Why You Should Not Sit Your Hips Back Before Squatting

Learn why you should not sit your hips back before squatting

There are many small technique adjustments in the squat, which affect the efficiency of the movement. A common cue when squatting, which some people are told or use, is to sit the hips back. In a way, this is partially correct. 

However, it can be over performed, which can lead to downstream effects that can cause movement errors. The video above explains the issues that can stem from sitting the hips back too much at the beginning of the squat.

As a personal trainer specialising in powerlifting, I bring expertise in addressing such issues both online and in-person. This is an example of the evidence based coaching and training that I provide either face to face in our gym in Taren Point or online.

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Squat Mechanics in Powerlifting

There are many small technique adjustments in the squat, which affect the efficiency of the movement. A common cue when squatting, which some people are told or use, is to sit the hips back. In a way, this is partially correct. However, it can be overperformed, which can lead to downstream effects that can cause movement errors. The video above explains the issues that can stem from sitting the hips back too much at the beginning of the squat.

 

 

The Problem with Sitting Hips Back

Horizontal Deviation of The Centre of Mass
When you sit your hips back too much at the start of your squat, your centre of mass can shift behind your midfoot. As the centre of mass shifts backward, generally, the knees will move forward to regain balance / bring the centre of mass back into the midfoot. This can cause a pendulum-type effect where the centre of mass shifts backward and forward rather than coming down in a straight line.

Energy Wastage and Risk of Imbalance
Any horizontal deviation of the centre of mass (forward or backward) in a squat results in wasted energy. If the centre of mass is moving forward or backwards, you will be wasting energy trying to maintain balance as your body will pull the centre of mass back to your midfoot to stop you from falling over. This causes you to spend energy and contract your muscles to maintain balance, which can be better used to move the barbell vertically up and down.

 

Correcting Your Squat Form

Breaking at Hips and Knees Simultaneously
The hip and knee joints should break simultaneously as you descend into the squat. This coordination will result in a fluid movement with the body moving as one rather than in a disjointed fashion whereby the hips sit back first, followed by the knees breaking and shoving forward.

Achieving the Desired Chest Angle
Rather than pushing your hips back, concentrate on lowering your chest towards the floor (watch the video to understand). By focusing on the end goal – chest pointing towards the floor – your hips naturally sit back when performing a low bar squat.

 

Efficient Squat Technique

Optimising technique to maximise strength on the power lifts requires movement efficiency. By avoiding the unnecessary movement of pushing your hips back excessively at the start of your squat, you can achieve a more efficient squat by minimising losing energy from keeping a vertical centre of mass.

Paul Attard
Paul Attard

Paul is the founder and head coach of SPC Performance Lab. Paul has been coaching since 2014 and has worked with all different types of people. From first timers learning the basics, all the way up to the experienced power-lifting competitors.

He tailors his approach depending on the needs, goals and experience of the individual. Paul has extensive theoretical and practical coaching experience.

- Masters of Sports & Exercise Science (Strength & Conditioning)
- Bachelor’s degree in Exercise & Sports Science with First Class Honours
- Competed and won multiple natural body-building shows & power-lifting competitions.
- Held an Australian power-lifting record.

Free advice

SPC Performance Lab is a gym in Taren Point in the Sutherland Shire, Sydney NSW. It is a private gym that offers strength training, powerlifting and body building training. The gym is open 24 hours, 7 days a week with membership options that include casual or regular visits.

Paul also provides a choice of personal training one on one or the option of online coaching.

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