No balance when squatting, any advice?

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    No balance when squatting, any advice?


    Hello all, I'm pretty new to the forums but I've been lifting on and off for a little. I started early but quit for a while, and now I'm back into the groove with a lot more dedication and discipline.

    I started lifting with my current bulking routine July of 09 at 150 skinny as a rail with horrific diet and after some bulking I'm at 190ish (mostly muscle but I got a generous fat bulge in my stomach area. I will be cutting starting march 5th). I am more than happy with my progress but my huge problem is I can't squat. Everyone at my gym gets frustrated with me and won't correct my form. I deadlift, hack squat, leg press, and box squat to make up for it but I want to do real squats. I lose balance every time I try to practice my form and not go over my toes. If I were to try a squat with the bar and any weight I would fall backwards right to the floor.

    I searched around a little and saw most of it was dude to a lack of flexibility so I started stretching but anyone have some advice? It seems like nobody has this problem. I am making huge progress on everything I do and I really want to squat and not look like Johnny Bravo walking around with no legs.

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    First off, the difference between bulking and cutting is calories.

    Second, post a video of your squat form so we can see how you are squatting. Are you putting your toes at 30 degrees?
    Former Marine, UT-BSN, NSCA-CPT, NASM-CPT, CSCS
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    It's tough to say without seeing you squat. You always fall over backwards?
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    In regards to the first post, I didn't really watch what I ate. I just skyrocketed my protein intake, all I cared about was weight. I am naturally skinny so I can eat fat all day and only retain a little, but my diet wasn't clean so some fat was acquired. I wasn't eating pizzas all the time, but in between chicken meals, if I wanted a candy bar I'd eat it. Now I will be dropping my calorie intake and working at definition to lose that fat.

    But back to the squat, I'm not sure if I can get a video, but I don't literally fall to the ground. I break form and catch myself, which is usually 2 steps backwards until I regain balance. Toes pointed outward 30 degrees like mentioned above and seen in some videos, and go into the seated position with back straight and chest out, and as soon as my weight shifts downward I feel myself falling back. I'll see if I can have someone help me make a video of it.
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    Lean forward more. Really if your falling backward thats the most logical thing. Also maybe your holding the bar to high on your back. The lower I get the bar on my back more I can sit back. When I do high bar squats I can't get as deep.
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    Well I can't get very deep with squats in general due to my poor flexibility (which I am working on) but unfortunately I will not be able to get a video until maybe around Thursday. I realize this makes helping me near impossible. Right before posting this I just practiced in the mirror and it seems like I drop down a little too fast, possibly because I'm only using a bar, but if I go with a wider stance I am more stable. Is this acceptable? I know there are variations of squats to target different parts of the legs, but I just want regular 'ol hard grunting, tree trunk building squats to happen. A little over shoulder's width is just too narrow for me and I fall back.

    Also isn't leaning forward terrible for your back? My shoulders are almost in-line with my feet which is on the verge of not being correct form. Shouldn't you be behind the toes at all times?
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    Quote Originally Posted by sub001 View Post
    Well I can't get very deep with squats in general due to my poor flexibility (which I am working on) but unfortunately I will not be able to get a video until maybe around Thursday. I realize this makes helping me near impossible. Right before posting this I just practiced in the mirror and it seems like I drop down a little too fast, possibly because I'm only using a bar, but if I go with a wider stance I am more stable. Is this acceptable? I know there are variations of squats to target different parts of the legs, but I just want regular 'ol hard grunting, tree trunk building squats to happen. A little over shoulder's width is just too narrow for me and I fall back.

    Also isn't leaning forward terrible for your back? My shoulders are almost in-line with my feet which is on the verge of not being correct form. Shouldn't you be behind the toes at all times?
    Wait, so you are trying to keep your torso completely upright when you squat? The bar needs to remain over the midpoint of your foot. The degree that you lean forward will vary, depending on stance and bar placement. But you will have to lean forward at least some, leaning forward isn't bad, losing the arch in your lower back is what's bad for your back.

    Also stop trying to look at your form while you are squatting, pick a spot in front of you to stare at the entire time you are squatting.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rckvl7 View Post
    The bar needs to remain over the midpoint of your foot. You will have to lean forward at least some, leaning forward isn't bad, losing the arch in your lower back is what's bad for your back.

    stop trying to look at your form
    pick a spot in front of you to stare at the entire time you are squatting.
    Allright, got it. Thanks a lot. I might try some haggard crappy minisquats (partially because of no flexibility, partially to keep controlled form) and see how I do. I can try and get a video or pics at that time.
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    You could also try putting some weight plates under your heels until the flexibility gets better and your form improves. Then pull the plates and go from there.
    Always open light. Itís not what you open with, itís what you finish with. Louie Simmons
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    Quote Originally Posted by AZMIDLYF View Post
    You could also try putting some weight plates under your heels until the flexibility gets better and your form improves. Then pull the plates and go from there.

    Is this safe to do? Again, I know it is another exercise working different muscles, but I have heard it is bad to do this in the same was as improper smith machine squats or hack squats. When trying to squat it feels like having something to put my heels up on would be perfect but I just never tried it because I don't want to injure myself either now or down the road.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sub001 View Post
    Is this safe to do? Again, I know it is another exercise working different muscles, but I have heard it is bad to do this in the same was as improper smith machine squats or hack squats. When trying to squat it feels like having something to put my heels up on would be perfect but I just never tried it because I don't want to injure myself either now or down the road.
    It's fine until you can fix your flexibility issue. Just make sure it's something stable that won't make you slip or break. They actually make squat shoes with an elevated heel just for this purpose, that would be best but putting something under your heels works too.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sub001 View Post
    Is this safe to do? Again, I know it is another exercise working different muscles, but I have heard it is bad to do this in the same was as improper smith machine squats or hack squats. When trying to squat it feels like having something to put my heels up on would be perfect but I just never tried it because I don't want to injure myself either now or down the road.
    This is not a problem at all. I used 5 lb plates for probably a month until my form and comfort level improved.
    Always open light. Itís not what you open with, itís what you finish with. Louie Simmons
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    Quote Originally Posted by AZMIDLYF View Post
    You could also try putting some weight plates under your heels until the flexibility gets better and your form improves. Then pull the plates and go from there.
    x2 this does work.

    Also when I use 2 plates instead of 1, I get a nice squeeze on the quads.
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    Awesome, I really appreciate all the advice. I'll try the heel plate thing tomorrow or Wednesday on my day off so I have time to play around with it.
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    just don't do **** like this. Practice makes perfect
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    maybe spread your legs a little more and make sure your toes are pointed out slightly. practice without a bar first. your probably falling backwards because your trying to keep your back straight up and down perpendicular with the ground. keep your back straight but you can bend it like this ---> / not like this -----> ( So remember legs spread toes angled. by the way its pretty hard to go below parallel if you don't want knees to go over toes. also make sure your knees are going in the direction their angled, if they begin to buckle you got too much weight on there buddy.
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    i had the same problem back in the day!! it took me a long time to find the sweet spot with the bar cause of my traps, i found looking slightly up through the whole movement and the right shoes helped alot!im surprised the box squats havnt helped you out?? also if you dont use enough weight that will through you off i cant even warm up with less than 275
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    Quote Originally Posted by pdredman72 View Post
    i had the same problem back in the day!! it took me a long time to find the sweet spot with the bar cause of my traps, i found looking slightly up through the whole movement and the right shoes helped alot!im surprised the box squats havnt helped you out?? also if you dont use enough weight that will through you off i cant even warm up with less than 275
    This might be a reason too, but I don't want to go heavy and end up falling over. And as for shoes, I have the same wrestling shoes (from kickboxing/mma practice) as the huge tan guy in that picture above. I can start wearing those.
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    Doing what we call a "Super-Man" will show you how your back should be during a squat. Push your chest out is a way of creating an arch, but another way is this: lay down on the floor on your stomach. Afterward, put your hands behind your head and extend your neck and legs. Your back should be arched, but make sure that you didn't use your toes to push your legs up and you used your back instead.
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    1. Spread your legs more
    2. Use a mirror to watch your form
    3. Ask an experienced lifter to watch your form - seriously, don't hesitate to ask someone there for help
    4. Watch videos on YouTube, there are a million instructional video's on this

    http://www.youtube.com/results?searc...aq=2&oq=Squat+

    http://www.youtube.com/results?searc...rch_type=&aq=f

    Good luck man,

    X
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    ahh i had this problem which kept me from squatting too...

    1. Stretch out ur hip adductors and abductors, along with your lower back and lats,hams and quads b4 you lift... you also may wanna walk on the tredmill.

    2. your either gonna be hamstring dominant or quad dominant. for me i use to deadlift alot i was hamstring dominant.. so i did the maching where it keeps ur back straight your legs are sort of 90 degrees and i went real low and worked my quads hard..I unfortunately cant give you advice on what to do if your hamstrings are week id imagine box squat with a variety of boxes..

    3. read wendlers articles on squatting. His will help with a raw squat..

    4. practice the form with light weights leave the ego at the door, i use to be able to squat 365 untill i realized i look dumb doing a quarter squat.. now im about to hit a 315 ATG squat....

    and overall it sounds like you need to spread ur legs and act like ur pushing the floor out with ur feet.. point your toes out slightly.puff ur chest out squeeze the **** outta the bar put it low on your traps, arch your lower back and stick ur ass out first.. then reverse the motion back up
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    Quote Originally Posted by brownstown89 View Post
    ahh i had this problem which kept me from squatting too...

    1. Stretch out ur hip adductors and abductors, along with your lower back and lats,hams and quads b4 you lift... you also may wanna walk on the tredmill.

    2. your either gonna be hamstring dominant or quad dominant. for me i use to deadlift alot i was hamstring dominant.. so i did the maching where it keeps ur back straight your legs are sort of 90 degrees and i went real low and worked my quads hard..I unfortunately cant give you advice on what to do if your hamstrings are week id imagine box squat with a variety of boxes..

    3. read wendlers articles on squatting. His will help with a raw squat..

    4. practice the form with light weights leave the ego at the door, i use to be able to squat 365 untill i realized i look dumb doing a quarter squat.. now im about to hit a 315 ATG squat....

    and overall it sounds like you need to spread ur legs and act like ur pushing the floor out with ur feet.. point your toes out slightly.puff ur chest out squeeze the **** outta the bar put it low on your traps, arch your lower back and stick ur ass out first.. then reverse the motion back up
    Thanks, this helps a lot. I really need to get someone who knows what they are doing and can teach to show me. My one main workout friend knows pretty much everything, but can't teach for crap. Every time I feel like I am doing a perfect squat within my abilities he says I am leaning to much or need to move my feet in a way that is awkward to me and not real help on the squat (ie. "Point toes 30 degrees out" is helpful, not "move your legs in more" when it's my natural stance and not really far out). I listen to what he says and take it into consideration but he is sort of telling me what works for him, not what is a good squat.
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    Make sure your butt goes BACK and down, not just straight down. Like you are sitting back on a toilet.
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    It's because there has to be a specific breaking point that cannot be identified without a 2nd party. You can't squat in the mirror and see since you could only see the front which would require you to look up and that is bad for your cervical and you cannot see the side of your body which a squat should be critiqued from.

    Furthermore, the hips must either break first or the break must be simultaneous. If the knees break first the bar path will be straight down and the tension will stay within the quads without a balancing tension to the hamstrings and glutes. You want to pretend you're setting on a toilet as someone else mentioned. This is the reason that box squatting is the best way to teach someone how to break properly if they do not have a coach present.

    Another poster has already said it, but try to keep parallel alignment within the bar and your feet. And this exercise is not a leg press, so don't push up from your feet; you're supposed to use your hips.
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    Thanks for more advice everyone. I started practicing with the bar and doing more smith machine squats. My flexibility has greatly increased and it's one of those exercises that once you start routinely doing it, it becomes much easier. I can pretty much ATG smith machine squats now and I am almost comfortably parallel on regular squats. All this advice has helped a lot. My quads hate all of you haha. They will be happy once they are tree trunks though!
  

  
 

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