3 squat technique faults and how to fix them.
- The “Turtle Shell” Squat
- The “Good Morning” or “Stripper” Squat
- The “Knee Cave” Squat
The Turtle Shell
One of the most common problems is the dreaded rounded spine. This technique fault often presents on the ascent of the squat. The descent will look great, but on the way up the athlete will hunch over like they’ve got a turtle shell on their back!
Usually the culprit to the “turtle shell” is lack of core stability.
Try this simple cue next time you get under the barbell. Take a big breath and feel for the air going into your stomach. In reality, the air is staying in your lungs. Once the breath is taken “into your stomach,” brace your core like someone is going to punch you in the gut. This is the most efficient way to stabilize the spine when moving big weight and limit the “turtle shell effect”.
The Stripper Squat
Often, the more likely cause of this technique fault is the ability to “turn on” the glutes at the right time due to fatigue. As athletes fatigue while squatting, they often lose their ability to stay balanced and maintain perfect coordination, allowing their chest to fall forward. Excessive forward trunk lean leads to the hips rising faster than the chest on the ascent of the squat.
Try to think about “driving the chest up”
During that ascent phase of the squat, we ideally want to keep the knees in direct alignment with the feet. Any side-to-side deviation from this position decreases the efficiency of the movement.
The main reason athletes allow their knees to collapse during the ascent of the squat is due to poor coordination. Often these muscles are not necessarily weak but instead they are not activated correctly.
A quick solution to the problem is to “drive the knees wide” which should help turn on the lateral glute muscles. However this cue must be followed with “keep your feet firmly planted”. Pushing the knees TOO FAR OUT will cause the foot to roll on its side and the athlete will be off balance. For this reason, think about “jamming your big toe into the ground”. This will make sure you stay balanced throughout the squat.