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  1. #1
    Registered User Oldhammer's Avatar
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    STILL squatting with heels coming up..need ideas

    So, I have been squatting with my heels coming up for awhile now.
    I've been doing hip mobility and ankle mobility excercises and foam
    rolling on workout days and non-workout days. I've been doing Kelly
    Starret ankle mobility excercises specifically...I think it's still an
    ankle issue as I don't have much anterior tightness. I even switched
    to olympic shoes and it's still an issue. You can see me struggling to
    keep them down at a submaximal weight (185) and then holding
    at the bottom position at 115 im fighting to keep them down.
    Any ideas as to what else I could be doing?

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  2. #2
    I need about tree fiddy davisj3537's Avatar
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    You aren't pushing through your heels because you are leaning too far forward. The bottom line is if the bar isn't over the middle of your foot your balance will be compromised.

    Also worth mentioning-It looks like you are doing low bar, but your knee movement looks like a front squat. You aren't sitting back whatsoever. Hips first, you knees should barely move forward at all. They should be nearly perpendicular to the floor.
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  3. #3
    Registered User Oldhammer's Avatar
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    Im aware of the issue, how can I combat it, as lowering
    the weight down doesn't seem to have an affect?
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    I need about tree fiddy davisj3537's Avatar
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    Your forward lean would be fine if you sat back correctly. How do you correct it? Sit back. It is pretty simple man. Some people prefer to start trying this on a low box.

    Think about it like this. When you sit down on the toilet you have to sit back or you'd poop on your ankles. Sit back just like you are taking a seat. Try a box if you think it will help. Once you learn the technique stop using a box.
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  5. #5
    Registered User Oldhammer's Avatar
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    Could I widen my stance more to help out with that?
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    Registered User kaleida's Avatar
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    to me it looks like your femurs are longer than your torso (looking near the end of the video when your knees are visible)...squat balance problems are very common for long-femured people.

    I also have long femurs are here are some things that help me stay more balanced:
    - wider stance and/or feet pointing more out (with thighs more diagonal, the length of them won't affect your balance in the forward/backward plane quite as much)
    - arching the feet to get some external hip rotation, helps me go "between" my femurs instead of on top of them
    - strong flexible hip adductors (making the wider stance possible)
    - more forward knee travel - although if the stance is wide enough I need less and less of it
    - quad strength (helping to finish a squat that had some forward knee travel)

    You could experiment using overhead squats with a dowel ...if you can balance that with long femurs and minimal forward lean then the same stance should work with a barbell on your back too.
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  7. #7
    Registered User kaleida's Avatar
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    PS. "Sitting back" as a mental cue has never worked foe me and my long femurs....sitting back actually makes my balance problems worse (putting butt into the next time zone without having the torso length to counter it = center of gravity too far back = body shifts center of gravity forward to stay balanced.)

    although I see how it would be useful for someone whose torso is longer than their thighs.
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  8. #8
    Registered User Oldhammer's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by kaleida View Post
    to me it looks like your femurs are longer than your torso (looking near the end of the video when your knees are visible)...squat balance problems are very common for long-femured people.

    I also have long femurs are here are some things that help me stay more balanced:
    - wider stance and/or feet pointing more out (with thighs more diagonal, the length of them won't affect your balance in the forward/backward plane quite as much)
    - arching the feet to get some external hip rotation, helps me go "between" my femurs instead of on top of them
    - strong flexible hip adductors (making the wider stance possible)
    - more forward knee travel - although if the stance is wide enough I need less and less of it
    - quad strength (helping to finish a squat that had some forward knee travel)

    You could experiment using overhead squats with a dowel ...if you can balance that with long femurs and minimal forward lean then the same stance should work with a barbell on your back too.
    What type of shoes do you use?
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  9. #9
    Registered User kaleida's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Oldhammer View Post
    What type of shoes do you use?
    I have a pair of Adidas Powerlift Trainer shoes which I was using happily for a while ... recently switched to Feelmax Osma shoes, the sole is basically just a 2.5mm flexible grippy piece of rubber and nothing else ... but I think you could have good luck with heel or no heel, just try both and see what you like the best.

    ilovethe80s also has long femurs and she squats successfully in heels (she has a journal too where she makes lots of notes about what works and what doesn't for her squats - it might be helpful)

    In my case I had to switch to flat shoes because I was getting a little bit of "push down, go forward" effect in heels ... I think my body figured out how to push the floor in a deadlift and then automatically started trying to do the same exact thing in my squat ... I had to start using my deadlift shoes for squats too so the "push down, go up" feeling would be as similar as possible for both of them.
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    Doesn't Eat Wheaties MWheatley's Avatar
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    For one i would take the shoes off. Hard to tell from the camera angle but it seems your knees arent tracking your toes properly. Try driving the knees out, warmup with some ankle/hip mobility.
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  11. #11
    Registered User kaleida's Avatar
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    One more thing OP ...steel yourself because if you do have long femurs then everrrrrrry time you post a squat video you'll get commentary from people who think they have the answer for all your squat problems. But way too often the "answer" is just that their torso is longer than their thighs - which makes whatever they're recommending anatomically possible for them to do.

    I wish I had a dollar for every time I hear:
    - "you're not balanced because you're not sitting back enough!"
    - "your knees are too far forward!"
    - "why are you bending over so much!"
    - "it's easy! just sit back more!"
    - "why are you making it so complicated?"

    If your bodily proportions allow your shoulders, hips, knees, and feet to form the perfect shape of a "4" then yeah, all those tips are really great. If not ... then you do what works for YOU

    And don't anyone get you down because they think squats should be "simple" ...long-femured squats are definitely not simple.

    On the bright side ... your deadlifts will probably kick butt.
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  12. #12
    Registered User kiwilifting's Avatar
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    I have the same issue man. I have to squat on the freaking smith machine -_-
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  13. #13
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    OP have you been working hip mobility too? Try sitting in a deep squat position. Hang out for a while, raise each hand overhead alternating. This works great for hips.
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    I need about tree fiddy davisj3537's Avatar
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    kaleida, I was a bit confused at first when reading through your posts, but I think I'm starting to understand your POV. You are saying that you feel OP has long femurs in comparison to his torso(hips to low bar position.) This much I think I have figured out correctly.

    What I don't understand is what you are saying about how this causes balance issues in a forward direction. Just kind of typing this one out to make sense of it. If his femur is longer than his torso then when he sat back the bar would be behind his mid foot...not in front. That would make him fall over backwards. In contrast, he is rolling onto the balls of his feet because the bar is in front of his mid foot.

    The amount of forward lean is supposed to be the variable here to accommodate a femur/torso difference. Each person has a different degree of forward lean based on how well they sit back and their leverages. A shorter femur would dictate less of a forward lean to stay over the mid foot, while a longer femur would dictate more of a forward lean.

    Cliffs- He isn't sitting back far enough for the amount of forward lean he has. Sitting back better OR lessening the degree of forward lean fixes the issue.

    Edit: Less forward lean and knees traveling forward sounds like a high bar squat to me.
    Last edited by davisj3537; 01-26-2014 at 09:17 PM.
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  15. #15
    Registered User kaleida's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by davisj3537 View Post
    kaleida, I was a bit confused at first when reading through your posts, but I think I'm starting to understand your POV. You are saying that you feel OP has long femurs in comparison to his torso(hips to low bar position.) This much I think I have figured out correctly.

    What I don't understand is what you are saying about how this causes balance issues in a forward direction. Just kind of typing this one out to make sense of it. If his femur is longer than his torso then when he sat back the bar would be behind his mid foot...not in front. That would make him fall over backwards. In contrast, he is rolling onto the balls of his feet because the bar is in front of his mid foot.

    The amount of forward lean is supposed to be the variable here to accommodate a femur/torso difference. Each person has a different degree of forward lean based on how well they sit back and their leverages. A shorter femur would dictate less of a forward lean to stay over the mid foot, while a longer femur would dictate more of a forward lean.

    Cliffs- He isn't sitting back far enough for the amount of forward lean he has. Sitting back better OR lessening the degree of forward lean fixes the issue.

    Edit: Less forward lean and knees traveling forward sounds like a high bar squat to me.
    You sound like you already understood it ... with long femurs, a torso shorter than femurs, thighs pointing mostly forward, and no forward weight shift, then his combined center of gravity (his weight plus the bar) would be behind his feet. To avoid falling backwards, the body shifts center of gravity forward. Sometimes the forward weight shift is just barely enough to stay balanced, sometimes it happens too fast and the center of gravity goes too far forward. It depends on proportions and stance and how well things are going that day.

    "Sitting back" as a mental cue has not been helpful for me at all, that mental cue usually encourages people to keep their knees stationary while their hips go as far back as possible. That would work great on someone whose torso is longer than their thighs, but for someone whose thighs are longer than their torso it is anatomically impossible to keep the weight on the heels in that position. (At least not without some major adjustments to the stance. For example: if I make my thighs more "diagonal," with wide knees and a wide stance and feet pointing out a lot, my femurs look shorter from the side view and it looks like I'm "sitting back" from a side view - even though it's really a wide sumo squat from any other view)
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    I guess my point was, if OP is falling forward, he can clearly sit back farther. Currently he doesn't have the form, balance or hamstring strength to accomplish it. Hence the box squat. If we don't agree there, then we'll have to agree to disagree.

    Edit: I mean I see what you are saying about a wider stance, since it shortens the amount of forward lean you need to get the bar over your mid foot, but I don't think OP needs to resort to changing his stance quite yet. Contrasting my opinion, he needs to work on mobility too. The amount of forward lean is certainly contributing to his serious case of buttwink.

    OP this should be immensely helpful for improving squat form. Watch it a few times. It will pay serious dividends.





    Last edited by davisj3537; 01-26-2014 at 11:02 PM. Reason: Dem spellings
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  17. #17
    Registered User kaleida's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by davisj3537 View Post
    I guess my point was, if OP is falling forward, he can clearly sit back farther. Currently he doesn't have the form, balance or hamstring strength to accomplish it. Hence the box squat. If we don't agree there, then we'll have to agree to disagree.
    I can tell by your posts that you do not have long femurs

    If you still want to understand, here's another way to think about it: If my stance is just right, I don't need any forward weight shift at all because my stance and my hip & knee angles allow the bar to stay over my feet for the whole lift. Good long-femured squat angles never invite the bar to go behind my feet. To do that, I have to get my thighs out of the way in any direction other than backwards.

    I can get my long thighs "out of the way" by putting them out to the side (with knees and feet pointing more out, lots of external hip rotation, wider stance).

    I can get them "out of the way" to the front (with more forward knee tracking).

    Sometimes a little of both...wider foot angle plus more forward knee tracking.

    Lately I like to use more knee tracking and a wider foot angle for my front squats - and less knee tracking, wider stance, and a wider foot angle for low bar squats.
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    Originally Posted by kaleida View Post
    I can tell by your posts that you do not have long femurs

    If you still want to understand, here's another way to think about it: If my stance is just right, I don't need any forward weight shift at all because my stance and my hip & knee angles allow the bar to stay over my feet for the whole lift. Good long-femured squat angles never invite the bar to go behind my feet. To do that, I have to get my thighs out of the way in any direction other than backwards.

    I can get my long thighs "out of the way" by putting them out to the side (with knees and feet pointing more out, lots of external hip rotation, wider stance).

    I can get them "out of the way" to the front (with more forward knee tracking).

    Sometimes a little of both...wider foot angle plus more forward knee tracking.

    Lately I like to use more knee tracking and a wider foot angle for my front squats - and less knee tracking, wider stance, and a wider foot angle for low bar squats.
    I understand what you mean by the stance...I didn't get my edit in before you posted. I'll agree I don't think I have above average femurs. lol
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  19. #19
    Registered User kaleida's Avatar
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    OK pics will help ... they are crude but hopefully they will help OP see what his options are


    This is what would happen if a long-femured person could magically "sit back" without forward knee travel
    (Anatomically impossible due to torso and femur length)



    - - - - - - -

    This is the forward weight shift that prevents falling backwards



    - - - - - - -

    This is the side view of a long-femured person doing a WIDE sumo squat with their knees way out ...much easier to balance without forward weight shift



    - - - - - - - -

    This is the side view of a long-femured person doing a squat with lots of forward knee tracking ...this can also work without forward weight shift



    - - - - - - - -

    This is the side view of a long-femured person doing a squat with lots of forward knee tracking AND knees out ... this one works too with no forward weight shift

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  20. #20
    Registered User kaleida's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by davisj3537 View Post
    I understand what you mean by the stance...I didn't get my edit in before you posted. I'll agree I don't think I have above average femurs. lol
    I see your edit now. I'm glad it's understandable!
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    transamdroptp08 is offline
    I am 6'5 and definitely have long femurs but I have to agree with Davisj. If you start with body weight or bar with all leg press, squats, hack squats etc and focus on driving thru your heels then the OP would find that it helps tremendously. I personally have a hard time with rear squats and can just about do more with better form on front squats then rear. For me after I started focusing on the proper form then squats front and back became easier.
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