Squat Form

I’m having difficulties squatting and would appreciate some input.

I am unable to perform a full rep i.e. thighs parallel to the floor due to excesive bending at my hips. I even start to bend forward from a standing position once I am bearing a load.

I’ve tried reducing the weight but am still unable to reach parallel. This is restricting me to doing partial reps which do not hit my legs at all. I have no problems performing deads or heavy leg-press.

Any ideas on how I can overcome this problem? Should I stick to deads and leg-press?

If you can do deads from the floor, you should be able to squat, as the hip flexibility required is pretty much the same. When you’ve got a bar on your back, you’re going to have a little forward lean to maintain your center of gravity over your feet. You mention excess bending at the hips. Is your thigh-to-abdomen angle closing too much and causing interference? Try a wider stance and drop “between” your legs. Keep the weight high on the back (but not on the base of the neck). You could also try front squats, as the forward lean is much less.

LMD, got a few questions for you. First, how tall are you? I am 6 foot and do notice that squatting can be more difficult, than for a guy who is 5’7". Second, are you long through the legs? I have a 34" inseam and that makes leg and quad work all that more difficult. Next, how is your stance-shoulder width apart, narrow, or wide? Are you doing squats with a barbell or a smith machine? Where do you have the bar placed-more across the back of your neck, or placed in a ridge between your traps? Check out Dave Tate’s article: Squat 900 lbs. for a more in-depth approach to squatting technique-www.testosterone.net/html/body_149squat.html. If you have the newest t-mag, April 2001 issue#4, pages 92-97, Dave Tate has another article,“Squatting From Head to Toe: Introducing the Box Squat.” Again, with pictures, he breaks down squatting technique a la Westside Style. I hope this helps.-The Starkdog.

Starkdog,

I’m also 6 foot and have a 32" inseam. My stance is slightly wider than shoulder width, toes pointing outwards slightly. I must admit that the wider my stance is, the easier I find it to squat but I was under the impression that a VERY wide stance can be dangerous and places less emphasis on your quads - am I wrong? I use a barbell for squats. I place the bar on the ridge between my traps - can this affect how much you bend?

I would also add that I weigh 225 pounds and have naturally skinny/bandy legs! I'm a hell of a lot thicker up top, always have been. Christ know's what I'd weigh if my legs were brought into line with my upper body!

Thanks for the input guys, I will read the suggested articles and will try a wide stance (provided it's safe to do so).

I am 6’4’', and I have really long femurs (nice spelling). I have had a long battle with squats, and I gave them up. I can actually squat quite a bit (relatively speaking) but I got some wicked problems after squating every time. If you lower the bar you will bend forward less, but you won’t be able to stand fully erect under it. Deads are better for tall lifters and when combined with leg presses can add up nicely. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t HAVE to squat.

Probably the easiest way for you to learn how to squat is to perform box squats. I have all my new trainees start off doing box squats as it’s pretty rare that I get someone who can do a squat correctly from the get to. Read Dave Tates article on box squatting and also work on your calf, hip flexor, hamstring and quadricep flexibility.