Legs or Back fail in squat


Muscles used in different phase of squat:

  1. In the hole/bottom: quads and glutes
  2. Slightly above parallel: quads
  3. Lockout: hamstring and glutes

Strong Legs vs Weak Back

  • Fast out of hole – sudden sticking point
  • More apparent when knees shift back (eg: comes out of hole, knees shift back, back takes over, but not strong enough, hits a hard sticking point). Cue to fix this: actively push back into the bar with chest (reinforces position of hips under bar)
  • Direct back work – RDL, Good mornings, Back Raises
  • Obvious leverage disadvantages aside, this athlete will have stronger squat compared to conventional deadlift. Athletes who have trained deadlift less may tend to show this symptom.

Strong Back vs Weak Legs

  • Knees shifts back out of the hole, turns the lift into a goodmorning and finish the lift
  • Miss the squat at the bottom (because quads are not strong enough)
  • Direct leg work (address quad without involving back) – belt squat, leg press, hack squat, front squat, high bar. Take caution when doing front squat & high bar squat: avoid letting back take over when coming out of bottom position.
  • 6-8 sets of 8-15 reps of belt squats (2-3x/week depending on athlete)


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