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Leaning forwards on squats going straight-leg on deads

Training discussion on Leaning forwards on squats going straight-leg on deads, within the Bodybuilding Forum; All- I've been doing the Rippetoe program for 4 weeks or so now- and my squats hit a ceiling that ...


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Old 05-28-2007, 06:29 PM   #1
texasmax
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Default Leaning forwards on squats going straight-leg on deads

All-

I've been doing the Rippetoe program for 4 weeks or so now- and my squats hit a ceiling that I just can't get out of- and I'm starting to lean frontwards starting from the bottom (changed to A2G to prevent straining my lower back too hard, which needs to catch up). It feels like I'm working out my toes. I'll catch my balance about halfway up, but I can't start the ascent without leaning forward (and I'm doing it almost as a reflex, not on purpose). Id I force myself to not lean frontwards, I won't make it up. Is this weakness in hams/glutes? I'm guessing it is, as recently my deads have me going straight-leg without thinking about it, assuming this shifts the work to my back instead of on hams/glutes.

Should I keep my squat and dead weights where they are, or even lower them, and spend some isolation time working on hams/quads? Lying leg curls? I don't have a piece of equipment I can do GHRs on-any other good movements I can be doing here?

Thanks!!!
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Old 05-28-2007, 11:30 PM   #2
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I know for awhile my midsection was week and it would kind of sway a little coming up on my squat. I had to catch up on deadlifts and hyperextensions to make my back able to support the weight while squatting. Just me personally. Also yes with the stiff deads you will be targetting more your hams instead of the other places which im assuming your supposed to be doing normal deads for your program...i dont know. I always stress being really careful on stiffs to as it can really strain your lower back.

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Old 05-29-2007, 06:55 AM   #3
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Do you lean forward on the way down? Or does it only start on the way up?
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Old 05-29-2007, 09:41 AM   #4
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Good question, and I just got back from the gym- wish I would have read this before I went If I do lean forwards on the way down, it's definitely not as much as on the way up. I think I can control it more on the way down, adjusting for the correct posture.
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Old 05-29-2007, 11:00 AM   #5
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I'm a little confused about some of the details.

You say that you hit a ceiling so in other words you have stalled on squats? Then you say you switched to ATG. Does that mean your squats stalled then you switched to ATG? Did you do a backoff when you stalled. Did you lower the weight when you switched to ATG. You're going to be weaker when you go lower. All of this could clear up some things.

Now we can analyse and go over every detail with a fine tooth comb but if you could answer/clear up these questions it would help a lot.

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If you act sanctimonious I will just list out your logical fallacies until you get pissed off and spew blasphemous remarks.
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Old 05-29-2007, 11:40 AM   #6
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Sorry I wasn't clear- and thanks for asking-
I was up to 240 on squats, getting quads just below horizontal, which is when I stalled. It had been hurting my lower back starting at around 210-220 and killing me at 240. I'm guessing the back pain was part of the stall, but who knows. I switched to ATG, and at the same time reset down to 200, as the ATGs were a bit tougher (experimented with a few sets to see exactly where I could reset down to and still hit a 3x5). I've been working my way back up, adding 10 lbs per session, and now I'm at 230. My back has been better since switching to ATG, but at around 220 I started leaning forward, and at 230 I'm really on my toes as soon as I come out of the bottom, especially on the third set. I can barely complete the third set of 5, for the last 3 sessions. I ike to get a strong third set before increasing the weight, but I went for 240 anyway, and almost had to ask for help and/or drop the bar on the rack bottom (which one is worse? ) during the first set.
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Old 05-29-2007, 01:04 PM   #7
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Hmmm. I'm trying to put all this together. One quick point is that you may just have added too much too fast.

But here's the points I have thought of so far:

1. Your problem on deads does sound like ham/glute weakness if I'm getting what you said right. The idea being that you butt comes up and your legs start to straighten before the weight ever leaves the floor and then the lower back levers the weight up. If that is so then you are right your hams and glutes are relatively weak. GHR's would be a good choice to add.

2. Falling forward on squats is usually, from what little I know, one of four things. A. Low back weakness. B. Abdominal weakness. C. Both. D. Inflexibility issues in hams, lower back, hip flexors or any combination of those.

3. The forward lean usually becomes a problem more around the mid range of the lift instead of at the bottom and you say you have trouble at the bottom but then are able to correct this about half way up. Is this right? If so, it seems to me that wouldn't happen with a lower back that was too weak. Abs either really.

All of this may be just overanalysing and it all comes down to being too heavy for the current state of your posterior chain in which case you may benefit from resetting the weight even lower than before and moving up in smaller increments giving whatever is weak a chance to catch up.

You should definitely be stretching you hams, lower back, and ilipsoas after your squats and any lower body work (including deads).

Having said all that, I'm on to another questions (trying to get a picture in my head). When you start to come out of the hole and the forward lean begins is the weight going up at all, or is it going down or not moving much (by weight you can also read shoulders)?

If the weight is not moving much or going down and you can't get out of the hole without leaning forward then you have the same scenario as on deads (like you were thinking). The hams and glutes can't overcome the weight. Therefore the shoulders come forward and down, but butt goes up, and the lower back takes over to get the weight up. If this is the picture....then your analysis was right and I'd recommend GHR's and reverse hyper extensions. Romanians would be good too but I think the GHR's have the best fit for this program. And yes in that case I think there would be some benefit to lowering the weight and building back up slowly. You are not going to be able to strengthen a weakness overnight and continuing to go at a weight that is too heavy is only going to exacerbate the problems plus build in bad movement patterns to your tecqnique...which would entail lower weight in the long run and perhaps all kinds of frustration.

Look at your stance and make sure it is wide enough for you. A too narrow stance can make it difficult for the hips to engage. Try to set a tight arch at the beginning and maintain that all the way throught, keeping your chest high and shoudlers back. Drive off you heels as much as you can. Also, think about pushing upwards against the bar first rather than pushing downwards with the feet. This gets the body to do what it needs to do better. Remember, you're not trying to move the floor, your trying to move the bar so relate to the bar rather than the floor and it should help.

Last edited by EricT; 05-29-2007 at 01:45 PM..
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Old 05-29-2007, 04:07 PM   #8
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it definitely sounds like weak hip drive. i'm dealing with the same damn problem right now. i had to reduce the weight quite a bit and am slowly working back up. i blame all the years of squatting to parallel or ignoring them altogether and only doing leg presses (thank you muscle mags!)

anyway, a few things that have helped me are:
1. Adidas weightlifting shoes- i wouldnt even think of training without these now.
2. lifting my toes slightly just as i start to drive out of the hole- it just seems to help me consciously avoid shifting the weight to my toes
3. Sticking a plastic milk crate under my ass- similar to doing a box squat but instead of resting at the bottom and then exploding up, i begin the drive upwards as soon my ass touches the crate. It is helping me put my "mind in my ass" so to speak, lol!
it is also helping me achieve consistent depth.
4.- consciously tightening my hams and gutes on the way down-this has helped insure tension at the bottom.

i've had the shoes for a while but have been implementing the other points only for the last few weeks. My squats have improved quite a bit already so i'm pleased

good luck!

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Old 05-29-2007, 04:42 PM   #9
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Eric- you're right on all points- excellent analysis! I'll drop the weight, and add in GHRs (if I can rig up some equipment at the gym) and reveverse hypers. Will also make sure I do the stretches you recommend as well (I'll admit I've never been a big stretcher to begin with...). I keep my ankles at shoulder-width, I'll widen up a bit and see if I get a difference in the movement.

Riddick- thanks as well- I'll try what you recommend, as well as picking up a pair of lifting shoes- I've been using an old pair of running shoes which probably isn't the best.
Thanks!!!
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Old 05-29-2007, 04:43 PM   #10
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Riddick- I hear ya on the leg presses and muscle mags...
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