Following on from our article on toes turning out during squats, which discussed fixing such a problem during wide-stance squats, this piece looks at the foot-angle issue from the perspective of the toes staying where they are but the heels sliding in.
The first part of the solution is fairly simple: distribute more of your weight back into the heels of your feet so they have more traction with the floor surface and are less likely to slide in. The weight distribution needs to be even between the 3 key areas of the foot (ball of the foot; outside edge of the foot; and the heel (especially the inside half of the heel)). Continue reading
To conclude our series concerning how best to maintain squat balance, we’re now going to look at upper back position. In case you missed the earlier articles in the series, we started with a simple question, how to maintain squat balance, and have so far explored options for ankle flexibility, improving quad strength, and keeping your thighs externally rotated.
The correct upper back position in the squat is sometimes referred to with the “chest-up” cue. You need to think about keeping your rib-cage high throughout the squat, which is achieved through contracting the muscles either side of your upper (thoracic) spine. As well as the “chest-up” cue, you will hear this referred to as “creating thoracic spine extension”. It helps with balance in the squat as it prevents the upper back from rounding over (forwards), which can tip the weight on the bar forwards, along with the person. Continue reading
The next component in preventing excessive forward lean for balance in the squat is using the hip muscles (glutes) to externally rotate the thighs throughout the exercise. Use of the hips is an often forgotten element of good squat technique, but without understanding and using these muscles properly you will limit the transfer of force from the legs to the back. And, as we have covered in the quad strength article, relying predominantly on your back strength leads to an imbalanced excessive forward leaning squat. So how do you effectively use your hips in the squat? Continue reading