T Nation

Tailbone Tucking ATG

I squat to parallel (or an ass hair below) out of habit from high school. I want to try to replace my squats with ATG squats.

So, today I loaded the bar with a load that I could normally squat for about 20-30 reps, went as deep as possible and just sat there in position while a friend watched my spine etc. He said the my spine including low spine was arrow straight but when I got past parallel my butt tucked under.

I am reading that this is not desirable but I don’t know what kind of stretches to do to fix it. I figured yall might be able to give me some pointers.

It would first help to know where you’re tight. Most people can’t squat “ATG” without some buttwink as I like to call it, but if you were previously squatting to parallel or below I really don’t see the need to worry to much about depth (within reason) unless you’re competing.

If you still choose to go ATG, make sure you stretch out your hamstrings, quads, ad/abductors and glutes prior to squatting. A dynamic circuit of leg swings (front-back, side-side), squat pulls, bird dogs, and a generic hip flexor stretch (static) is usually enough to add a good inch or two to my squat depth. Of course it depends where you’re inflexible to know exactly which muscles would require the most emphasis, if you don’t know then covering all the bases can’t hurt.

That said, a small amount of buttwink is sometimes unavoidable, I would worry more about keeping a tight core and eliminating any cervical/thoracic spine rounding. Flexibility comes with time, do your dynamic/static/PNF as often as possible and it will become less of a nuisance.

Hip mobility is pretty much the be all end all in this situation, as well as practice- it takes a while to know the feeling when your back loses its arch.

ditto the last two responses. Lots of times I think it has to do with the fact that most peoples’ lumbar spine is more mobile than their hamstring/hip (this is bad!). You need to concentrate on making your hamstrings more mobile/flexible and your lower back more stable.

Three things helped me here. In order of importance:

Hip Mobility Drills
Dynamic Stretching prior to Squating

For the first one, I just didn’t worry too much about spine tucking in when I first squatted. I figured with enough practice it’d work out. Everytime I Squatted I just thought about arching my back and keeping it tight at the bottom. Eventually it just sorted itself out.

Second one and third one can be combined, since I do these both before I squat. I was given a list of things from my coach to do prior to squatting that really helped open up my hips this includes.

Swinging leg back and forth x 10
Swinging leg left and right x 10
Body weight lunges x 10
Body weight lunges with a twist x 10

There’s more but these are the ones that really helped out.

Just keep on trying, and don’t give up, eventually you will work it out.

Overhead squats are awesome for this. If you can squat below parallel with OH squats, chances are you can backsquat ATG with good form.

Here’s an old trick :

Place a piece of masking tape about 10cm long on your lumbar spine so when your butt dips under the tape tightens and pulls on the skin and you can feel exactly where to stop at.

I was in a session once with a bio mechanist and we were analysing my squat and how my tailbone was dipping under and all the same reasons were coming out. No ‘core’ strength. Weak glutes etc. The guy then came over with his trigger point ball, released my peroneals and anterior tibialis and bingo, perfect squat. My glutes were weak because my tailbone was dipping from lack of ankle mobility.

I’d look at your ankle mobility, then your hip mobility. Everyones different.