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As difficult as it may seem, I'm able to keep a more neutral spine and feel a better balance in a high-bar back squat (and with sufficient load, obviously not so heavy to worsen my technique) as compared to a bodyweight squat.

I think the problem is the bodyweight movement pattern I have in my mind.

  1. When I perform a high-bar back squat with sufficient load and I feel it centered on the barbell, I think of the Squat like an elevator. My aim is just moving the barbell up and down (just a little forwards on the way up, since the bar path is not exactly vertical but, for sufficient load, it is roughly vertical) whilst bracing my core and thinking of having full foot on the floor. I don't get confused by asking myself if I should think of sitting back or down etc. My quads, glutes and torso movement is that allows the barbell to be lifted with such a bar path.

  2. Instead, when I perform a bodyweight squat I do not have a lumped load to lift. So, I don't what to think. I find it difficult to balance and to keep a neutral spine at the bottom. Compared to a lowbar back squat, is it more hip-dominant (horizontal torso) or quad-dominant (upright torso)? Does the arm position (figure 1 vs 2) changes it? Sit back or sit down?

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  • You can take a look at this video by Squat U. It answers your questions: youtu.be/BUIu720DQH4 For sit back or sit down, ill suggest that thinking of anterior pelvic tilt may be better, to get your glutes to kick in. But you should first determine why you are unable to keep a neutral spine at bottom. Is it butt wink?
    – Jun
    Oct 9 at 2:32
  • It's quite normal to better maintain orthodox spine position when under load compared to an air/bodyweight squat. I personally treat it as a separate conditioning or warm-up exercise rather than try to make it similar to any loaded version. Oct 9 at 6:58
  • I also find bodyweight squats hard. I think it is due to limb length and or ankle mobility. If I had better ankle mobility I could have my knees more forward and I would be more balanced. You can let your ankles come of the floor like in the hindu squat and this makes it easier to do a lot of reps.
    – Andy
    Oct 9 at 8:03

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