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How to perform a squat properly - tall woman (w long femur bones)

serapelserapel Member Posts: 502 Member Member Posts: 502 Member
I have been practicing the squat as squatting has (in the past) caused me knee injury.

I am currently practicing form by doing a wide stance goblet squat with just 30 lbs for 4 sets of 10. I am following these principles...please add or correct me.

- feet about 2-3 inches past my sholders stance
- feet out at 30 dregree angle
- weight under chin
- elbows tucked in
- heel on two 10 lb plates
- stick bum out when going down
- try to go parallel (I'm about .5 - 1 inch away from being able to go parallel due to my ankles)
- elbows touching inside knees
- when coming up, use power in hips and glutes to get up, not knees
- dig heels into floor always to protect knees
- push knees out during the movement
- never lock my knees at the top

What I've noticed is that I have to lean forward to compensate for my long femur bones. If I don't lean forward, I will fall on my bum. I've seen pictures on Bret Contrares' website showing that tall people do lean forward when squatting (if they have a long femur bone).

Any advice welcome. I am trying to perfect this wide stance goblet squat before I try any barbel squats.

Replies

  • CherimooseCherimoose Member Posts: 5,205 Member Member Posts: 5,205 Member
    Can't tell if you're doing it correctly without actually seeing you squat. Try to upload a video.

    By the way, some forward lean always happens on squats. The torso doesn't stay vertical. :+1:
  • ryborybo Member Posts: 5,432 Member Member Posts: 5,432 Member
    Cherimoose wrote: »
    Can't tell if you're doing it correctly without actually seeing you squat. Try to upload a video.

    By the way, some forward lean always happens on squats. The torso doesn't stay vertical. :+1:

    Agree with this and add, although it helps some people, I am not a fan of the stick your bum out cue.
  • robininflrobininfl Member Posts: 1,137 Member Member Posts: 1,137 Member
    I am tall for a lady, and do fall backwards doing squats, but men are taller than me, with longer legs, and manage it so I am not sure what to think.

    But - goblet squat I do like you describe above, and can get below parallel, knees are happy. I only use 30lb because that's the biggest dumbell we have and arm strength is a limiting factor too.

    Try training unweighted squats in the other direction - lean forward until your torso is against your thighs, put your hands on the ground between your legs and then bend your knees until you reach the fully squatted position. Sit there awhile. See if you can rise from the squat by holding your arms straight in front of you to counterbalance, but even just hanging out in the squat may help.
  • MycophiliaMycophilia Member Posts: 1,225 Member Member Posts: 1,225 Member
    If you're not busy you could read this 20.000 word article on squatting or watch this 2 and half hour video by the same guys.

    They cover pretty much everything, focusing mostly on barbell squats, but the principles apply to most squat variations.
  • annaskiskiannaskiski Member Posts: 1,212 Member Member Posts: 1,212 Member
    Are you sure that your squat is wide enough?
    Squat (atg) without any weights, and just rearrange your feet until you feel no pressure on your knees.
    You should be able to comfortably hold this squat without any feeling of falling over.

    https://www.t-nation.com/training/third-world-squat

    I am not saying you have to squat atg with weights, but this will tell you if you have tight hips, and you should def not feel discomfort in your knees.
  • stealthqstealthq Member Posts: 4,307 Member Member Posts: 4,307 Member
    I have to lean forward or I will tip over backward, too. I'm short, unlike you, but I have a short torso and relatively long legs. I ended up having to retrain my back squat because I got into a groove of leaning too far forward. I think because I advanced in weight too quickly for my form once I got close to my actual 5-rep max. My legs could handle it, but I didn't stiffen my core/back enough.

    I found that between goblet squats, front squats and 3rd world squats, I've been able to get back to good squat form. One cue I found useful (per one of Rippetoe's YouTube vids) is that the angle of your back by the time you're 30% down should not change in the bottom portion of a back squat. I can't keep that angle stable unless everything is tight.
  • serapelserapel Member Posts: 502 Member Member Posts: 502 Member
    I demonstrated my squat to my former trainer (who is now a good friend) and she immediately told me to stop. She had me go to a bench and do box squats with no weights while watching myself in the mirror to keep my alignment straight. She informed me that I'm leaning to one side (my right). She then took me to the TRX area and had me practicing proper form while holding onto the TRX (looking in the mirror). She said eventually I'll be able to do it without holding on if I keep practicing. She advised me to take my time and get the form first.

    She basically told me I'll screw my knees if I don't work on proper form. She held onto the sides of my knees and told me to push against her hands as I squatted and I totally felt it in my glutes. I finally made the mind/muscle connection on how to push out the knees properly.

    I'm building the muscle with heavy barbell hip thrusts mainly (155 lbs) and I really like curtsy squats and lunges. I can do those with no problems.

    I wish I could afford more PT sessions!!!

  • serapelserapel Member Posts: 502 Member Member Posts: 502 Member
    annaskiski wrote: »
    Are you sure that your squat is wide enough?
    Squat (atg) without any weights, and just rearrange your feet until you feel no pressure on your knees.
    You should be able to comfortably hold this squat without any feeling of falling over.

    https://www.t-nation.com/training/third-world-squat

    I am not saying you have to squat atg with weights, but this will tell you if you have tight hips, and you should def not feel discomfort in your knees.

    excellent article thanks!! This seconds what the PT said to me today. Glad to know I may be on to something :)
  • annaskiskiannaskiski Member Posts: 1,212 Member Member Posts: 1,212 Member
    I'm 5'8", and when I started lifting, I could only 3/4 squat. I wasn't sure that I was able to squat to parallel, nvm atg.

    Someone on the Stronglifts forum suggested squatting with no weights with your back to a wall.
    I practiced this for a few days (noticed that this stretched my hip muscles enormously), soon I started doing the 'third world squat' daily, always comfortable shuffling my feet so that my knees were comfortable. This helped my squatting enormously (and also helped my yoga, btw, and also my squatting down to anything around the house at floor level)

    The Stronglifts forum has lots of good advice btw, even if you do other lifting programs>>

    http://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/group/4601-stronglifts-5x5-for-women
  • DopeItUpDopeItUp Member Posts: 18,794 Member Member Posts: 18,794 Member
    Post a video from the side and back/front if you really want a proper assessment. Talking about the cues isn't really going to tell us anything.
  • serapelserapel Member Posts: 502 Member Member Posts: 502 Member
    annaskiski wrote: »
    I'm 5'8", and when I started lifting, I could only 3/4 squat. I wasn't sure that I was able to squat to parallel, nvm atg.

    Someone on the Stronglifts forum suggested squatting with no weights with your back to a wall.
    I practiced this for a few days (noticed that this stretched my hip muscles enormously), soon I started doing the 'third world squat' daily, always comfortable shuffling my feet so that my knees were comfortable. This helped my squatting enormously (and also helped my yoga, btw, and also my squatting down to anything around the house at floor level)

    The Stronglifts forum has lots of good advice btw, even if you do other lifting programs>>

    http://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/group/4601-stronglifts-5x5-for-women

    I did the third world squat yesterday and held it for one minute and it was very uncomfortable. I obviously have many imbalances that need to be fixed.

    I think the TRX pullies are very similar to squatting against a wall in the sense that it allows you to work on your squat while activating the stabilizers that are needed to squat.

    When I third world squatted last night, it was actually very comical. If I had of let go of my cabinet leg, I would have totally just toppled over backwards lol. I should get my daughter to take a picture and post it here haha.

    I remember when I was a child, I could do the third world squat. We lose so much flexibility and mobility as we age. I'm 45 years old, so now is the time to correct it before my 50's arrive.

    Thanks!
  • serapelserapel Member Posts: 502 Member Member Posts: 502 Member
    DopeItUp wrote: »
    Post a video from the side and back/front if you really want a proper assessment. Talking about the cues isn't really going to tell us anything.

    Thanks. I squatted for my former PT yesterday and she said STOP!!! She took me to the TRX and has ordered me to practice using body weight with proper form, until I can do it unassisted with body weight. Sucks!!

    I wrote about it in this thread yesterday :)

    I can hip thrust 155 lbs, but I can't do a body weight squat. :neutral:
  • serapelserapel Member Posts: 502 Member Member Posts: 502 Member
    I really appreciate all the help and support on this website!!! Thanks very much!

    I think I'll post a video when it's not so comical...right now, I look like a clown trying to pee.
  • singingfluteladysingingflutelady Member Posts: 8,740 Member Member Posts: 8,740 Member
    Hip thrusts and squats aren't the same exercise. It's very typical to hip thrusts much higher than your squat. Plus it's a form issue. You can't do something if you have it ingrained into your body wrong.
  • serapelserapel Member Posts: 502 Member Member Posts: 502 Member
    My PT told me yesterday that I may never be able to squat bc I have a hip 2 inches higher than the other. She said that it's not a big deal if I can't squat bc there are many other "king" exercises like lunges, deadlifts, and hip thrusts. She told me not to get hung up on it.

    She then mentioned that there are numerous trainers that do not squat, but have great muscle development, posterior chain and core stability.

    I always wondered why I repeatedly hurt my lower back on the right side. It's because that side is 2 inches lower and I always bend to the lower side. Since working the glutes and hams, I have not hurt my lower back.
  • ryborybo Member Posts: 5,432 Member Member Posts: 5,432 Member
    Did she say that you should do anything to correct that hip imbalance?
  • serapelserapel Member Posts: 502 Member Member Posts: 502 Member
    rybo wrote: »
    Did she say that you should do anything to correct that hip imbalance?

    It's my actual bones (I saw a chiro 10 years ago, who also told me this after an x-ray), so I have been told to strengthen my back, esp. lower back....glutes, hams, stability muscles.

    She said I may never be able to squat and it may not be a good idea to do it with heavier weights.

    I can do everything else tho...lunges, deadlifts, hip thrusts, all upper body. etc.

    Basically, I need to strengthen my whole body :smile:
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