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Thread: WHY cant I squat?..

  1. #1

    WHY cant I squat?..

    vic616283 wrote:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d-6LtVH2VXM

    That's me squatting, trying out different stances. What I'd like to know is what I'm doing wrong. Mind you, the weight being used in the vid is 145lbs and I still cannot even come close to making a squat look decent. It looks the same even if I don't use a barbell at all, btw.

    I've never quite been able to get the hang of the squat - my torso always leans SO far forward during the squat. It really kills my progress to squat like this, all my other lifts move so much better. In the time it's taken me to put 50kg on my deadlift, my squat has not moved. At my current rate, I'm going to DL 300kg and still not squat 200. My bench has caught up to my squat multiple times, and it's looking like it's going to happen again soon.

    The way I've squatted the most weight has been "low bar - narrow" but then my back turns into a camel when coming up. With a low bar, wide stance, I'm better able to keep a a more neutral spine but often fail at getting depth and I'm a little weaker that way. All forms of high bar make my lower and middle back hurt a lot. This guy is putting the bar on his triceps and his back angle out of the hole is no worse than mine http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GwPFNs2hqF8

    I also struggle with pain on my quads a lot. The lower area, above the knee. I'm thinking everything is related and I have some sort of horrible mobility issue in my hips and calves, but I don't know where to start correcting it

  2. #2
    Ben Nelson wrote:
    Ive literally had the same exact problems. I first started powerlifting in a suit so I was pretty posterior chain dominant when I got into raw. First thing I did was start hammering the quads gotta really get used to squatting with your quads a lot more then what your used to just give it time. Also you are breaking at the hips which is good but you probably arnt getting much external rotation in the knees that can help A TON in sitting down in the hole instead of straight back. I cannot tell you how my squat looked exactly like yours lol but now things are on the right track and ive made pr's but its been a bitch because my quads were weak as F&*$ lol.

    As far as knee pain I also figured that out lol... pain for me right above the knee cap happens when i get tight on the top side of the quad. I you were sitting on the ground with your legs out straight the entire top side of your thigh. Also apparently you cant actually stretch the other 3 heads to your quad no matter how much it feels like you are because they arnt actually attached to your hip. I was litterally going 2 weeks between squat workouts because of knee pain, I made it a ritual I have a stick roller, that when i wake up I roll every part of my thigh for 1 min total, 1 min after any type of leg workout deads or squat except I use a foam roller and I use the stick one more time before bed. I shit you not it made a world of difference.

  3. #3
    Ben Nelson wrote:
    Another thing I just thought of is I used to lose my deads and squats because my back would round, and I started lifting with a bunch of different people this winter and at one place we started doing really high box pulls (above the knee) with insane weight but not like getting under it and hitching it up but keeping a good deadlift form and actually pulling and that has also done wonders with my back caving... I can literally put as much weight as I can squat or dead and my back doesnt move stays neutral.

    A good mobility tip that helps a bunch of my friends is just to sit in a full squat position for a couple mins at a time (like they sit in third world countries) and that works wonders for them too mobility wise.

  4. #4
    markccj wrote:
    I think I had the same problem. Only I would force depth well below parallel which resulted in some pretty major pelvic tilt. This was only 6-7 months ago when I first returned to training.

    I received some sound advice, saw a physio, performed frequent stretching, foam rolling, and mobility drills and I've improved a fair bit. Still tuck the hips during max efforts but not nearly as bad as before and I don't go lower than necessary I just try to make sure they're IPF legal. Now I'm at the point where I can't discern whether the pelvic tilt I still experience is simply due to technique, as in I relax my hamstrings or core inadvertently, or if it's still lack of mobility in the hips or something. I'm leaning to the former because I can hit depth with lighter weights (~80%) without the tilt so my form must just break down with max weights.

    I'd advise you see a good physiotherapist. It helped me heaps.

  5. #5
    vic616283 wrote:
    Thanks a lot for the advice guys. I'm gonna start using the stick every day, stat. And I'll keep my eyes peeled in case i learn of a good PT, because I already went to one and she didn't really give me long term relief. She did rub me up with some type of ointment thing and gave me a massage that worked like magic but relief only lasted til the next time I squatted... and she carges $110 per session iirc. I'm not willing to drop that kind of dough every week so that's why I'm trying to get to the root of the problem. I'm also gonna get the heels of my shoes raised a little bit.

    The other idea you mentioned, Ben, of sitting in the squat position, I had actually thought of something similar. I'm gonna sit in squat position every morning and I'm also gonna start doing lightweight high rep long pause front squats. My front squat is not pretty but it's actually significantly less ugly than my back squat, surprisingly.

    One more thing I think I need is thoracic mobility. I don't think I lack strength because I'm a lot stronger in the deadlift than the squat and I'm able to keep a flat back while deadlifting. Anyone got tips for thoracic mobility?

  6. #6
    markccj wrote:
    Yeah, you definitely need a good one. I was heaps lucky because I'd encountered some in the past who said don't squat or pull!

    The squat stretch is a great idea. I do it daily, and I also perform bodyweight squats daily, only ~10 reps.

    Thoracic mobility was an issue for me too. Here are some of the exercises and drills I was prescribed that helped me:



    Shoulder dislocates
    Band Pull Apart
    Seated Thoracic Extension
    Seated Thoracic Rotation
    Thoracic Foam Rolling
    Lumbar Extensions
    Hip Flexor Stretches
    Hamstring Stretches


    You can't overdo them in my opinion. Not for immobile people like me anyway. The more often you do them, the more progress you make. I'm thinking about adding some dynamic mobility work back in to my program too, and even hip hyperextension movements like glute bridges or hip thrusts, maybe even some box jumps. I really need to loosen up my hips and tighten up my lumbar. Everyone suffers different impairment though so I really can't emphasize the importance of trying to find a good PT to diagnose you. If you're in Australia I know a really good one.

  7. #7
    Ben Nelson wrote:
    Yeah I got the squat thing from mobilitywod where he has a 10 min squat test and everytime one of my friends is having any type of mobility problems in or around the hips i always have them try that first.

    My deadlift has always been stronger than my squat too but if you are able to keep a neutral spine then you may be right about your t-spine

  8. #8
    AlexH wrote:
    +1 for mobility work.



    My squat was exactly the same as yours until i identified my ankles being severely restricted when it came to loaded dorsiflexion, forcing me to lean over extensively in order to keep the bar over my mid-foot.

    Another approach to fixing this would be to work "upstream", starting at your feet and moving up to the hips.

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