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Thread: angle of arched back in squats

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  1. #1
    Wannabebig Member
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    angle of arched back in squats

    when i do squats, i am easily able to maintain an arched back throughout the range of motion -- what is trickier to manage/control is the angle of my back to the ground. i am not even sure what that angle should be exactly, despite having read (maybe not carefully enough) many posts on this forum. i find myself leaning forward more and more as I go lower in the squat movement, to the point where at my lowest position, my lower back is probably 135 degrees to the ground (or 45 degrees above parallel to the ground). however, my back is extremely arched at this point and as a result, my chest and upper back are much closer 180 degrees to the floor (in other words, in a much more upright position). is this right? how do you guys do it? is it even possible to simply keep your entire back more or less straight and perpendicular to the ground throughout the movement? i can't even come close.
    Last edited by crud_meridian; 03-22-2004 at 07:54 AM.

  2. #2
    Baby Seal Clubber ElPietro's Avatar
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    If you could draw a vertical line through the bar towards the ground, you want to keep it as aligned to your hips as possible. Also, the knees as close as well, but this obviously is not as easy to do without widening your stance.

    Everyone will have different form, but aligning your knees, hips and the bar as close to vertical will eliminate excess leverage, which gives you a mechanical advantage to squat more.

    You may want to do more core training, such as abs and lower back, to give you that strength out of the hole you need to keep relatively upright.
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  3. #3
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    interesting, i recently had a free fitness assessment at my gym. most of it was pretty useless, but one thing that struck home was that i have very bad core strength. i performed badly in a series of drills designed to measure stability and balance. maybe i need to spend some time with the physioball...

  4. #4
    Baby Seal Clubber ElPietro's Avatar
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    For abs you could also include:

    Weighted crunches
    Cable crunches
    DB Sidebends
    Hanging leg raise (you can just prop your arms up facing away from a dip station for these, and then raise your legs like a jacknife, keeping them straight throughout the range of motion)

    Use some weight on these. You will get your abs stronger training them hard.

    For lower back you could do the following:

    Back extensions (either on the bench designed for it, or most gyms have a machine where you can add resistance)
    Deadlifts or stiff legged deadlifts
    Good Mornings
    Pull throughs (this is a cable exercise. Use the rope attachement, face away from the pulley and hold the rope between and behind your legs and pull them through your legs and up until you are standing upright. So make sure when you are hunched over there is already full tension as far between your legs as possible)


    Conditioning these two parts will probably translate into strength gains an virtually all your lifts.
    Last edited by ElPietro; 03-22-2004 at 08:49 AM.
    Deadlifts are like women, they'll hurt you everytime, but they'll also make you a man. - Me

    Friends don't let friends do dumbell kickbacks. - Me

    ElP is the smartest man in the world. - Gyno Rhino

    A low voter turnout is an indication of fewer people going to the polls. -- Dan Quayle

    If do right, no can defense. -- Mr. Miyagi

    Deep Thoughts by Jack Handey:

    I can picture in my mind a world without war, a world without hate. And I can picture us attacking that world, because they'd never expect it.

    Is there anything more beautiful than a beautiful, beautiful flamingo, flying across in front of a beautiful sunset? And he's carrying a beautiful rose in his beak, and also he's carrying a very beautiful painting with his feet. And also, you're drunk.

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  5. #5
    Baby Seal Clubber ElPietro's Avatar
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    One other thing I might suggest, is to take your time warming up for squats. You can get a better arch if your lower back, and shoulders are quite warmed up, as it will enable you to get the bar a bit further down on your back, and keep a tighter arch. On your first couple sets, use light weight, and go down as far as possible, and hold it there for a few seconds.
    Deadlifts are like women, they'll hurt you everytime, but they'll also make you a man. - Me

    Friends don't let friends do dumbell kickbacks. - Me

    ElP is the smartest man in the world. - Gyno Rhino

    A low voter turnout is an indication of fewer people going to the polls. -- Dan Quayle

    If do right, no can defense. -- Mr. Miyagi

    Deep Thoughts by Jack Handey:

    I can picture in my mind a world without war, a world without hate. And I can picture us attacking that world, because they'd never expect it.

    Is there anything more beautiful than a beautiful, beautiful flamingo, flying across in front of a beautiful sunset? And he's carrying a beautiful rose in his beak, and also he's carrying a very beautiful painting with his feet. And also, you're drunk.

    Current FFFA Enforcer

  6. #6
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    thanks for the help, i will definitely explore these exercises this week, and will focus more on the warmup in the squats. my current warmup is rather cursory -- too quick warmup sets with light weight, done rather quickly without a lot of thought or focus -- i could probably get a lot more out of it.

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