Full squat: Back angle

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Onlyethic
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Full squat: Back angle

Post by Onlyethic » Thu Jan 24, 2008 8:54 am

Just getting into full squats (I know, it's late in life). I've been practicing form, unweighted, in front of a mirror. I notice that as I get past the half-squat mark and into the full squat my back angles forward around 35 degrees and rounds a little.

I know that some forward lean is necessary to keep from falling back, and I also realize that the angle will decrease as strength increases. I'm just curious to know if it's really a bad situation, as it is, or if it's reasonably normal.

Also any tips for full squatting, specifically with regard to just getting into the exercise (i.e. start with bar? start with some weight? move weight up after 5 reps of good form?)?

thanks much for the help.


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Post by TimD » Thu Jan 24, 2008 9:43 am

Go to Crossfit and go to the exercise/demo section. Rippetoe has a bunch of lecture/demo vids over there for correct form etc.
Your back angle sounds OK, just concentrate on keeping chest out, scapula drawn together to keep the upper back from rounding.
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Post by TimD » Thu Jan 24, 2008 10:01 am

Air squats are fine as part of a warm up, but for practice I'd recommend an empty bar for balance purposes. Work to a weight whereyour form starts to breakdown, back off wieght a bit, and then do some practice sets.
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Post by stuward » Thu Jan 24, 2008 11:33 am

Take a look at the Squat Rx series on Youtube. They will help you with your form. You mentioned some rounding during a full squat. I'm going to assume you mean your hips are tucking under and your lower back is rounding. That's normal due to tight hamstrings but is not acceptable and is addressed in the first video.

Full squatting below parallel is harder than squats to parallel but much better for you mainly because it aids in knee stability so it really pays to get the form right.

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Post by TimD » Thu Jan 24, 2008 12:14 pm

Just saw the Squat Rx video's Stu mentioned. Excellent stuff. Going to sticky a reference to it.
Tim


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Post by ironmaiden708 » Thu Jan 24, 2008 1:57 pm

What I would recommend is take an empty bar and look from the side view while you do them. The big key with squats is to make sure is that your ROM is always perpendicular to the ground. Think of the bar as a line as you go up and down and just keep it like I stated before, perpendicular. It sounds confusing and I'm not 100% if I stated it correctly but I hope you can get the idea.

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Post by TheHeb » Thu Jan 24, 2008 5:37 pm

Stuward (or others), when you say parallel do you mean top top of the legs are parallel to the ground or the bottom of the legs are parallel to the ground? When the top of the legs are parallel to the ground, it's a deeper squat than when the hamstrings are parallel, and I generally squat so my quads are a little less than parallel with the ground. Do you think that is deep enough to constitute a full squat, or do I have to squat to the point where my butt is basically a couple of inches from the floor?

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Post by stuward » Thu Jan 24, 2008 7:10 pm

Parallel means the crease at your hip is lower than your knee. That means that your hamstring is much lower than parallel. You can't go by the top of the leg because your quad is usually rounded so it's hard to judge parallel. A full squat is lower than that. Your hamstring and your calves should touch. For me, that's about 6" difference. For someone like Matt it's probably no difference at all.

These are full squats: http://www.dynamic-eleiko.com/sportivny ... tion_3.jpg
http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/Qua ... Squat.html

You can see the difference here. This is a normal squat to parallel:
http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/Qua ... Squat.html

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Post by Matt Z » Thu Jan 24, 2008 7:25 pm

You're parallel when your hips are at the same height as your knees. This is deep enough for powerlifting competition (although many powerlifters somewhat below parallel). However, in a true full squat, you go need to go much deeper, until your almost sitting on your heels.

Personally, I like to squat down until I feel my hamstrings touch my calves, which is well below parallel, and just short of a full squat. I find it much easier to judge depth by feel, than by trying to watch myself in the mirrow.

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Post by Matt Z » Thu Jan 24, 2008 7:45 pm

PS.) I've read that high-bar back squats are intermediate between front squats and low-bar back squats in terms of back angle. However, in my own experience, I've noticed the opposite to be true. For me at least, it's much easier to keep my torso upright doing low-bar back squats than it is doing high-bar back squats. It's also much easier to drive through my heels, rather than shifting foreward onto the balls of my feet.

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Post by Matt Z » Thu Jan 24, 2008 7:53 pm

Likewise, you might want to try a wider stance, since this may allow you to keep your torso more upright.

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Post by TheHeb » Thu Jan 24, 2008 8:27 pm

Good info guys. Thanks.

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Post by Onlyethic » Tue Jan 29, 2008 2:59 pm

Thanks for the links and advice. Squat RX was excellent.

I was in the gym after watching it to attempt some squats with bar only. It was a sad state of affairs-- to be honest. I could barely get to half squat, let alone worry about my form in the full squat.

The biggest factor is inflexibility in my hips and hams. Real bad. I work on it daily but it takes time (it seems).

I'm wondering what people think--

My approach right now is to work heavily on flexibility. I'll keep on with deadlifts, paying attention to form. Also, goodmornings and back extensions.

Wondering what opinions are about doing goblet squats right now, instead of working on regular squats. Or anything else-- seated leg press?

Also... yoga.. (er...?).

Been foam rolling as well.

Thanks for help with this.

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Post by KPj » Wed Jan 30, 2008 8:33 am

Wondering what opinions are about doing goblet squats right now, instead of working on regular squats. Or anything else-- seated leg press?
My personal opinion - Goblet squats would be fine, i think it's good to rotate squat variations. I hate the leg press and i'm a very big fan of front squats?? Take a while to get used to, but great exercise. It's difficult to screw up form... If you can only get down so far due to flexibility, You could restrict the ROM with a bench or box.
yoga
Cringing.... Not a big fan of Yoga, too much lumbar flexion, hyper extension, and generally I just think it crosses the line of asking you to become too flexible, but not really taking into account stability. There should be a fine balance between both, and it varies from joint to joint aswell, another thing that - as i understand - Yoga doesn't really consider.

Of course, my opinion on Yoga comes from the classes and enthusiasts I see in a commercial gym. So I might be getting the wrong end of the stick... I guess its possible.... :-)
Been foam rolling as well.
Great, keep it up. Remember to eventually use a tennis ball for smaller more difficult to get to muscles, such as calves, piriformis, posterior shoulder.

Roll the soles of your feet on a tennis ball for a couple of minutes a foot, quite intensely covering all of your foot (bottom of your foot). It will increase your hamstring flexibility after 1-2 minutes on each foot ;-)

Test with the 'touch your toes' test. I saw it in an article and it works with everyone I've tried it on. Not only will your range increase, but your hams won't feel as tight either.

KPj

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Post by Onlyethic » Wed Jan 30, 2008 4:04 pm

thanks KPj,

Today was a lot better. I warmed up with a run and then stretched for a while on the ground. As I did my deadlifts, I paid much attention to form-- sticking my butt out, keeping lower back tense and straight. It forced me to drop my hips into the deadlift and really power my legs to lift up (whereas before I was doing it more like a from-the-ground good morning). Much better.

I'll hit the tennis ball tonight. Never imagined that the green fuzzy ball could intimidate me so badly.


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