T Nation

Why is My Squatting from So Messed Up?


#1

Hello again, trying to get stronger, starting to squat, for some reason my squatting form isn't correct. Should I be using lighter weight until I get it down right? What do I do? People tell me that I need to "break at the hips" and my knees go to forward. They also say I squat down instead of back...I thought you were suppose to squat down.


#2

Honestly I don't think it looks that bad. You can change things based on what you want to accomplish.

breaking more with the hips and sitting back more are ways to add pounds to your squat, not necessarily get you stronger. It transfers more load to posterior chain and your hips. What you are doing is going to be a more quad dominant squat.

It all depends on what you are wanting to do.


#3

Trying to pretend to sit back into a chair/stick your ass out. See if that helps.

Your first rep seemed good to me. Try to "feel" a good rep every time and simulate it over and over again.

Like I say to a lot of people getting good at a lift requires practice just like anything else. All about reps for it to become second nature.


#4

The last couple reps you seem to be on your toes almost falling forward. Try to keep your core strong and tight and control the weight. It's not a big deal if the knees go a little over the toes but a few reps you were over a good bit, so watch that. Think of it as your taking a dump...that's how you want your form.


#5

Yea man, your form is fine. Dont start worrying about the technical stuff until your into higher numbers.


#6

Okay, also if i want to get stronger i dont mean lifting stronger i mean physically stronger, functional strength what should I be doing?


#7

Explain what unfunctional strength is and I'll let you know.

Like I said, The way you are squatting is going to do more for your quads. A lower bar powerlifting style squat is going to do more for your posterior chain. There is nothing "wrong" with either way.


#8

That's not a bad squat. Your torso stays relatively upright, and while that's not the only way to squat, it is the form I find easiest. It looks like your tailbone is tucking under a bit, which gets worse as the set goes on.

If you want a bigger squat, you might try sitting back more and not letting your knees go forward as far.

If you want bigger legs, work on getting more depth.

(I would strongly recommend finding some experienced people to train with, as well)


#9

startingstrength.wikia.com/wiki/FAQ:The_Lifts#The_Squat


#10

I don't think your squats are so awful, just needs a little bit of tweaking as I'm sure is the case for most of us.

Check out these squat videos.

http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=squat&search_type=&aq=f

There's 26 by SquatRx and 6 by Rippletoe. I'd watch Rippletoe first. He emphasizes hip drive and keeping the toes and knees out. Watch the first or second SquatRx video for flexibility exercises to help keep your knees pointed out and your lower back from bending at the bottom of your squat.


#11

i notice that when people do narrow stance squats they dont look so good coming up. i always squat with a wide stance. i like it alot better. it is a sturdy stance to get a strong down and a strong up with no wobbling and wavering. and in my opinion narrow squats get you trapped at the bottom while if you have a wide squat more effort will get you up, but in a narrow stance you can push all you want but it wont help


#12

hip mobility, allow you to go deeper and sit back farther; otherwise your form is fine, just need to get stronger.


#13

Thanks guys, I will try everything ya said, I will squat wider, and I will keep on doing my stretches. Keep ya posted.


#14

I think your form looks fine. Are you taller? I'm 6'5" and my knees tend to come forward too. I think its a side effect of being tall, but I'm not sure.

Also, to keep from coming up on my toes like you were towards the end, I learned to curl them up during the set. Feels funny at first but it ensures the weight will be centered where it should be on the middle of your feet.


#15

Flexibility is the key. You can see there is a point where you just do not have the flexibility to go deeper into the posterior chain. I dont think many people understand the importance of flexibility when it comes to any exercise really.

IMO there is no way you will ever be able to do a proper squat without working on (stretching) your glutes and hamstrings. Once you work on those to the point where you can sink back into your hips and maintain a stiff lower back, your squat strength will go up very quickly. Take any compound leg exercise. Bulgarian squats, step ups, front squats, lunges, whatever. They cannot be done correctly until the trainee has adequate flexibility.

You can see the whole exercise falls apart rather quickly, as the set goes on, and it isnt because the weight is hard for you, its because of your flexibility. However, I must say that you arent horribly inflexible, so you should gain the flexibility necessary to do a proper squat after a few weeks of stretching at most.

This will remedy the knee coming forward situation, guaranteed. When you see knees continuing forward after the first third of the squat, you know to look for a flexibility issue. That is one of the hallmarks of a good squat; a stable, stationary knee, after about 1/3 the way through.


#16

What are some good hamstring/glute stretches?


#17

It looks okay aside from the fact that you are still rocking forward onto your toes, and a lot of people find that to be problematic for their knee joints.

By keeping the weight over your heels or the middle of your foot it's not only safer but will give you more powder to drive straight up.

It is probably an issue of flexibility and weak hamstrings/hips. Just work on it.


#18

The ones in the SquatRx videos.


#19

I see this same squat movement pattern with most of my clients coming to me with previous weight training experience.
It's not a terrible squat but I think what's really missing here is body awareness.
Yes, your hip flexors (psoas, rectus femorus) and your hamstrings and even pirformis are probably tight causing a posterior pelvis tuck in the bottom of the exercise...BUT...more importantly: you're not mentally connected to the muscles you're trying to activate.

Most people think of a squat as put bar on back, go down and hope to hell you can get back up. There are nuances. Like starting by "breaking at the hips", retaining foot pressure in the heel and mid-foot, not letting the sternum "collapse" in the pocket (bottom), no letting the knees fall to midline as you decend, etc, etc.
HOW the fuck can a newbie think of all that with 150lbs on his back??

I struggles with back squat for years. What helped me and works well for other newbies is this:

Think of your tailbone and your mid-back.
By that I mean your tailbone (sacrum) curls a little towards the front of the body, even more so as you sit down. SO....as you go down keep your tailbone as high as possible.
(the only way to achieve that is keeping heel pressure, "breaking at the hips", and pushing back - haha, three checked off the list)

Lastly, the mid-back (bottom of shoulder blades), keep it tight, impossible to be too tight (assuming your elbows are out to your sides). This serves two fold - keeping the sternum up so you can actually get out of the pocket, and it loads the spine properly so you don't have compression issues as you age.

Tailbone high, mide back squeezed. After you've perfected that, your hamstring/hip flexor tension will become a focal point as you'll get to the bottom of squat and your hams will scream at you.

Hope that helps.
AT


#20

Oh, and I think everyone needs to try a front squat. Long term we're either built better for a front or a back squat. It just depends on skeletal structure (especially femor length).

For those 6'5" and over 90% of the time you're better off with a front squat, unless you like knee problems.

If front squatting is new to you, either get qualified instruction or stay light (bar only, or broomstick) until you can get to parallel or lower. If your shoulders hurt either suck it up until that goes away (it does with practice on finding the groove off the clavicle, between front delt) or invest in the Sting Ray

AT