T Nation

Trouble With Squat (back, front & overhead)

This might not be an actual problem because I haven’t been doing front squats for long. The trouble I find is that the movement is fairly easy on my quadriceps, but very demanding on my lower back, across my shoulders and on the abdomen. Will my upper body get better at coping with heavy weight on the front squat?

My current solution to the problem is doing a lot more standing military presses to increase shoulder strength–but perhaps my difficulty has more to do with technique than raw strength?

Also, back squats are supposed to be more demanding on the lower back, but since I started reading more on the internet, I realised I could bring up this area in various ways, so now I’m doing a lot more glute-ham raises. Funnily enough my lower back is solid on the back squat, and I get a much better hit on my thighs.

The reason I was having problems with the back squat was a realisation about “raising the shoulders before the hips”. My mistake was to try and get extra depth by lowering my upper body so that the bar would reach the horizonal supports- giving me the illusion of a deeper squat- when I should have been allowing my legs to bend that little bit further, even though they would buckle being unaccustomed to the extra depth.

So, I’m getting to the point where I’m getting really comfortable at the bottom of the squat movement, although my concerns have turned to accelerating out of the movement and generating speed. I figure that by holding my position at the bottom of the movement- partly due to what I read here, and elsewhere- that I will develop starting strength and greater speed. Is this true? It is possible for me to achieve really fast reps but that is only with a weight that allows me upwards of 15 reps. Around the 8-10 range I’m using all my effort but can’t seem to get much power at the bottom.

Finally, when I’m able to do overhead squats with bodyweight am I to pick the bar from the floor or can this be done from a rack?

Thanks for reading.