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Excessive forward lean on squats

Discussion in 'Strength & Conditioning Discussion' started by Sirakoz, Jun 30, 2010.

  1. Sirakoz

    Sirakoz White Belt

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    Lately, on my working sets for squat, I lean forward excessively on some repetitions. This means that the weight ends up on my toes, and i'm essentially GMing the weight up, or stalling. This seems to be caused by my hips rising faster than my shoulders.


    Any advice on fixing this?
    Could it be a glute activation problems? Do my hip muscles need stretching? Am I not focused enough?

    Mehdi @ stronglifts has an article on this. Any additional advice or did he cover everything?

    Thanks.

    edit: I'm doing low bar squats, and working weight is 245lbs.
     
  2. Klotz

    Klotz Shalom

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    Could just be a core strength issue. Are you puffing a deep breath into your belly before squatting?

    Also make sure you sit back and not down, as if onto a toilet.
     
  3. plugchop

    plugchop Blue Belt

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    Have you tried not leaning forward?
     
  4. Origins

    Origins Blue Belt

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    I would say to make sure you are sitting back, breaking at the hips first, and focusing on keeping the weight on your heels. I like to try to keep my shins as vertical as possible. It is impossible to keep them completely perpendicular to the floor, but it helps to try because it forces you to sit back.
     
  5. Beable

    Beable Blue Belt

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    This is one of the complaints that the powerlifters at my gym have with Rippetoe. Do you look down when you squat? I don't particularly have a dog in this fight, but they argue that looking down can cause you to lean forward too much.
     
  6. Endo

    Endo o hai!

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    When you go to the bar, try keeping a big chest up, take a deep breath and lead with your ass when going down for the squat. Keep your head neutral or straight ahead.

    Focus on keeping your back straight or almost similar to the upper part of a back extension. I've trained myself to keep my chest up and focus on locking my lower back muscles. I can feel when my lower/upper back isn't locked up now, and at that point, I know I'm doing it wrong.

    In other words, focus less on the movement with your legs, and focus more exclusively on back tightness and having your chest up. If your chest is up, you cannot lean forward. Sit into the squat, not squat into the squat.
     
  7. Oblivian

    Oblivian Aging Platinum Member

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    This is a very common problem. I used to have it as well, and I basically avoided Back Squats in exchange for doing Front Squats. I wish I would have never done that. There are multiple things that helped me. First and foremost, squatting at least twice a week helped me. Even on a day where I wasn't scheduled to squat, I'd maybe do a couple sets with really light weight with my warmup just to work on form. I was basically doing a 5x5 linear progression one day starting really low on weight and then a heavier day with lower reps. Even on the heavy days I started pretty light and did a linear progression.

    Anyways, here are other things I focused on:
    1. I have to look up. I tried the looking straight ahead and looking down method. If I did that, I had the GM problem.
    2. Box Squats. I rarely do Box Squats now, but I had to do them quite a bit. I think I did them with all of my warmup sets for quite a while.
    3. A mental cue that helped me a lot was to think about driving my upper body backwards when I start to drive my heels into the ground.
    4. Angling my feet and keeping the knees pushed backwards. This really helped me sit back in the pocket.

    Hopefully that helps. I also had a layoff from squats due to lack of a rack. Having weight on my back felt awkward as can be, so it took some getting used to.
     
  8. CoreCanyon

    CoreCanyon Geez, lots of new people.

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    ^^This^^

    and be heavier in your heels.
     
  9. CrazyNutz

    CrazyNutz White Belt

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    Sacrifice your pride and drop the weight on your working sets until you can fix the form problems with the advice given above.
     
  10. turbozed

    turbozed Red Belt

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    I second this. Almost all the guys at my gym who squat somewhat heavy have this problem. Low-bar, lean over and collapse the body, stick the ass up, and no sitting in between the legs but over the legs resulting in the hips never breaking parallel. It's a 'squat-morning.' Apparently more weight can be moved this way, and you get the sense that you're going low when it's just your upper body and head going lower.

    I don't know if there will be problems down the road squatting in this manner, but it sure seems like it could since the back has a heavy load on it and does not remain rigid during this GM-like bending.
     
  11. Oblivian

    Oblivian Aging Platinum Member

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    A video would definitely help to see what is going on. As turbozed just said, a lot of people don't break parallel due to this and it's just an ego boost. However, it's also possible to break parallel but just have your hips rise much faster than everything else. If it's the latter, it's definitely not an ego boost as your squat will be much weaker than what it should be.
     
  12. BoxingFan123

    BoxingFan123 Purple Belt

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    High or Low Bar?
     
  13. Sirakoz

    Sirakoz White Belt

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    I'm deloading tonight to 220lbs (10%) because of this and because I stalled at this weight 3 times. I don't really have problems with lowering weights if it means not injuring myself.

    The reason this happens is definitely my hips rising faster than anything else. I can feel it happening, and a couple of my friends have seen it when I asked them to check my form.
     
  14. Falufalump

    Falufalump Green Belt

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    Keep that chest up, abs tight.
     
  15. Oblivian

    Oblivian Aging Platinum Member

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    Have you ever tried focusing on your upper body during the lift? When my hips used to rise that fast and I'd good morning the weight, I think I was relaxing my upper body a bit and not staying tight. Keep your upper body strong and your abs tight. Do not get relaxed on the descent either. Again, it's hard to tell without a video.

    Is this basically what you are doing? YouTube - Squat: 325 lbs x 1 That's an old video after I just got my sumo rack and I started back squatting again. It's painful to watch.
     
  16. Sirakoz

    Sirakoz White Belt

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    I do exactly what you do in that video Oblivian.
     
  17. gjb0429

    gjb0429 White Belt

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    make sure to put your weight on your heels, and not just in the middle of ur foot. If you are leaning foward you are putting harmful pressure on to your knees. If you can keep the weight on your heels it will be easier to keep proper form.
     
  18. Oblivian

    Oblivian Aging Platinum Member

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    The other posts I put in the thread is what helped me. I definitely feel you should be squatting at least twice a week. A low rep day with a lot of sets helps. With less reps, I felt like I could concentrate of fixing form issues with heavier weight. I used to fix form issues but then breakdown at a decent weight, so the low rep day helps you get used to that. Focus on your upper body and try to lead with the chest if you have this issue. Rippetoe actually advised to lead with the chest instead of the hips if this is the case.
     
  19. HarshlyIrish

    HarshlyIrish White Belt

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    I have the same problem, TS. I went to a decent personal trainer/powerlifter and found out my glutes are not activating and I have bad lower back flexibility. At the moment, I'm doing alot of warm up exercises and then light Box Squats and wide-stance squats in an effort to sort it.

    I'd also have a look at the Squat Rx series on youtube. They are helping me alot. Sorry, don't know how to embed but the link is below.

    YouTube - Squat Rx #2

    Hope it helps. Good luck.
     
  20. $ick Money!

    $ick Money! Orange Belt

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    Here is an article from Dave Tate about upper back tightness. I have a problem with keeping a lordotic curve in the lumbar spine and "pulling my sternum and belly button apart" has helped me.

    Squat Technique 101
     

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