People with long legs have really hard time squatting. They bend over so much ( like they are bowing to the king ) and every time the weight gets heavy – the movement usually turns into a good morning with a ton of weight. To make the matter even worse when the squat is done this way the primary movers become the glutes and the lifter ends up with big butt and small legs or in other words – the least aesthetic lower body possible. We are truly sorry for those who admire well developed gluteus maximums but they look pretty silly when you have no legs. Since when is the look of Kim Kardashian aesthetically pleasing? Oh, wait! There are plenty of tilted people who probably really like similar images.
So, what can you do to fix it?
Not much really. People with short femurs will forever remain more suited for squatting. Having short upper legs allows you to remain much more upright and as result the quadriceps get more stimulation and you end up with more even lower body muscular development. That’s why short stocky people ( like Tom Platz for example) really like squatting more than deadlifting – they are built for it.
In the video below you can see a Chinese weightlifter squat super heavy weight for a lot of reps. Notice how he has really short legs. This allows him to remain upright. The movement is also pretty short.
People with long legs can still squat insanely heavy weights but they will have hard time competing against the ‘natural squatters’.
Stay away from low bar squats…
If you have long legs and you want to do low bar squats, you will have to bend over a lot in order to balance the bar and there will be even more posterior chain stimulation. That’s why we advise people with long femurs to experiment with high bar squats in order to get more balanced stimulation from squats. Another thing you can try is the good old front squat and the leg press which will naturally allow you to place more stress on the legs instead of the hips.
Use weightlifting shoes…
Another way to shift more stress to the quads and stay more upright during squats is to squat with weightlifting shoes. Those are special kind of shoes with a small wooden heel that elevates the heels of your feet and as result your knees are allowed to travel further while your torso stays more upright. At the same time you can also squat much deeper. However, while it sounds all good and nice there’s one problem that people often experience – knee pain. If you have long legs, there’s even higher chance that you will be among those people.
Focus on doing quality reps…
We’ve all seen it – an ego driven squatter tries to crank out a few more extra reps and all technique is forgotten. More often than not the reps start looking like a sophisticated attempt to break your spine. In the video below you see what happens when you decide to sacrifice form for reps:
You need to avoid doing reps with poor form because you are not really getting anything out of them. It’s better to do a few reps less than sacrificing your form completely for the sake of reaching some symbolical and yet meaningless number of repetitions. In the long term nobody gives a f***, except for your spine.