T Nation

All the Squats Form Check


My squat is always a battle. I felt a little forward on the high bars that I think a low bar squat would help a ton but that was rough on the wrists and sciatica.

Any and all thoughts?

Thanks in advance.


With much respect:

Your head is a little stuck out forward. Your body is following your head. You can feel this pulling you forward. As a result, your Upper back is rounding a little. To counter, your butt sticks out the back a a little. This strain on your back is probably what’s causing the sciata.

Drive your traps into the bar. Use your lats to bend that shit over your shoulders.


Also note in the bearded dude’s photo, with the eyes looking down more, the spine is more horizontal. Rippetoe wants it even more horizontal than this and uses “Nipples to the floor” as a cue.

I’m not sure how this would effect the sciatica issue.


Fletch has taught me about the difference between “Squatting to a Box” and “Box Squatting.”

When you squat to a box, like to touch and establish depth, its natural to start to stick your butt back, looking for the box. Over time, you train yourself to go butt back/forward lean. You alter your squat too much. This is the classic (false)argument against box squats.

During a for real box squat, you sit back unto the box. Then you adjust your position, like leaning back, to get the bar over your hips and get your back closer to upright. With your whole body behind your feet like that, you have to stay upright and lead with the head.

Maybe you have developed forward leaning style because of the squats to a box? Your back is muy fuerte, so you might be prone to back raise squats up anyway.


I’d suggest looking into Alpha’s squat videos and So you think you can squat over at Elite.

You can try unwrapping your thumb from the bar with a suicide grip for starters. That should help the wrist pain.

Initiate the squat with your hips by pushing back and down first then bending at the knees. Currently you’re starting the movement by bending your knees. This makes it hard to hit depth. Combine with your foot placement ( toes pointing pretty heavily outward ) your hips are probably being put into a very uncomfortable position which leads to the lower back pain.

Head positioning could also come into play here, try pulling the head backwards packing the chin and see if that helps.


Markko blew my mind when he taught me the Cure for Buttwink is to drive your glutes forward before you start the squat, while you’re still standing. This brings your hips under you, keeps your spine neutral, and keeps you more upright.

Then, on the descent the glutes just keep working, because they are already “on.”

Are you fighting the butt wink so hard, you are using less glutes and more back?


You know i’m surprised how many people don’t know to engage your glutes before squatting.

Also a good cue for him.


Nobody told us! It’s like it comes so natural to so many people, that they don’t mention it.

J.L. Holdsworth totalled like 2500, then injured his back because he didn’t know how to do it.

But Rymon, in Egypt is getting sore glutes and perfect quad action, totally by accident, from day 1.


I agree with slightly forward posture. I get it too due flexibility in shoulder issues . have you tried using a low bar back position by moving the grip out a bit and placing the bar further down your back.


Thats not needed THANK YOU!!!

Probably something to this.

I point the toes like that to keep the knees out other wise my hips dont open. If you notice on the front squats I try to keep them pointed more forward and when I go down they move. I start by bending at the knees to help push them forward in an attempt to keep more upright.

I will try the hands further out tomorrow. Low bar has never felt great on the back (although it has always felt more powerful)


High Bar First:
-Head Back and Upper Back straight (this will probably help elbows too)
-Engage Glutes by pushing them forward pre-descent
-I will try both breaking at hips and knees first to see what feels right

-Everything with high bar
-Move hands further out


How am I going to sleep tonight?


@BOTSLAYER sorry I’m late to the party. They look pretty good, but I’ll add to the good points already made:

  • it looks to me like you’re pushing your knees forward rather than out. I always figure that drags your hips forward and up, making it harder to hit depth. Even if you’re trying to sit back, that forward knee travel cancels it out a fair bit. I like the cues knees out, glutes squeezed hard the whole way down and weight on the heels and outside of the foot. That generally fixes buttwink and also helps depth.

  • I would really recommend dropping the elbows forward cue for elbows in (into your sides), and also stop pulling on the bar until it’s so heavy you have to. At all other times, just rest your fingers around the bar and space them so your wrist doesn’t bend (that could be wide and could mean a three finger grip). Instead of relying on squeezing the bar to lock in your upper back and keep your chest up, combine pulling your elbows into your sides with pulling your scapulae down as for bench or press. Relax your arms below the elbow. It’ll feel unstable at first but you’ll get used to it. Only grip the bar hard for heavy work.

  • sit the bar so when you drive your head back into it you’re actually gripping it with your middle traps like a hotdog in a bun. That also will put it at a good height I think.


Sorry, if in reference to the respect thing I didnt mean it that way, I meant it in a goes with out saying way.

What nobody knows is this party goes until the job is done MWAHAHAHAHA :smiley: and thank you for the input it has been added to the cue list.

Buuut I couldnt let this go another day without putting in work on it so just finished a little squat session, video sucked for lighting but I noticed some things and tried a ton of things to see what works. Sciatica flared with some things but probably more related to reps. My ultimate goal would be to be able to rep squats with no sciatica issues.

Tomorrow I am squating again. I have a feeling I am going to be squating at least once a day until this is fixed.

Also just watched Alsruhe. (Feel dumb for waiting this long)

-I will try singles to see what happens with sciatica (even with the box, reps gave me sciatica)
-I will break by pushing the knees out
-Keep bar placement to how it has always been (middle bar, low bar is terrible for me and high bar isnt much different just a bit less comfortable)
-Elbows and scapula tucked
-Glute engage and through out
-Head Back but neutral


Oh no, I just meant I would be anxious (all thru Tuesday night) to hear about how your squats went! (On Wednesday/Today)

Initially, I just wanted to be careful, talking to a dude moving bigger weights than me.


Are your hips not opening because they just don’t open without that foot angle or are your hips not opening because you’re not externally rotating?


Haha we were on the exact same page whole time!!! And thank you for your input!!

Not sure I understand. Basically I feel like i can get lower in the hole before butt wink starts.

-Really not sure my depth is even close. With the box I know I hit it every time and it was to depth.
-Next issue is I think the glute engage actually engages sciatica. It is also impossible for me to both lower and hold glute tension. I will try to engage then keep tension like if you were doing a dumbell curl, open and close.
-My walk out sucks
-I tried to remember the elbows but it just felt like the bar was going to fall off.
-These are starting to sound like excuses, FK ME!

As for depth which ones were white lights? or closest to white lights?

Flight and Power

You get used to it after a while. That’s what teaches you to lock down your scaps and find the right bar position I think. Try not to cock your wrists so much, and move our hands out further.

Two plates. That said, the rest weren’t a mile high.

I did notice something though. On quite a few reps, from the get go, it looks like you have a momentary loss of tightness just as you bottom out and come up. You’re fine, you hit your depth and then it’s like a little stutter and you come up. Is that the sciatica bugging you or don’t you feel what I’m describing?


Not bad. You are more upright, and your hips are starting to “come thru” at the top, instead of sticking out the back.

Here is big J.L. -Maybe this can help with the walkout?

Here is some little dude talking about not over-arching the lower back

Don’t be afraid to set your box up, and free squat or front squat, or light back squat between “real” sets, to get a feel for depth.

I think Mark and corstijeir are talking about the same thing with your hips. If you can externally rotate your legs, almost like you were going to turn your knees out to use your spurs when riding a horse, you will be able to stay tight at the bottom.

If your thighs are “turned open” your pelvis can drop straight down, instead of sticking out the back.

Ed Coan says " show your taint"
Dan John says “don’t let your zipper disappear.”



My squat went from like 20% (technically moving weight in a squat motion) to 85%.

I think this is what is causing the sciatica!!! Today I focused on keeping lower back tight whole time…and pushing the hips forward.

Ok, this is why I open my feet so much. After today I think I might be able to slowly move my feet a little more forward but one thing at a time.

I did a more traditional warmup (for me). For actual squats I slowed every thing way down and treated the reps more as stretches. I was able to go deeper as the session went on.

My major limiting factor is my ankles, primarily my right. When down in the hole I was pretty much on the balls of my feet, not ideal but it worked for today.

Also I have what I would call a hip bubble or dead zone where it seems once past this spot I can push my hips forward more to hit depth but whether going up or down my hips have to move back to go around this spot.

I think with time both will open up. I want to be able to get in the hole in a fluid motion not having to get down then push my hips forward and then again my hips kind of pop back on the way up.

My walk out was better today. Once I get the squat fixed I will really get into that.


Sure looked much better. Keep track of how your wrists and elbows feel with that close grip. If they’re happy, great.