Half Squats/Half Good Morning

In Strongman Mastery by admin12 Comments

As discussed in previous articles I’ve been working on weighted squats a bunch lately.

In the past I found that my lower back would often get sore or tired, or be the cause of failing at a certain weight.

This was odd, since my lower back was much stronger than average, from all the kettlebell work and round back dead lifting I did.

But I didn’t think too much about it, because I didn’t care much for squats at that time.

Since I’ve become more focused on them I’ve been steadily progressing. And I took this video from the side as I set a new PR in the bottom position squat.

As you can see it’s half way between a good morning and a squat. At this height my thighs should be easily parallel with the ground but I end up with such a high hip position that they don’t.

My lower back is strong so its trying to do most of the work! Thus its all the more important to bring my leg strength up.

Since noticing just how “bad” my form was now I’m focusing much more on front squats than back squats. These force a much more upright position, and thus more use of the legs.

Bringing up a weak link can be a humbling experience.


  1. Way to attack your weaknesses! Most people don’t have the strength (LOL) to do that.

    I’m curious why you are doing bottom-position squats? I find those much harder to keep an upright posture because I start off in bad position and all bent over. At least when I load the bar standing up I feel I have a decent shot at dropping down in good position. I’ve had great success with the deep front squat because of the upright posture.

    And clearly you appear to have plenty of hip mobility. You ass-to-grass as you get under the bar.

    1. Author

      Bottom position because they’re harder. More driving strength without the stretch reflex, which should help more with deadlifts. As you saw in the several reps I did that my position was much the same from the start or descending.

      Yeah, I’m not sure what Dan meant because full squats aren’t a problem at all for me.

  2. Hi Logan,

    Great work on the squats and your site.

    I really enjoy these videos and your transparency when it comes to your training. Like Scott said, most people don’t have the courage to “face” their weaknesses.

    I know when I switched to bottom position squats a while ago, it was a humbling experience. First, I had to drop the amount of weight on the bar. Second, I had to overcome the learning curve, which only slowed down progress. I stuck with it and it was worth it, as it will be for you.

    It’s a little difficult providing my two cents without being there with you, or knowing exactly what your goals are. That being said, here are a few of the things I’m things I’m noticing.

    1.) Your starting position is conducive to “falling forward,” which leads to rounding your back.

    -Unless you’re doing this on purpose, i.e. a powerlifting squat, you need to start with more of an upright torso, i.e. high bar Olympic squats. This will require you to bring your hips “forward” a bit more. To do this without having your knees a mile in front of your toes, “open” your knees up a bit. Instead of having them pointing directly ahead, I.e. 12 o’clock, have them off at an angle, I.e. left knee and toes pointing at 10 or 11 o’clock and right knee and toes pointing at 1 or 2 o’clock.

    -Once you do the above, you need to make sure you keep a strong arch in your entire back, especially your lower back. DO NOT get in the habit of letting your lower back round and your butt “tuck/roll” under you, aka Butt Wink. (I know, weird name.)

    2.) In all likelihood, you’re correct about your back trying to do most of the work. This would be due to:

    A) Your back being stronger than your legs due to the back “centric” exercises/routines you’ve been doing.

    -This can be addressed in a few ways, one of them being to address weak links in the cgain, i.e. doing front squats to strength your quads.

    B) Your body is used to round back lifting, therefore, it defaults to that “groove.”

    -This can be addressed in a few ways, including teaching your body proper form through “perfect practice” and lifting cues.

    What I mean by “Perfect Practice” is, using a weight light enough that you can easily do multiple sets/reps multiple times a day and/or week, but not so light that you can get away with lifting outside of the groove. Perfecting form requires performing perfect reps until they become ingrained and subconscious. You can speed this up with by increasing the frequency of your “practice sessions.”

    As for lifting cues, it’s a little more difficult without a partner or coach watching and calling out cues. One way around this is to learn what proper form is, film yourself lifting, find out where your form is breaking down, work on the cue to correct it by saying it to yourself as you perform the exercise again.

    3.) “Mobility”

    -Dan mentioned the need to increase “mobility,” and he may or may not be correct. Meanwhile, Scott said you appeared to be ATG when getting under the bar, inferring that your mobility is sufficient, but appearances can be deceiving (no offense Scott).

    Here’s why…

    A) You did drop your hips way down when getting under the bar to set up. However, your hips never dropped to that point again during your set.

    B) Hip mobility/flexibility when it comes to the High Bar/Olympic squat isn’t simply judged by how far you can lower your hips/butt by sitting “back.” The “form” you used to get under the bar isn’t the same path/form your hips would move in when doing a HB/Oly squat with proper form.

    C) Since you didn’t move along the path of a proper HB/Oly squat, we can’t tell if your mobility is sufficient or not.

    I hope this was helpful.

    If you have any questions, you have my email adress and phone number, I’d be happy to help.

    Talk soon,

    1. Author

      Thanks for the insight Ray. I’m pretty sure mobility isn’t the issue, since I can squat loaded with a lighter load or unloaded pretty much any way I want.

      I do plan on, and have been, working on front squats a lot more. As you said those should help me develop quad power and keeping an upright back.

      1. You’re welcome Logan,

        Sounds like you have a plan, re: front squats.

        Maybe you can post a video using an easy weight to see how your form is?

        One thing I found myself doing in the past was, sacrificing form for more weight on the bar. It would creep up on me, and before I knew it, I’d have to drop weight and discipline myself to keep proper form.

        Getting in the habit of filming myself and checking how things are going was a big help.

        Take care,

          1. That would be great.

            Including some back squats, bottom position and “normal” style, with easy weight would be helpful, too.

            If you’re looking to improve you’re bottom position back squats, it would be beneficial to see how you do them with an easier weight.

            Looking forward to the video,

            All the best,

  3. Haha, I thought you said you suck at these. I just did bottom position squats tonight with the same weight and you did better than me. I can do 350 for reps from standing, but bottom position is WAY harder in my opinion. Soon you will be doing over 400 from this position. You have the ability and drive to improve on whatever you set your mind to. Keep up the good work, and serving as inspiration to the rest of us. Mike.

    1. Author

      Yes it is significantly harder. Picked this up from Bud Jeffries and judging by his squatting success they’re well worth doing.

  4. The only thing I noticed was form breakdown on descent after the first rep and then for the rest of the reps. First rep going up looked great!! Seeing what you usually post and talk about I have to agree that it is just back strength dominating the movement and maybe not being used to squat movement?

    I used to squat from the bottom when I had a rack available. I noticed that it was much harder to stay tight and keep good form from the bottom than when I would clean or steinborn the weight first.

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