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  1. #1
    Registered User cryptyk's Avatar
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    Unable to do squats due to lack of flexibility

    Hi,
    I'm new here, and new to bodybuliding. I started at 6'4" and 155lbs. REALLY skinny. I started eating right and lifting 3 months ago, and have put on close to 22lbs, so things are going pretty well.
    I'm concentrating on pretty basic compound exercises - initially on machines because I felt safer, but now I'm using free-weights.
    My problem and question is regarding squats. I understand how crucial they are to full body strength, but I can't do them properly because of my flexibility. Ever since I was a kid, I had problems with my feet - high arches and abnormally thick and short achilles/hamstring tendon. I had to wear shoe inserts for most of my childhood to avoid walking on my tiptoes everywhere I went. If I keep my feet flat on the ground, I am unable to squat down more than about 6-8 inches. If I want to go any further down, I need to transition to the balls of my feet - I can't keep my heel down.
    This, of course, prevents me from keeping my heels on the ground if I do squats. I'm concerned about doing them because of the lack of stability because I'm balancing on the balls of my feet.

    This went kind of long in the explanation, but basically I'm looking for options, including "extreme" ways of increasing my flexibility. I'm already stretching my hammies (by placing my heel on a bench and leaning forward) 3 times daily, but haven't seen any real flexibility improvement. I'm thinking maybe I should use the Jean Claude Van Damme "Kickboxer" method?

    It's really frustrating.
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  2. #2
    Keto FTMFW! Uriel_da_man's Avatar
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    Just stretch. Stretch every day your calves and hamstrings. Do lots of bodyweight squats (or just with the bar) to get you body used to it. Also do sldl's or rdl's as part of your leg training, these help build hamstring flexibility too.
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    Put a 10 or 25 pound plate under your heels. That should keep them elevated enough while still keeping them stable. And of course, stretch. But don't give up on squats.
    I used to be 135 pounds, give me a break.

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  4. #4
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    Originally Posted by Uriel_da_man
    Just stretch. Stretch every day your calves and hamstrings. Do lots of bodyweight squats (or just with the bar) to get you body used to it. Also do sldl's or rdl's as part of your leg training, these help build hamstring flexibility too.
    Great advice.

    Being taller does make it more difficult, and what worked for me was starting off with a wider stance and in between workouts spending time sitting in an ATG position for a few minutes at a time since my calves were really tight and that helped. Look into stretches for the hips, hams, glutes, and calves. It'll all help increase your flexibility. If you start putting plates under your heels you'll begin to use them as a crutch and it won't fix the problem. Address it now and you'll be comfortably full squatting in no time.
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    Originally Posted by cryptyk
    Hi,
    I'm new here, and new to bodybuliding. I started at 6'4" and 155lbs. REALLY skinny. I started eating right and lifting 3 months ago, and have put on close to 22lbs, so things are going pretty well.
    I'm concentrating on pretty basic compound exercises - initially on machines because I felt safer, but now I'm using free-weights.
    My problem and question is regarding squats. I understand how crucial they are to full body strength, but I can't do them properly because of my flexibility. Ever since I was a kid, I had problems with my feet - high arches and abnormally thick and short achilles/hamstring tendon. I had to wear shoe inserts for most of my childhood to avoid walking on my tiptoes everywhere I went. If I keep my feet flat on the ground, I am unable to squat down more than about 6-8 inches. If I want to go any further down, I need to transition to the balls of my feet - I can't keep my heel down.
    This, of course, prevents me from keeping my heels on the ground if I do squats. I'm concerned about doing them because of the lack of stability because I'm balancing on the balls of my feet.

    This went kind of long in the explanation, but basically I'm looking for options, including "extreme" ways of increasing my flexibility. I'm already stretching my hammies (by placing my heel on a bench and leaning forward) 3 times daily, but haven't seen any real flexibility improvement. I'm thinking maybe I should use the Jean Claude Van Damme "Kickboxer" method?

    It's really frustrating.
    Whats your squat stance like? I had trouble squatting at 6'3 when I started, and I widened out my stance to about 1.5x parallel with toes angled outwards about 30-45 degrees. That helped a ton and really helped me drop back far. I have long femurs and for the longest time I felt like I couldnt hit parallel, now I'm going well deeper than parallel, I can do full weighted squats and have my butt touch a 6" aerobic stepper on the ground.

    So my first tip would be widen your squat stance, and second tip would be an overall stretching program of the lower back/hips/quads/hamstrings/calves/shins and see if that helps (it should).

    A good stretch posted before that helped me was getting into a bodyweight squat position (hands in front of you), with a medicine ball on the ground. Keep your hands on the ball for stability with your elbows on your knees - gently push out on your knees with your elbows, while focusing on sitting back onto your heels. This stretches out your groin and your hip flexors among others and is a great assistance stretch for people who cant quite squat yet.
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    Thumbs up

    Originally Posted by _Dominik_
    Great advice.

    Being taller does make it more difficult, and what worked for me was starting off with a wider stance and in between workouts spending time sitting in an ATG position for a few minutes at a time since my calves were really tight and that helped. Look into stretches for the hips, hams, glutes, and calves. It'll all help increase your flexibility. If you start putting plates under your heels you'll begin to use them as a crutch and it won't fix the problem. Address it now and you'll be comfortably full squatting in no time.
    This is good advice.
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  7. #7
    Anti-ATG JBElite's Avatar
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    I'm 6'4 and would consider myself pretty unflexible... I still work on stretching and my bottom squat position so I can get lower. Honestly one of the best things that works for me is just sitting in that squat position at random times during the day. My roomate caught me once, I was walking into the kitchen and just "power hopped" into the squat position and he came up behind me and was like what are you doing haha.

    Someone also suggested Romanian Deadlifts... These stretch my hammies out in a way that no static stretch or position can do. They really helped in stabilizing my squat as well, because I definitely had an imbalance in which my hams were weak, making squatting difficult.
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  8. #8
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    I have very tight calves that don't allow much movement either, at least without a lot of weight on my shoulders (seems to fix the problem)

    I had a physical therapist watch my gait once for suggestions. He said to loosen the ankle joint up, to take a 2x4 and stand with your toes on it while you watch TV or read etc. That extra stretch really helped my calves. His recommendation was 30+ min/day until fixed.
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  9. #9
    Registered User cryptyk's Avatar
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    Thanks, everyone, for the advice. I workout tonight, and I'm going to try to open up my stance some more, and angle my toes out. I sit down all day (desk job) so I'm going to get a block of wood to place under my toes while I sit. That should work really well for me since I'll be on it >5 hours each day.
    I'm also going to go look at the exercise database for Romanian Deadlifts, and try to figure out what rdls and sldls and ATG are =).

    And I dont care what anyone says. You guys aren't the newbie-bashing, religious-argumentative bastards people make you out to be =)
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    Originally Posted by cryptyk
    Thanks, everyone, for the advice. I workout tonight, and I'm going to try to open up my stance some more, and angle my toes out. I sit down all day (desk job) so I'm going to get a block of wood to place under my toes while I sit. That should work really well for me since I'll be on it >5 hours each day.
    I'm also going to go look at the exercise database for Romanian Deadlifts, and try to figure out what rdls and sldls and ATG are =).

    And I dont care what anyone says. You guys aren't the newbie-bashing, religious-argumentative bastards people make you out to be =)


    RDL = Romanian deadlift
    SLDL = Stiff Legged deadlift (slightly different, i think romanians would suit you best)
    ATG = Ass to Grass (but really just squat as deep as you can, it will get deeper over time)

    We're not all jerkoffs here

    Perfect romanian deadlifts (video) - these will stretch out your hamstrings nicely - only go as low as your flexibility allows (probably the bar around knee height)

    http://www.webs.uidaho.edu/strength/...n_deadlift.htm
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    Originally Posted by mike_d


    ATG = Ass to Grass (but really just squat as deep as you can, it will get deeper over time)
    I never really took the time to think about what that meant, and I workout at home doing my squats outside on the lawn... So I literally go ATG om my squats.
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    What type of stretching routine (length, stretch types, frequency) is the best for adding increased ROM to the squat. I start lose the lower back arch at about parallel and I think my problem areas are my calves/achilles area and also the front of my hips/thighs. Thanks.
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    I have abnormally tight calves. You cant see a difference- nothin seems wrong- they are just always tight, no matter what. I saw a pediatrist for unrelated things and he examined them, said it was natural but that my calves are way tighter then most poeple. I play football, have bene lifting HARD, and lift my calves like everything else.

    I am on an extreme stretching regimen. The difference between squatting after 2 minutes of stretching or after 15 is insane. stretch calves 3 different ways, stretch your quads and and everything. i can perfectly maintain both heels down now.

    also, try and take a wider stance, as in, wider then your shoulders. this will help you maintain heels to ground and also get into a full squat
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    Originally Posted by cryptyk
    And I dont care what anyone says. You guys aren't the newbie-bashing, religious-argumentative bastards people make you out to be =)
    We're only mean to noobs who are stupid and/or lazy.

    You could try box squatting. That will develop flexibilty quickly, because it forces you to sit back instead of down. Here's an awesome article if you want to give it a shot.

    http://www.t-nation.com/findArticle....=body_120squat
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    Originally Posted by Anticrombie315
    Put a 10 or 25 pound plate under your heels. That should keep them elevated enough while still keeping them stable. And of course, stretch. But don't give up on squats.
    Just wondering, is that actually safe?
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    i used to be rediculously stiff, one legged squats helped with my lower body flexibility. if you can't go down all the way at first, do them with your back to a stairway or stool and lower your ass to the lowest step you can. also improves balance.
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    Originally Posted by cryptyk
    I sit down all day (desk job) so I'm going to get a block of wood to place under my toes while I sit. That should work really well for me since I'll be on it >5 hours each day.
    Can you get up and walk around here and there or straighten out your legs at all? People who have desk jobs and sit all day almost always have tight hamstrings.
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    I went a few months without being able to do squats, too. I'm tall too, about 6'2". My body just wouldn't let me bend in the right ways-- always felt like I was gonna fall over or something. I was trying to do 135 lb's, which seems about the average to start at.

    So eventually I decided to just lower the weight a lot (40 lb's lower) and practice my form a lot. Eventually I got it right and I now do extremely deep squats.

    So what I'm saying is maybe you're in a situation like me where your subconscious didn't allow you to do squats because it didn't feel right. So if that's right, lower the weight and practice getting comfortable at that for a while.

    Good luck!
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    East of Muscletown USA Tomos's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by rockhuddy
    We're only mean to noobs who are stupid and/or lazy.

    You could try box squatting. That will develop flexibilty quickly, because it forces you to sit back instead of down. Here's an awesome article if you want to give it a shot.

    http://www.t-nation.com/findArticle....=body_120squat

    That's a great bit of advise. Box squats are good way to begin training for squats and also I believe where they got started, as a full squat training aid and also to train at your weak points.
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    Registered User franance's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by cryptyk View Post
    Hi,
    I'm new here, and new to bodybuliding. I started at 6'4" and 155lbs. REALLY skinny. I started eating right and lifting 3 months ago, and have put on close to 22lbs, so things are going pretty well.
    I'm concentrating on pretty basic compound exercises - initially on machines because I felt safer, but now I'm using free-weights.
    My problem and question is regarding squats. I understand how crucial they are to full body strength, but I can't do them properly because of my flexibility. Ever since I was a kid, I had problems with my feet - high arches and abnormally thick and short achilles/hamstring tendon. I had to wear shoe inserts for most of my childhood to avoid walking on my tiptoes everywhere I went. If I keep my feet flat on the ground, I am unable to squat down more than about 6-8 inches. If I want to go any further down, I need to transition to the balls of my feet - I can't keep my heel down.
    This, of course, prevents me from keeping my heels on the ground if I do squats. I'm concerned about doing them because of the lack of stability because I'm balancing on the balls of my feet.

    This went kind of long in the explanation, but basically I'm looking for options, including "extreme" ways of increasing my flexibility. I'm already stretching my hammies (by placing my heel on a bench and leaning forward) 3 times daily, but haven't seen any real flexibility improvement. I'm thinking maybe I should use the Jean Claude Van Damme "Kickboxer" method?

    It's really frustrating.
    hi, i know this was 6 years ago so wont receive a reply lol. I have the same problem. I have got extremely high arch feet and am unable to squat with my heels on the ground. Just wanted to know if you managed ever squat parallel with heels on the gground? if so any advice for me.
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    Registered User LifeAsAaron's Avatar
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    Ya just stretch and practice... I am 5'11 and have the same problem. For me I naturally walk more on the ball of my feet. I peddle my bike with the ball/font of my feet. My power seems to lie there (front of my feet). Worst part is my calves are so fricken strong that they really don't want to change and stretch. Such a strong muscle to try and change.
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    Registered User franance's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by LifeAsAaron View Post
    Ya just stretch and practice... I am 5'11 and have the same problem. For me I naturally walk more on the ball of my feet. I peddle my bike with the ball/font of my feet. My power seems to lie there (front of my feet). Worst part is my calves are so fricken strong that they really don't want to change and stretch. Such a strong muscle to try and change.
    my feet i really bad though. when i'm sitting on the train with my legs at a 90 degree angle i can barely keep my feet flat on the ground and i only can when i stretch them out further. I'm 6'0.
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