Why I Don’t Like The Cue “Sit Back” And What To Use Instead

One of the most used cues in powerlifting through the years has been “sit back”. And while I am sure it has worked for many people, or else it probably wouldn’t still be used, it also tends to develop bad habits when that cue is taken out of context. Yes the hips do need to have some movement backwards, but there should never be movement backwards that doesn’t also coincide with movement down. Above are side by side videos of Abbee (Click this link to view video). On the left we have the typical negative outcome that I see from the cue sit back. The lifter pushes their hips back at the start and the knees breaks late, which then usually leads to some type of anterior pelvic tilt and eventually the lifter shifting forward at the bottom to compensate. The pattern created from “sit back” becomes “back then down”, which is incorrect. Any movement back should be accompanied by movement down, which in my opinion is better achieved through the cue “sit behind your heels”. Cues such as these work because it gives the lifter a frame of reference and target for how their body should move. The “sit behind your heels cue” takes the context of sitting back, but now adds the element of downward movement. This will naturally force a more even break at the hips and the knees, as it is impossible to “sit behind your heels” if the legs stay straight. The same cannot be said about “sit back”. On the right you can see what is achieved when using the “sit behind your heels” cue, as well as the directional movement that these differing cues promote. By now cueing with the proper directional movement in mind, the hopeful out come will be more efficient and consistent squat technique. As with all cues, everyone internalizes them differently and one size doesn’t fit all. But I do believe for those who struggle with the aforementioned issue from the “sit back” cue could very much benefit from implementing “sit behind your heels” instead.

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