The Impossible Back Squats

Options
Back Squats, Deep Squats, Olympic Squats -- Whatever you wanna call them, I find them impossible to do.
I can do regular squats and sumo squats no problem, but anything lower than that seems physically impossible :grumble:

When I squat on the ground in general, it's always on my toes. My heels never touch the ground and it's physically uncomfortable (side note, this is why I HATE squat bathrooms with a burning passion).
I know my inability to do this has to do with lack of flexibility in my hips and [especially] my calf muscles.

I've tried using the wall technique and it does help me get down into the deep squatting position.... but then I can't get up and it's just a pitiful sight to watch me struggle to get out from that position lol

Any suggestions on stretches or techniques etc I can use to help be able to do these squats?
Also I'm curious, can anyone do a deep squat now that couldn't before?

Thanks!
«1

Replies

  • JoRocka
    JoRocka Posts: 17,525 Member
    Options
    downward dog helps with ankle mobility

    goblet squats or kettle bell squats help with depth- keep working it- it WILL get better.
  • eric_sg61
    eric_sg61 Posts: 2,925 Member
    Options
    Olympic squatters use a shoe with an elevated heel.
    These videos are two people doing ATG olympic style squats. Look at the different body types and the different positions they get into at the bottom of the squat. Also, notice how insanely flexible Tom Platz's ankles are (pause the video at the bottom of his squat). I used to think back squats were impossible until I analyzed my own body and compared my squats to people with similiar body types.

    Tom Platz -NSFW the music drops a few F bombs
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yOpZLFoHENs

    Candito Olympic Squats-really good tips in this one
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zoZWgTrZLd8
  • LolBroScience
    LolBroScience Posts: 4,537 Member
    Options
  • PikaKnight
    PikaKnight Posts: 34,971 Member
    Options
    http://bretcontreras.com/knee-valgus-valgus-collapse-glute-medius-strengthening-band-hip-abduction-exercises-and-ankle-dorsiflexion-drills/


    This has a lot of good tips that might be able to help you. For mobility work, I'd recommend DeFranco's Limber 11 and Simple 6.


    Aside from that......


    What are squat bathrooms???
  • LiftAllThePizzas
    LiftAllThePizzas Posts: 17,857 Member
    Options
    Any suggestions on stretches or techniques etc I can use to help be able to do these squats?
    Also I'm curious, can anyone do a deep squat now that couldn't before?

    Thanks!
    Use your hands and hold on to something to keep from going forward or backward.
  • kelly_e_montana
    kelly_e_montana Posts: 1,999 Member
    Options
    Yes, I absolutely can do an olympic squat now, whereas previously I could only do just below parallel squats. I have good hip mobility but I really needed work on my ankle mobility. I also bought olympic lifting shoes and that has helped substantially (I still use my regular Chuck Taylors for regular below-parallel squats). You could have an issue with your hip mobility, your back, and/or your ankles. It took me about 2-3 months of working on my mobility 5 days per week to be able to do good, stable olympic squats. I also worked on the squats themselves 3-5 times per week.

    My issue was primarily with calf stiffness and getting my toes out over my ankles in the bottom. So, I do a lot of downward dogs of course, but I work on malasana aka garland pose every day (yoga move). Try to keep your back as upright as possible. Hold onto something if you need to. Maybe take a little narrower stance than malasana and hold something with your back upright for 2 minutes at a time--no less. When you get better at it, you can use a kettlebell and do it as a goblet squat, still focusing on keeping your back upright.

    I also take one knee and put it close to a wall but not touching. Then I push the knee out over my toe and tap the wall with my knee. Slowly I back my foot further and further from the wall, still tapping, and each day I can get a little more flexibility in my ankle and in my achilles.

    Adding an assortment of hip opening poses will also help. There are tons of youtube videos and I also recommend Mobility WOD like the previous poster. I like this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JBHzXF-mVjY
  • ILiftHeavyAcrylics
    ILiftHeavyAcrylics Posts: 27,732 Member
    Options
    When you say you can do regular squats but not back squats what do you mean?
  • tgmichelleee
    tgmichelleee Posts: 144 Member
    Options

    Elliot (second vid) had some really good tips, definitely getting a foam roller now
  • tgmichelleee
    tgmichelleee Posts: 144 Member
    Options
    downward dog helps with ankle mobility

    goblet squats or kettle bell squats help with depth- keep working it- it WILL get better.

    Didn't even think to work with kettle bell, great idea thanks!
    And that's such a relief to know they get better lol
  • tgmichelleee
    tgmichelleee Posts: 144 Member
    Options

    Candito Olympic Squats-really good tips in this one
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zoZWgTrZLd8

    I have this vid cached, thanks! Also great tip on finding people with the same body type

    Edit: just checked, olympic lifters really do use elevated shoes, had no idea
  • tgmichelleee
    tgmichelleee Posts: 144 Member
    Options


    great website, someone earlier posted a vid by them. Will be book marking that, thanks!
  • bc2ct
    bc2ct Posts: 222 Member
    Options
    Get "The Stick" and go to town on your calves and hamstrings at the end of every day... I find loosening fascia much more effective as a technique for improving flexibility than simple stretching.
  • PJPrimrose
    PJPrimrose Posts: 916 Member
    Options
    From what I've been told by trainers, mastering the proper front squat with straps or natural hold (No crossed arms) will help with the back squat. These same trainers also mentioned warming up and stretching out before lifting. This is all second hand advice that is working for me but I'm pretty much just starting.
  • tgmichelleee
    tgmichelleee Posts: 144 Member
    Options
    http://bretcontreras.com/knee-valgus-valgus-collapse-glute-medius-strengthening-band-hip-abduction-exercises-and-ankle-dorsiflexion-drills/

    This has a lot of good tips that might be able to help you. For mobility work, I'd recommend DeFranco's Limber 11 and Simple 6.

    Aside from that......

    What are squat bathrooms???

    Interesting first link, and thanks for the tip

    Squat bathrooms... Wish I knew how to put pictures on here but basically it's those little bathrooms on the ground that you have to squat to use. Thankfully, they rarely exists here in the states lol
  • Qarol
    Qarol Posts: 6,171 Member
    Options
    When you say you can do regular squats but not back squats what do you mean?
    This confused me as well... :huh:
  • tgmichelleee
    tgmichelleee Posts: 144 Member
    Options
    Yes, I absolutely can do an olympic squat now, whereas previously I could only do just below parallel squats. I have good hip mobility but I really needed work on my ankle mobility. I also bought olympic lifting shoes and that has helped substantially (I still use my regular Chuck Taylors for regular below-parallel squats). You could have an issue with your hip mobility, your back, and/or your ankles. It took me about 2-3 months of working on my mobility 5 days per week to be able to do good, stable olympic squats. I also worked on the squats themselves 3-5 times per week.

    My issue was primarily with calf stiffness and getting my toes out over my ankles in the bottom. So, I do a lot of downward dogs of course, but I work on malasana aka garland pose every day (yoga move). Try to keep your back as upright as possible. Hold onto something if you need to. Maybe take a little narrower stance than malasana and hold something with your back upright for 2 minutes at a time--no less. When you get better at it, you can use a kettlebell and do it as a goblet squat, still focusing on keeping your back upright.

    I also take one knee and put it close to a wall but not touching. Then I push the knee out over my toe and tap the wall with my knee. Slowly I back my foot further and further from the wall, still tapping, and each day I can get a little more flexibility in my ankle and in my achilles.

    Adding an assortment of hip opening poses will also help. There are tons of youtube videos and I also recommend Mobility WOD like the previous poster. I like this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JBHzXF-mVjY

    ^^
    Loved this comment and great advice!
    That's exactly what my problem is, mainly calf and ankle stiffness.
    Someone else brought up Olympic shoes, so might look into getting that. And yoga and kettle balls came up earlier too so will definitely be doing that. But being able to do one in 2-3 months, that's exciting.
    Thanks for replying!
  • tgmichelleee
    tgmichelleee Posts: 144 Member
    Options
    When you say you can do regular squats but not back squats what do you mean?

    Sorry should have clarified
    Regular squats (to me) are like at/maybe slightly below parallel
  • PikaKnight
    PikaKnight Posts: 34,971 Member
    Options
    When you say you can do regular squats but not back squats what do you mean?

    Sorry should have clarified
    Regular squats (to me) are like at/maybe slightly below parallel

    So you can do back squats and the such as long as it is parallel?

    Why not just do them parallel then? You don't have to go ATG on your squats, especially depending on bar placement.
  • ILiftHeavyAcrylics
    ILiftHeavyAcrylics Posts: 27,732 Member
    Options
    When you say you can do regular squats but not back squats what do you mean?

    Sorry should have clarified
    Regular squats (to me) are like at/maybe slightly below parallel

    So you can do back squats and the such as long as it is parallel?

    Why not just do them parallel then? You don't have to go ATG on your squats, especially depending on bar placement.

    This.

    I just barely break parallel. Lower than that I get bad butt wink. Why do you want to go ATG?