Squatting with Long Legs – Strategies for Better Form!

Squatting with long legs can be very difficult. The length of your thighs impacts body positioning making hitting full depth more difficult than it is for shorter-legged athletes. But with a few simple adjustments, we can often rapidly improve positioning for better squat mechanics.

Watch the following video for 3 great tactics to help improve your squat if you’re struggling with your long legs!

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Squatting with Long Legs

Video Transcript:

You’ll commonly hear athletes that have longer femurs complain about squats, say it’s more difficult for them to hit positionings. We’re going to talk about why that is and what you can do if you’re in that situation to improve your mechanics and your positioning for different squat variations.

When somebody talks about having long legs and that impacting their squat, we’re talking about somebody’s femur here, their thighbone. If that’s long as that individual squats down, it’s going to really position their hip joint far behind the middle of their foot. And because it’s really far behind the middle of their foot, that’s going to make it a little bit more difficult for them to keep an upright torso as they squat, because that hip joint’s really far back, it makes them want to lean forward to stay balanced over that midfoot.

And that’s not necessarily a bad thing if we’re talking about that individual back squatting, but if we’re trying to take that to an overhead squat or to a front squat, when we’re trying to stabilize a lot of weight and a little bit more of a challenging position, that forward torso position becomes more difficult for those individuals. So we really want to improve their positioning if we can. And so we’re going to talk about three different strategies to help you out there. Number one, typically when people squat, they squat toes forward or just slightly out and for a lot of people that’s fine, but a lot of people actually do significantly better when they toe out even more and maybe go even wider. And particularly for people with long legs this can be very helpful. And I’ll demonstrate this from the side. So I’m going to squat right now with my toes pointed forward. And I want you to kind of measure the distance from my hip joint to my knee, with my toes forward.

Now, if I rotate my legs out and come out a little wider, the distance there, the length of my femur, shortened a bit. If your femur is a little shorter, it makes it easier to keep your hip joint close to the middle of your foot. So that’s strategy number one. Strategy number two is to improve ankle mobility. So if we’re squatting and we’re able to drive our knees further forward, that takes our hip joint and moves it closer to the middle of the foot. So improving ankle dorsiflexion is great for people that have long legs. The final solution here is related to that, but that’s often elevating people with long legs, elevating their heels helps them out a ton. So that might be wearing weightlifting shoes, that might mean elevating their heels up on plates. But same as the ankle mobility, this allows us to push our hips further forward so that the hip joint is closer to the middle of the foot, which lets us keep a little bit more upright torso, which is a little bit better positioning for certain squat variations. So I hope those three tips help you out if you’re dealing with long leg issues in your squat. As always check out The Barbell Physio.com for more information to improve your performance in and out of the gym.