T Nation

Troubleshooting my squat

Hello everyone I am new to the forum and need some help to fix my squat. I have been training Westside style for about 8 weeks with great results. My bench has gone up 20 lbs and my deadlift has gone up 40 lbs. But my problem is squatting. I can’t seem to keep my shins vertical. I have watched the WS squat video and have been using that advice on form; bending at the hip, keeping my feet pointed forward, pushing out my knees,spreading the floor, and using a wide stance. I have videotaped my box squat and can see my knees drifting slightly forward, but when I try to free squat I cannot drop to parallel without my upper torso and/or my knees coming forward even when using light weight. I have more of a deadlifters body type, long legs and arms, short torso. Could this be detrimental to my squat form? What kind of adjustments should I make to improve my form? Thanks for any advice given!

Rock- are you wearing chuck taylors or a flat soled shoe when you squat???

drifting foward and pushing at a angle is a sign that when your body squats it believes the strongest muscles are the quads and this is a tuff problem to break…you have to bring up your hips once your body realizes that your hips are stronger than your quads you wont want to squat up at a angle…you will just fire out of the bottom with your hips, you need to also continue to bring up your hammies, abs, and low back but i think your prioity is your hips…add in tons of spread eagle sit ups, ultra wide sumo deadlifts standing on 4 inch box, sled dragging will be a must espicially heavy around the waist dragging and tons of ankle dragging, but the best hip strengthener i have found is low box (10-12 inches) close stance duck squats with the safety squat bar, zercher squats also are good, and kneeling squat also,medium stance good morning squats are great also, and dont forget the pull throughs add in a slight squat for the hips and do high reps 12-20…also other things i can tell you that may help is on dynamic day raise your box for a little bit bring it up to 17 inches and get ultra wide and learn to flex off the box with your hips and when you feel good off the high box go back down to a parrellel box…hope this helps and soon your hips will be stronger than your quads and you wont squat at a angle anymore…big martin

I have the same body type that you do, and all I can say is that while it may be much more difficult to have great form on the squat than someone with short arms/legs and a long torso, it isn’t impossible by any means.

You’re definitely on the right track, but I have a question for you: are you making certain that you’re sitting back all the way down? With your body type, this is something that you’re going to have to pay attention to constantly to make sure you’re doing correctly. I used to constantly have trouble with this, but all that it takes is extra focus.

Use BigM’s advice. Also, to reiterate the other poster (sorry forgot yer name), sit back, not down. In my experience this is the main problem with most squatters. Your first movement should be backwards, not down. I’d try Daves beginner squat cycle in the 8 keys article and work on perfecting form. Oh yeah, sit back, not down.

What big Martin said is very true about strengthening your hips. I also think you have weak hamstrings, because as your hamstrings get stronger, you can sit back more in the squat to the point that the shins are vertical. You need to take care of the quad/hamstring imbalance and realy hit those hamstrings, glutes and lower back hard as well as the hips.

Thanks so much for the advice. I am using Chuck Taylors as my squat shoes. Could flexiblity be an issue also? I have tried holding onto a table and squatting down keeping my shins vertical and feet pointed forward. My hammies don’t feel stretched but my hip & groin area are so tight I have trouble getting to parallel.
Most of my ME squat movements are some form of good morning. I train at home so my assistance movements are limited to Romanian Deadlifts, Dimels, Pull-throughs with bands, Stiff leg DL’s, and Zerchers. Hopefully by Christmas I will have my power rack so I can add more.

Rocky101, I have the same problems AND the same body type. My torso is short and femurs are long. I CANNOT sit back even with just my body weight. When I try with assistance (hanging on to a towel wrapped around a vertical pole in front of me), my back and knees start hurting. I think the other poster is right, that my hams, hips, and abs are weak. But so far I have not been able to fix my squatting form even when working on those other areas. For example, I am now quite strong in the glute-ham raise. But my motor control patterns for the squat seem somehow impaired.

Start with a high box that (above parallel) you can squat properly on. As you get stronger and bring up your weak areas gradually lower the box height. Be patient. Over time it will come.

what I do is for the very first movement, I try to copy my goodmorning movement, and just move my ass backwards. From there, everything usually falls into place. Just remember to move your ass backwards. That should literally be the first thing that moves.

hope this helps

Nice tip Greek