Flat Back Does Not Mean Vertical Spine

When executing the barbell back squat, beginners typically misinterpret the “flat back” cue and try squatting with their back/torso perpendicular to the ground. Ain’t gonna work.¬† This flawed and unfortunately common approach not only keeps them¬† from lifting as heavy and safely as they’re actually capable, but in the process it wreaks havoc on their knees.

When squatting, a flat back does not mean a vertical spine. Yes, your back/torso is flat when viewed from the side but relative to the ground, your torso is actually angled about 45-degrees (as shown in above photos). That is, keeping your back flat — i.e., chest up, spine extended — you bend at the hip as you squat and “shove your butt in the hole.”

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