During squats, on my way back up my weight keeps shifting to the balls of my feet. From my understanding my weight should be roughly distributed throught he foot, with maybe a little bit more on the heel.

What could this mean about my form?

I don't have any footage or photos to show at the moment.


3 Answers 3


Footage would be great. I have to re-correct this in my squat form periodically. There can be a number of issues that contribute to it:

  • Bar too high or too low on the back: pushes out of the optimal bar path, and can cause excessive leaning.
  • Knees traveling too far forward: pushes the hips up and the upper body forward.
  • Weak upper back or core: unable to hold the weight up.

The best thing you can do while you are trying to fix this is:

  • Use video from different angles
  • Find the fewest number of cues that get you to the correct form
  • Incorporate pause squats
  • Think "heels, heels, heels"

Most recently the culprit has been my knees traveling too far forward. I've had to dump attempts on the safeties I would normally be able to make because of the forward lean. Pause squats, video, and a good forum of knowledgeable people are invaluable tools. A pause squat is where you stay at the bottom position for a few seconds, then explode out of that position. If you don't where squat suits, this has much more carry over to your unpaused squats than box squats. Also, you usually have a much better feel for what's going on at the bottom.

However, in your situation it could be that your upper back is rounding causing you to slump or do "squat-mornings" (combination squat and good morning) which is very hard on your body. If that's the case, you will need to strengthen your back to handle the load.

  • The three cues that help me the most are: 1. Think of sitting in a chair on the way down - this keeps my knees from travelling forward 2. Drive with your heels on the way up 3. Keep your head up (actually neutral or looking slightly up) - keeps me from rounding my back
    – matt
    Sep 9, 2012 at 20:43

A video of your movement would be very helpful. However, a common cause of this is poor hamstring flexibility. The good news is that squatting is a great way to stretch out that muscle. For now you might resolve this by spreading your feet further apart, which will allow you to sit your butt down further without tipping forward. Also, a good mental cue is to imagine there is a $100 bill under each heel, and you don't want to let somebody pull it out.


My guess is your issue is any one of the following.

  • You are resting the bar too far forward. I see a lot of people in my gym with the bar resting almost on their neck. This is very dangerous and hard to watch. It should be resting across your rear deltoid. Refer to the picture in @BerinLoritsch's answer to this question for proper bar placement. It should feel too far back when you unrack it. It will then feel solid during the squat movement. I'd recommend throwing out the towel/padding. It is harder to feel where it is resting and can result in movement during the lift. If it is resting on your muscle you won't feel much discomfort.
  • You are NOT leading with your butt. You need to actively lead the squat down with your butt with a pronounced arch in your lower back. On the way up you also need to lead with your bum. Don't let your back fall over on the way up. Keep a slight (15 degrees or so) lean forward but consciously keep yourself fairly upright as you stand up.

Make sure you use safety bars so that if the lift is failing, you can sit back down and let go of it. Do NOT lean forward and let it roll off your neck. You will do damage this way. In fact if your first instinct is to lean forward to dump the weight then you can be pretty sure the bar is too far forward. It should feel natural just to squat down and dump the weight on the safety bars.

Happy squatting.

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