HomeFitnessHere’s Why the Old ‘Keep Your Chest Up’ Rule for Squats Is...

Here’s Why the Old ‘Keep Your Chest Up’ Rule for Squats Is Outdated—And Could Potentially Cause an Injury

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Plant your ft. Have interaction your core. Look straight. Stick your butt out. Preserve your chest up.

These are just some of the most typical squatting cues I attempted to remember as a beginner lifter, and but, regardless of following all of them religiously, my barbell squat all the time felt slightly… off. Whereas I used to be in a position to leg press 450 kilos with out breaking a sweat, I may barely squat the barbell by itself. My decrease again would cramp up after a single rep, and my hips would ache on the ascent.

It wasn’t till I began working with a lifting coach and started filming my exercises that I found the foundation of my squat woes: I used to be protecting my chest up an excessive amount of. That’s proper—in my effort to have a “good” squat kind, I used to be really hyperextending my backbone, inflicting what’s referred to within the lifting neighborhood as a “butt wink,” or a pelvic drop on the backside of my squat.


Consultants In This Article

  • Joe Miller, Joe Miller is a USAPL powerlifting competitor, lifting coach, and the co-owner of North Dallas Energy in North Texas.

Because it seems, correct kind really varies drastically from individual to individual, and in response to USA Powerlifting competitor, powerlifting coach, and North Dallas Energy gymnasium co-owner Joe Miller, cues like “maintain your chest up” aren’t precisely golden guidelines to raise by. Right here’s why.

Why the “maintain your chest up” squatting cue isn’t proper for each physique

After we maintain our chest up an excessive amount of in the course of the descent of a squat, we are likely to arch our backs and create a “C” form in our spines as a way to compensate for the unnaturally upright posture. This locations an immense quantity of strain on the decrease again, shifting the burden load from our legs to our lumbar area.

@ericrobertsfitness Every little thing you had been instructed was a lie.. #squats #legday #legworkout #legdayworkout ♬ Morning Sky – Tundra Beats

In response to Miller, this overcorrection really locations the barbell behind our middle of gravity and might result in the aforementioned dreaded “butt wink” on the descent—and might finally result in a nasty decrease again damage.

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“I really assume as a rule, it’s counterproductive,” says Miller in regards to the chest-up cue.“I feel lots of people simply make the error of believing that there is a one-size-fits-all squat kind that includes a really upright torso. A variety of your issues may very well be solved by simply fascinated with it much less and placing your physique right into a place that it is naturally going to need to be in, as a way to keep balanced.”

Simply as our health objectives are wholly distinctive to us, so are our anatomies. Whereas some individuals are comfy squatting with their ft pointing ahead, a few of us have to put our ft at an outward angle as a way to “open” the hips, relying on how our femurs join in our hip sockets.

“In case your femur bones are oriented to the skin of your hips, that is the place your hip socket head is, and you are not going to comfortably squat together with your legs straight ahead at a shoulder-width place—and there is nothing fallacious with that,” provides Miller. (Psst: If you happen to need assistance discovering out which foot placement is finest for you, do this easy bodily screening).

As an alternative of specializing in protecting your chest up throughout your squats, strive the following tips under.

4 squat guidelines to strive as an alternative of “maintain your chest up”

1. Do a physique squat to search out your stance

Earlier than loading up your barbell with weights, do a couple of physique squats in entrance of a mirror, says Miller. Place your ft roughly shoulder-width aside, make your arms into fists and place them subsequent to your shoulders as in case you had been performing a barbell squat. Modify your stance as you carry out the squats till you’ll be able to comfortably attain a degree the place your thighs are no less than parallel to the ground.

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“Your physique is extra prone to find yourself in the appropriate place than somebody telling you what to do,” says Miller. “Observe body weight squats and see what feels good. If you happen to can attain parallel with out something loopy occurring throughout a body weight squat, that is normally a superb start line.”

2. Preserve your head up, not your chest up

Preserving your head up and directing your gaze immediately in entrance of you’ll aid you drive your motion upward in the course of the ascent with out compromising the burden distribution in your decrease half. If you happen to’re squatting in entrance of a mirror, keep away from watching your physique whereas performing the squat. Preserve your eyes locked ahead and have interaction your abs, again, and legs as you carry out the squat.

These with longer torsos and shorter femurs might find yourself in a mostly-upright squat place, however these with longer legs and shorter torsos might should barely tilt their torso ahead as a way to maintain the bar in its vertical path.

“It is a matter of your bone construction,” says Miller. “Totally different folks should squat in a different way.”

3. Think about the barbell can solely journey in a straight vertical path

Quite than contorting your posture to maintain your torso straight-up-and-down, think about that the barbell can solely journey in a vertical path that’s perpendicular to the ground. Modify your foot width, angle, and torso as obligatory to remain balanced and to maintain the barbell on this vertical path.

@deltabolic :x: STOP squatting with a diagonal/curved bar path! This could improve your threat of decrease again damage and reduce your squat power. :white_check_mark: Squat with a vertically straight path For a full coaching program with for suggestions and meal plan, go to the hyperlink in my bio! #squat #squats #squattips #squattutorial #squatform #workouttips ♬ Babel – Gustavo Bravetti

4. Push via the ground

Quite than focusing in your chest lifting up throughout your ascent, give attention to pushing via your ft, as in case you had been making an attempt to push the bottom away from you. This can aid you maintain the strain targeted in your quads, hamstrings, and glutes, quite than your chest and again.

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If you happen to nonetheless battle with weight displacement throughout your squats, contemplate asking knowledgeable coach or lifting coach to observe you as your carry out your squat. Keep in mind: Correct kind can range from individual to individual, and in case you’re feeling an excessive amount of strain in your decrease again, it’s possible you’ll want to regulate your stance to redirect the burden load again onto your legs.

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