back of their trousers while squatting. More load for the legs, better form and better balance…you’re essentially doing a hip belt squat in addition to a regular squat.

[quote]Bill Roberts wrote:
It’s possible I’m being Capt. Obvious here, but also maybe not:

The fundamental reason you are pushing more with your toes (apparently much more) than your heels is because your center of gravity is above a point nearly out to the toes.

In other words, you’ve got the barbell further forward than it should be, which may be occurring from more forward lean than is necessary, and not enough weight behind your heels, which may be occurring from not sitting yout butt back enough.

It isn’t just a question of how you are pushing: that is only a symptom. The actual problem is that your form is putting your balance too far forward.

Possible helps: practicing sitting back with box squats; and making a point of driving the bar where your ascent doesn’t cause extra lean compared to your descent. This next may be stupid: you know how every actor that has played Superman thrusts his chest out (extends the upper back) as he exposes the S while ripping his shirt off? Whereas many squatters let the upper back sag. Do the first, not the second.

If there’s a mirror, it’s actually a helpful visual seeing if your chest is looking like Superman exposing the S, or like Clark Kent slumping over.[/quote]