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Squat Leaning Forward

Posted: Fri Feb 04, 2011 4:16 am
by Oscar_Actuary
I'm a real newb with back squats. And I lean badly. I'm not able to get to parallel before I start to move the chest towards the knees. The knees are too far forwward as well.

I am weak. It feels like I'l fall backwards if I don't lean.

I'm reading about this, Mendi on Stronglifts ha a lot to say.
Anyone here have suggestions ? I looks straight ahead, keep the butt out, try to keep a tight core, knees track with the toes angle - just to far forward. I can get to a good position with no weight on back, so maybe it's just getting used to it and activating/strengthening muscles

Posted: Fri Feb 04, 2011 4:26 am
by RobertB
Hoose told me to do third world squats - and I think they would help you too, I think it's due to our inflexibility, it's really noticable on my front squats.

Anyway - try it, and if theres excessive tightness/an inability to perform it without falling back after 15 seconds (barefoot/no footwear I might add, a big footwear heel defeats the purpose) then that needs to improve to keep your chest in the correct position. ... orld_squat

Posted: Fri Feb 04, 2011 5:13 am
by KPj
Yeh, can be loads of things really.

Lack of flexiblity in the hips or ankles. Lack of stability in the upper back or "core". Technique. Or just Load.

You said you can get to a good position with no weight on your back, so if that's the case, then I doubt it it's flexiblity.

This would leave stability, technique, or just "using too much weight". If you're new to squats, then start "too light" and add weight gradually so you can get used to form. If that bores you, then do goblet or front squats for a while - if you lean forward you dump the weight. Also think "technical failure" - if you add weight to the bar and your technique goes, then it's too much.

Stability and technique almost come hand in hand. Make sure your upper back is tight as possible - shoulders pulled back, and tight, and keep them like that. I see loads of people losing this when they "walk" the weight out of the rack (a big problem for me personally), so make sure you don't do this.

Make sure you start the movement by pushing the hips back (some people think they are doing this, but don't). Push the knees and feet out to the sides. So, think "back and out", not "down". When coming back up lead with the chest/head. Pull your elbows under the bar and force the chest up.

Hope that helps...


Posted: Fri Feb 04, 2011 8:46 am
by wilburburns
Are you rolling up on your Toes/Balls of your feet?

Are you falling forward?

If neither of these are happening, I think it's unlikely that you are leaning to far forward.

I'm not an expert by any means, but with a back squat, especially a mid to low bar back squat, you must really focus on pushing the Butt back, then leaning forward to keep the bar over the heals/shins.

All based on my experience, but if I stand up too straight, the weight is positioned behind my feet/heels and I want to fall backwards. If I hinge and lean too far forward, the weight/bar swings in front of my feet, and my knees push forward and I want to roll up on my toes and fall forward.

This is all assuming your back is staying tight and straight and you are hinging at the hips. If your Core is collapsing and back rounding, you could be getting way out of position and still keep the bar over the heel and not want to fall forward or backward.


Posted: Fri Feb 04, 2011 8:57 am
by GTO
First, I'm no expert and second, I just started doing these, but box squats
the Dave Tate way might really help.

Posted: Fri Feb 04, 2011 2:47 pm
by Oscar_Actuary
thanks for input !

I do get a bit confused on all the cues. Because I do feel most often the weight is coming down on the middle of my feet and otherwise, if I'm not leaning then it makes me want to fall backwards. Maybe my amount of lean is ok?

I do have video to review but will wait to post one after I've had a bit more time to practice. I was not getting low enough - bad idea to video tape with little warm up. I do think the back is straight, at least. And last night was getting to at least parallel most of the time.

Best I can tell it's more abou lack of muscle and understanding technique, than it is flexility, althoug that is probasbly playing a role to some degree
I'll keep worknig and read an review all these ideas.


Posted: Fri Feb 04, 2011 3:23 pm
by wilburburns
Here is a couple of pics borrowed from the Starting Strength Book that show the amount of upper body lean necessary for the three different squat types.
Front, High Bar Back, Low Bar Back

And this one shows Hip Drive out of the hole. Notice the last illustration shows to much hip drive and the bar pushes forward in front of mid foot. This would cause me to roll up on my toes and try and fall forward.


Posted: Fri Feb 04, 2011 3:35 pm
by Oscar_Actuary
yeah, I recall those photos.
It's interesting to me that the knee is beyond the toe in all photos. As a tall person that seems to be the only way I can do it, keeping a perpendicular shin is impossible for me. Maybe that cue was misunderstood by me - so I've tried to just stay as perpendicular as possible.

Is this sufficient:

- Nuetral Spine
- Kness follow direction toes are pointing ( no buckling in or out )
- Weight over middle of feet
- Bar moves in straight line down and up

I guess I"m looknig for the minimum cues that if done correctly will cause all the others to be ok.

I know there is a lot of info on this

Posted: Fri Feb 04, 2011 5:57 pm
by Jungledoc
The issue of the knees going past the toes gets argued a lot, usually between people who have read or heard someone say that it's a great evil, and people who have read Rippetoe, and who say it's no big deal. None of them ever seem to discuss WHY it matters.

Basically, keeping the knees back of the toes puts more load on the hams and glutes; going forward leaves the work more exclusively on the quads. Back brings more total muscle to bear on the lift, so most people can probably move more weight ultimately if they learn to stay back more. So, if you have safe form, learning to stay back is better in the long run for getting heavy on the lift.

I have taken the attitude (and yes, I'm a Rippetoe fan) that it may help me some to keep the knees back, but it's not the most critical issue in my form. If I can keep a neutral L-spine, have adequate hip drive, keep my knees aligned with my feet, etc., then I won't worry too much if my knees pass my toes a little. I still try to sit back, I still hinge at the hip first, but I'm quite happy if I squat like the guy in Rippetoe's drawing.

The squat is my main quad exercise. If it doesn't hit my hams and glutes much, fine. That's what I dead lift for.