The Cooper Institute
 

Founded in 1970 by the "Father of Aerobics"
Kenneth H. Cooper MD, MPH

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Correcting the Excess Forward Lean During the Squat

Posted in
Fit Tips

Tuesday, Sep 12, 2017


A common movement pattern deviation observed during the squat is the excessive torso lean. This misalignment in form is often the result of weak back extensors (erector spinae) and hips. However, tight calf muscles (gastrocnemius/soleus) and hip flexors may also be contributing to the problem. The exercises presented in this video can be utilized as corrective strategies for the excessive forward flexion during the squat. While the video focuses primarily on strengthening exercises, it is also important to spend time performing static stretches of the calf and hip flexor muscle groups.

  1. Single Arm Resistance Band Diagonal Flexion
     
    • Preparation: Anchor the tubing from the middle at a knee high attachment point. While standing facing the anchor point, place hands onto the tubing with the palms facing down (pronated). Elbows are extended (but not locked) with hands just in front of the hips. Place feet shoulder width apart with toes pointing directly forward. There should always be tension on the tubing. This is the starting position.
    • Movement: Retract the shoulders. The movement begins with the flexion of one arm while keeping the elbow extended until the hand is above head level. The arm should be wider than the shoulder. Perform 10 -15 repetitions.
    • Tips: If more resistance is needed, move further from the point of attachment. On the other end of the spectrum, if the spine shifts to assist the movement, the resistance should be reduced.
  2. Resistance Band Arm V’s
     
    • Preparation: Assume the starting position of the previous exercise.
    • Movement: Retract the shoulders. The movement begins with the flexion of both arms while keeping elbows extended until both hands reach the “V” position.
    • Tips: This exercise should be performed after the participant has successfully performed the Single Arm Resistance Band Diagonal Flexion. Resistance tips from the previous exercise apply here as well.
  3. Static Wall Sit with Resistance Band Arm V’s
     
    • Preparation: Anchor the tubing from the middle at foot/knee level. While performing a static squat, place hands onto the tubing with the palms facing down (pronated). Elbows are extended just above thigh level. Feet should be shoulder width apart with toes pointing directly forward. Always maintain tension on the tubing.
    • Movement: The movement phase is the same as Resistance Band Arm V’s. However, the exercise is further amplified with the addition of a static wall squat.
  4. Squat with Resistance Band Arm V’s
     
    • Preparation: Assume the starting position of the Single Arm Resistance Band Diagonal Flexion.
    • Movement: Retract the shoulders. The first movement is to flex both arms while keeping elbows extended until the hands are above head level. Hands should be wider than the shoulder at this point. Next, perform a deep squat while holding the arm position described above.
    • Tips: Previous tips still apply. If the participant is having trouble performing the deep squat, a heel lift can be added by placing a board under the heels to aid in performing the squat correctly or to make the movement more comfortable.
  5. Wall Facing Squats
     
    • This exercise is a good alternative for those who have no equipment to perform the previous exercises.
    • Preparation: The participant should stand with upright posture facing the wall and their feet approximately 6 inches away from the wall.
    • Movement: Perform the squat without touching the wall/mirror.
    • Tips: Initially, the starting position may need to be further than 6 inches away from the wall to accommodate those with excess forward lean of the torso. Over time as squat form improves, the participant will work their way closer to the wall.

These are just a few suggestions for improving excess forward lean during the squatting movement. Other exercises that should be incorporated include the supine bridge and the quadraplex. Upon completion of your exercise session, perform static stretching of the calf and hip flexor muscle groups.