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Can't Squat Dammit! watch

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    Hey everyone.

    I'm thinking of joining a local gym and using the starting strength program to build some muscle so before I did anything drastic I attempted a squat for the first time at home.

    I don't know if I'm inflexible or off balance but I just can't go deep enough to call it an actual squat. If I use support on my heels then I can squat properly but unfortunately I usually fall over backwards when flat footed or I just can't squat deep enough.

    Any pointers?
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    (Original post by S.U.B)
    Hey everyone.

    I'm thinking of joining a local gym and using the starting strength program to build some muscle so before I did anything drastic I attempted a squat for the first time at home.

    I don't know if I'm inflexible or off balance but I just can't go deep enough to call it an actual squat. If I use support on my heels then I can squat properly but unfortunately I usually fall over backwards when flat footed or I just can't squat deep enough.

    Any pointers?
    You must be doing it wrong. If you're falling over backwards, you might be holding your body too upright- its ok to bend over forwards a bit. Look at some videos of squats on Youtube, they really aren't that hard.
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    You sit with your arse. Push it out and keep your back straight.

    Knees don't go infront of your toes at any point.

    Weight on your heels i think... not too sure on that one.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dbxxs1PErLQ

    ^ Do not know if this is great example, quick find at 4 in them morning :P
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    (Original post by teriaki)
    You must be doing it wrong. If you're falling over backwards, you might be holding your body too upright- its ok to bend over forwards a bit. Look at some videos of squats on Youtube, they really aren't that hard.
    Thanks for the advice. I've seen some videos and it doesn't look to bad but putting it into action yields some bad results. When I bend forward then fix my posture (arch my back) I fall short of going parallel and I want to go below parallel to really make the squat effective.
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    Are you doing bodyweight squats? It will be easier to get below parallel once you've got weight on top of you.

    It just means your body is not used to getting into that position right now. It will.

    I know Rippetoe and many others don't recommend putting something under the heels, but I had a friend use 1.25kg plates under his heels for about a week or so. But I also would also made him do it without the plates and I'd push down on the bar when he was at the bottom. That was when he was only squatting just 45-50kg now he's over 70kg.

    He probably could've done it eventually without the heel elevation but I got tired of picking him up after wobbling and falling over.

    Get someone that knows how to squat properly to help you in person.

    Good luck.
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    I have the same problem. I just cant balance very well when flat footed. Think it might be calve inflexibility for me.
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    There is a magical, mythical book written that covers this question in detail. It is called Starting Strength: BBT.

    Pick it up from pullum sports or amazon or something and read it.
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    (Original post by Cardozo)
    You sit with your arse. Push it out and keep your back straight.

    Knees don't go infront of your toes at any point.

    Weight on your heels i think... not too sure on that one.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dbxxs1PErLQ

    ^ Do not know if this is great example, quick find at 4 in them morning :P
    Not technically ture, it is true of a wide equipped squat, but not a normal unequipped squat.

    if you sit back your centre of gravity is moved backwards and so to stay balanced the torso must lean forward leading to a good morning type squat. Unless you are a wide squatter, which is not optimal for power and strength building but is for kit and maximum weight.

    This is from a strength coach (and Oly lifter) who worked closely with Ed Coan
    “If you would be falling backward, your center of mass is clearly behind your base (feet). You're attempting to counter this imbalance with the forward lean, but of course such forward lean prevents successful front and overhead squatting, and places unreasonable demands on hip extensor flexibility to maintain lumbar extension. In order to achieve a more upright torso position and maintain balance, the hips must move in closer to the feet, which can be accomplished in two basic ways--driving the knees farther forward and/or orienting the feet/knees more to the sides.

    In your drawing, you knees are not extending further than your toes--get the idea that this is necessary, beneficial or even possible in most cases out of your head. Your knees MUST protrude over your toes at least slightly in order to achieve the desired position--how much will depend on your body segment lengths.

    Turning the feet out more with a slightly wider foot placement will mitigate the long femur problem to a degree by minimizing the horizontal movement of the hips (knees travel more to the sides than forward). However, there are very real limits to how wide and externally rotated you can get without actually limiting depth and increasing the potential for knee and hip injury.

    Ankle flexibility is the limiting factor in regard to horizontal knee position--clearly if you're unable to dorsiflex the ankle adequately, the knees cannot travel far enough forward, and since they're attached to the knees, neither can the hips, placing you in that excessive forward leaning position you describe.


    Another post he made suggests that if depth can be achieved with a narrower stance with less forward movement of the bar to keep it over the base that it is actually ankle flexibility causing the problem, they cannot flex anymore to allow the knees to travel further so to hit depth the hips must travel backwards and this causes a lean forwards.
    Look at this pic, note the kness are over and past the toes!

    Capt Kirk Karwoski
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    Thanks for the informative responses. I have now sourced out the problem.

    (Original post by partoftheweekend)
    I have the same problem. I just cant balance very well when flat footed. Think it might be calve inflexibility for me.
    Same for me it looks like.

    (Original post by Googled Website on Calf Flexibility)
    How Flexible Should You Be?

    The soleus should be flexible enough that square on you can bend your knee 12-14cm in front of your toes (with your heel on the ground). To test this, stand front on to a wall, place a marker out from the wall at 12cm. Placing your toe on the mark, bend your leg until your knee touches the wall. If you cannot do it adjust the marker. Note down the value for each leg.

    The gastrocnemius should be flexible enough that with your foot up at 45°, your knee can touch the wall. Check both sides.
    I horribly failed this test. As I said before, I can only squat with weight on heels or something under my heels or I will fall in shame.
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    (Original post by S.U.B)
    Thanks for the informative responses. I have now sourced out the problem.



    Same for me it looks like.



    I horribly failed this test. As I said before, I can only squat with weight on heels or something under my heels or I will fall in shame.
    What do you mean by, "weight on heels"?
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    If i were you, i'd try and get the form right on a low weight on a smith machine. It'll keep you moving in the same direction and will help you balance too.
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    (Original post by ChrisLincoln)
    If i were you, i'd try and get the form right on a low weight on a smith machine. It'll keep you moving in the same direction and will help you balance too.
    Please don't. There is no good reason to use a Smith to squat. None. How will it help him balance if it's doing the balance for him?
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    (Original post by SMed)
    Please don't. There is no good reason to use a Smith to squat. None. How will it help him balance if it's doing the balance for him?
    It'll help him get the body position correct without having to worry about falling over which is probably the main thing distracting him from doing it in the first place. And i didn't say use it to squat. I just said to get form.
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    (Original post by ChrisLincoln)
    It'll help him get the body position correct without having to worry about falling over which is probably the main thing distracting him from doing it in the first place. And i didn't say use it to squat. I just said to get form.
    I say no.
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    (Original post by SMed)
    I say no.
    :train:
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    (Original post by ChrisLincoln)
    It'll help him get the body position correct without having to worry about falling over which is probably the main thing distracting him from doing it in the first place. And i didn't say use it to squat. I just said to get form.
    But the smith doesn't put you in the right position to squat, so it's impossible to do it with good form.
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    (Original post by Brotherhood)
    But the smith doesn't put you in the right position to squat, so it's impossible to do it with good form.
    Try it.
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    (Original post by ChrisLincoln)
    Try it.
    I think I'll stick to doing the non-pussy version, thanks.
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    (Original post by Brotherhood)
    I think I'll stick to doing the non-pussy version, thanks.
    I didn't tell him to do squats with the smith machine in general, i just said at first to practice form. And i don't use the smith machine to squat. But you can get correct form using a smith machine.
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    (Original post by S.U.B)
    I horribly failed this test. As I said before, I can only squat with weight on heels or something under my heels or I will fall in shame.
    This isn't necessarily a problem - I can't do it because I've got really short legs (naturally the actual angle you need to acheive to complete the test is reliant on proportions) but I can comfortably take over 100kg below parallel.
 
 
 
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