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Old 09-29-2012, 09:09 PM   #1
Tony Daggett
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Squat help---can't keep torso upright

Hey folks---
The long and short of it is that my squatting needs some serious troubleshooting. I can't go Olympic style (a$$-to-the-grass) and keep my torso upright.

Here are a few videos (all safe for work):

http://youtu.be/rWVlXNRSokE

http://youtu.be/wKUUj0o3joA

http://youtu.be/oW0a2yejv38

http://youtu.be/ieKieCZqKOE


Would appreciate any feedback, along with practical suggestions I can implement to work toward getting that torso more upright. This is really limiting my squat progress.

Thanks!
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Old 09-29-2012, 11:01 PM   #2
Tyler Goerlitz
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Re: Squat help---can't keep torso upright

I would say do not go full depth for now. Go right until the form breaks. Set up a box or something behind you that limits how far down you go, it was also get you more comfortable getting into the right positions and turning on the right muscles. With something there you won't have the fear of falling on your butt. When you do have the box there do touch and go squats. Touch your butt and go don't let your self sit on the box. Hope this helps a little. My gf had the same problem she is still working on some of this stuff but her squat improved pretty quick.
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Old 09-30-2012, 01:10 PM   #3
Struan Potter
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Re: Squat help---can't keep torso upright

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Daggett View Post
Hey folks---
The long and short of it is that my squatting needs some serious troubleshooting. I can't go Olympic style (a$$-to-the-grass) and keep my torso upright.

Here are a few videos (all safe for work):

http://youtu.be/rWVlXNRSokE

http://youtu.be/wKUUj0o3joA

http://youtu.be/oW0a2yejv38

http://youtu.be/ieKieCZqKOE


Would appreciate any feedback, along with practical suggestions I can implement to work toward getting that torso more upright. This is really limiting my squat progress.

Thanks!
Get lifting shoes and stretch your calves/ankles a tonne. Don't use a box to limit depth.
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Old 09-30-2012, 01:53 PM   #4
Nathan Holmes
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Re: Squat help---can't keep torso upright

Tony,

Take another look at your videos and watch to see where your knees are relative to your toes. On your more successful squats (i.e. the ones where you don't fall over backwards) you will see that your knees are further over your toes. On the squats where you fall over backwards, your knees never are barely forward of your ankle. One of the girls I train had the exact same issue. We focused on stretching out her calves and ankles (like Struan just suggested) after her warm up but before her workout each day and the issue went away.

The person who was videoing you started to comment on your back curving. I don't think have a significant problem with your back but if you want work on maintaining proper form once you are able to go A2G, you should check out this thread: http://www.board.crossfit.com/showthread.php?t=77200 (SFW)

John Corona gave some great advice (last post) and check out the second link I provided for more faults/corrections on squat.
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Old 09-30-2012, 06:28 PM   #5
Tony Daggett
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Re: Squat help---can't keep torso upright

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Originally Posted by Nathan Holmes View Post
Tony,

Take another look at your videos and watch to see where your knees are relative to your toes. On your more successful squats (i.e. the ones where you don't fall over backwards) you will see that your knees are further over your toes. On the squats where you fall over backwards, your knees never are barely forward of your ankle. One of the girls I train had the exact same issue. We focused on stretching out her calves and ankles (like Struan just suggested) after her warm up but before her workout each day and the issue went away.

The person who was videoing you started to comment on your back curving. I don't think have a significant problem with your back but if you want work on maintaining proper form once you are able to go A2G, you should check out this thread: http://www.board.crossfit.com/showthread.php?t=77200 (SFW)

John Corona gave some great advice (last post) and check out the second link I provided for more faults/corrections on squat.

I think you're onto something about my ankle flexibility. I just measured how far I can extend my knees over my toes---it's almost 5 inches for my right knee, but only an inch or so for my left. I had a very serious surgery on my left ankle some years back---I'm guessing this is the culprit. This would also explain why I can do pistols on my right leg with little problem, but not at all on my left. I would appreciate any advice on improving the flexbility for my left ankle.

As for my back--it's fairly strong (I just deadlifted 405 with no problem a few weeks back). But I would definitely want my torso to be a lot more upright when I squat (after all, when it comes time to snatch or overhead squat, the more upright your torso is, the more weight you be able to handle safely). I'm guessing it's some combination of improved ankle flexibility, hip flexibility and core strength. I've been doing hollow rocks for the last three weeks to shore up the latter. Would appreciate any additional pointers you have on this and will definitely check out that link.


@ Struan

Will definitely look into getting lifting shoes. Have been pretty diligent about calf stretches. I think I need to improve my hip flexion/flexibility quite a bit though---any ideas?


@ Tyler

Thanks for the suggestion definitely going to integrate box squat in my workouts---they're fairly popular at the box I go to.
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Old 10-03-2012, 01:07 AM   #6
Sean Mullins
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Re: Squat help---can't keep torso upright

Can you try some tests for me?

First one is squat with some small plates under you heals.
Second is before squating tighten your abs down as in actually move to tighten them down an inch. Hold this pressure while squating into the bottom of your squat.

First one it just confirmation on that ankle issue. Second test is looking for a hip issue.

-Sean
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Old 10-03-2012, 10:17 PM   #7
Ashkan Houshmand
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Re: Squat help---can't keep torso upright

What people said in here about flexibility is true, however you have another problem. One that i have as well.

Im 6'1 with a long femur. From the look of it, it seems youre built the same way.

Sadly keeping the torso near perfectly upright (like catching a clean) for us is rather difficult, and will take years to master. We need to take wider stance to "shorten" the femur, get some weightlifting shoes to aid ankle flexibilty and knee path, and stretch like you life depends on it. Mobility comes first for us.
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Old 10-04-2012, 10:18 AM   #8
Mike Berger
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Re: Squat help---can't keep torso upright

A little tip from a power lifter, LOOK UP.....When you're coming up, look up at the ceiling.
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Old 10-04-2012, 11:59 AM   #9
Ashkan Houshmand
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Re: Squat help---can't keep torso upright

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Originally Posted by Mike Berger View Post
A little tip from a power lifter, LOOK UP.....When you're coming up, look up at the ceiling.
Strongly disagree with this, whether its olympic lifting or powerlifting.

Im surprised you say look up as a powerlifter. Much more efficient to keep a neutral head, and go for that double chin look, as Mark Bell always says, to keep the spine tight.
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Old 10-04-2012, 01:00 PM   #10
Aushion Chatman
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Re: Squat help---can't keep torso upright

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ashkan Houshmand View Post
Strongly disagree with this, whether its olympic lifting or powerlifting.

Im surprised you say look up as a powerlifter. Much more efficient to keep a neutral head, and go for that double chin look, as Mark Bell always says, to keep the spine tight.

EH?! I've never heard of keeping a double chin look. In general most PL'ers will tell you the body follows the head.

Plus this guy is air squatting so both comments from you and Mike are a little off topic, but in general I agree with Mike, look up, or at least keep a neutral gaze I would definitely not shoot for a double chin...??

------

OP,

ON Video #1 the second squat where you fell back you started with your knees instead of your hips, then your body tried to self correct because you probably felt the weight on the balls of your feet and you simply over corrected and fell back. That's my take.

Yep ankle flexibility could be an issue, have you tried taking a slightly wider stance?
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