The squat is one of the most impressive exercises because of its ability to develop the lower body and improve overall health. However, you may be unable to squat as heavy as you like for several reasons. This article will go over the possible reasons why you can not squat heavy and recommend steps on how to fix it.
Reasons for poor squats and how to fix them
Here are some reasons you may be unable to squat heavy and the steps you can take to address them:
Your hips are essential to your squats, and they determine how successful your squats will be or otherwise. Your pelvis is neutral when its front and back are in a straight line, and you may be unable to squat heavy if it is not neutral.
Tight hip flexors are usually why your pelvis may not be in a neutral position. The tight flexors limit your glutes and abdominal engagement during the squat, and with your glutes being the main mover while squatting, this considerably affects how well you can squat.
Tight hip flexors is a common problem that typically results from lifestyle circumstances. When we spend most of the time sitting, the flexors get used to the limited motion range and become tight, shortened, and weak.
You need to perform different stretches to fix this issue and get more mobility to your hips. For example, the hip flexor stretch is perfect as it is simple and easy to perform. You can accomplish this stretch by kneeling on one leg and extending the other in front. After that, gradually push your hips forward, Keeping your back straight, till you notice a pull in your back leg and hip’s upper thigh.
📖 Related Article: If you're enjoying this article you may want to also check out: Stretches to Do Before Squatting
You can also perform the deep squat seat to fix your hip mobility. Deep squats help you develop lower body strength, increase hip mobility, and stretch your back. Consistent deep squat seats can help you regain your hip mobility and help you squat heavy.
💡 Quick Tip: For optimal comfort while squatting, you need comfortable weightlifting shoes. As a result, we recommend the Nobull Trainer+ to protect your feet and legs while squatting
Poor ankle mobility
Ankle mobility is necessary if you want to squat deep and heavy. This is because tight and immobile ankles reduce your ability to perform deep and heavy squats as it affects your posterior chain. The standard test for poor ankle flexibility is an inability to keep your feet flat while squatting.
With poor ankle mobility, your body tends to tilt forward while lifting weights, putting more pressure on your spine as your back starts to round. This makes using heavier weights more dangerous as your lack of balance may result in you putting excessive stress on your spine.
There are several reasons for poor ankle mobility, with tight calf muscles being the most common. As a result, you can improve your ankle mobility by working on your calves. You can also incorporate the ankle dorsiflexion stretch, knees-over-toes lunges, or calf foam rolls to develop mobility in your ankles. In working on your calves, you can include the Rumbleroller Gator, which helps massage the muscles, replicating the effect therapists have with their fingers.
Poor spine mobility
Restrictions resulting from poor spine mobility are another potential reason why you may be unable to squat heavy. This is primarily because the human spine plays several key roles in our ability to perform deep squats.
Your thoracic spine houses several main nerves that allow the lower body to move, so poor spinal conditions can cause interferences in nervous signals with the lower body. As a result, you may be unable to coordinate your body or gather sufficient strength while squatting correctly.
You can perform various exercises to improve your thoracic spine conditions. The T-spine rotation is a good exercise involving kneeling with your palms on the floor in front of you. You place one hand behind your ear with your elbows pointing out behind you. Next, you twist your back in the same direction as your outpointing elbow, as if to extend the elbow to the other hand’s shoulder.
📖 Related Article: If you're enjoying this article you may want to also check out: How to Stop Leaning Forward When Squatting
Another reason you may be unable to squat heavy is inexperience. Weightlifting is a complex activity, and you require sufficient experience with form and lower weights before you climb the ranks and squat heavier loads.
Many gymgoers engage in ego lifting for several reasons, hampering their ability to perform proper squats as they are yet to perfect the basics. You can address the issue of inexperience with patience and discipline. You can start squats with your body weight to perfect your squat form before moving on to weighted squats. If you progress through the weights maximally, you will be able to squat heavy in due time.
💡 Quick Tip: You want to use machines rather than free weights if you are just starting, as it helps you with several aspects of the lift, including balance and proper form. Try the Leverage squat machine to help you develop your legs without worrying about your balance and posture.
Leverage squat machine
Postural imbalance or shift occurs when your body moves off its center of gravity. As a result, while your feet remain flat on the ground, your weight keeps shifting back and forth. Your back rounds during the squat as a natural response to feeling like falling when your weight shifts to the front. As a result of your back rounding, you may be unable to squat heavy.
You can develop your balance and ensure a straighter back by keeping your feet firmly planted on the floor.
Imagine it as though you are clawing your big and pinky toe into the ground while simultaneously feeling pressure on your heels.
You can also make side-view videos of your squats to figure out where you attach the most weight.
This helps you ensure the necessary modifications to place the weight above your midfoot to remain balanced. Using comfortable barbells like the Titan series cerakote Olympic barbell also enables you to stay focused on your back while you squat.