T Nation

Anna's Training Log


You don’t want to turn your feet out more if you can’t get your knees out more, knees have to go same direction as toes or it puts a lot of strain on the knee joint and can lead to problems.

What I’m talking about is abducting your hips and internally rotating them somewhat, exactly like the tactical frog stretch.

If that’s what it takes to hit depth then do it. You need to perform every squat the same way, regardless of weight. A lot of people descend fast and deep when the weight is light but they slow down when the weight is heavy and can miss depth. You should descend as fast as you can without losing tightness, and you should be able to descend like that on your heaviest squats as well, this is how you should do all your squats whether warm ups or down sets.

Post a video of some lighter squats, we might need to take a different approach to get your technique sorted out. I think you might be better of doing back squats twice a week, you can still do front squats as an assistance lift but more frequent practice is good for sorting out technical issues.


I just realized that I missed this reply, if you are replying to me then either tag me or reply to one of my posts so that it shows up in my notifications.

The squat depth problem could be an issue in terms of bottom end strength, but it might just be that you get nervous when the weight is heavy and you change your descent. I need to see a video of some lighter squats to know what is going on. If you can’t perform the lifts to competition standards then don’t worry about taking a few pounds off the bar, you should be ahead of where you are now soon enough.

Part of it could be due to technique problems, and that is why it’s good to post videos now and then so that you can fix those issues. Other than that, pushing yourself too hard on things that don’t need to be pushed (like I have mentioned before), doing challenging stuff during a deload, and not gaining weight are all holding you back. Gaining weight (muscle, not fat) is the easiest way to increase your lifts, if you don’t have a lot of muscle mass then you are severely limited in how strong you can get. I know you are a teenage girl and you don’t want to get fat, but look at some drug-tested female powerlifters, like Marisa Inda or that other girl they have in the JTS videos, they are lean and physically fit plus they lit big weights. That should be the objective.

I remember you saying that you are taking a trip in a couple weeks, maybe we need to come up with a new strategy to work past some of these issues, particularly the squat.

Definitely put the hooks a notch lower. For squat I have the bar set slightly below my collarbones. I train alone so I never have anyone give me a lift off and for bench I have the hooks set maybe 3-4 inches short of lockout. Unracking a squat on your toes is dangerous, and it can make re-racking it impossible, I would rather have it set too low if that is the only option. For bench, like I said you absolutely have to keep your shoulder blades locked together from before you unrack until the set is done, not doing that will limit how much you can lift and can lead to a shoulder injury. If you can count on having someone to give you a lift off then you can probably get away with have the hooks higher (but not as high as you have them).

Watch this: Bryce Lewis explains the self-unrack for bench press - I haven’t watched this because I have it figured out for myself but whatever he says is probably a good idea-

About your deadlift, it looks like you might be gripping a bit too wide and that’s why I thought it was conventional. I can’t tell from the side angle, but your hands should be directly below your shoulders. Post a video from the front, and in the future try to avoid getting the windows in the background because it messes up the lighting in the video.


Week 1: Day 5

Front Squat: 5x5-125lbs
RDL: 2x7,1x8-130lbs
DB Row: 2x15-24kg DB
Abs: 3x(40sec+20sec rest)-hollow hold

Preworkout: Lower body a bit tired, not sore. Pretty excited to workout though, just a bit tired
Workout: Front squats felt pretty heavy and hip shift pretty bad by the 4th and 5th rep. RDLs felt much better. Getting better at bracing and didn’t round at all. DB rows really worked upper back. Hollow holds killed abs, but easier than expected
Postworkout: Mentally buzzed but physically tired. Laid on floor for a solid 5 min. Felt like an “off switch” clicked


I’d love to back squat more as I’m finding front squats increasingly annoying for some reason. I’ll film my top set and my first top set on Monday.


You can film some front squats too, that might give us some insight into what is going on and whether they are still worth doing. Some people get a lot out of front squats, and those are usually people who have good technique with them and can handle some decent weight, if that is your situation then I wouldn’t discard them completely.


Week 1: Day 6

Touch and go bench: 5x5-100lbs
DB incline bench: 3x10-16kg Dbs
Face pulls: 3x15-21kg
Technique: Pullups

Preworkout: Felt pretty good mentally but lower body pretty sore, not too tired
Workout: Felt good and strong all the way through. especially happy with DB incline press. Really worked shoulders and upper back- pretty good pump.
Postworkout: Upper body dead. Felt really good and accomplished, best workout in a while.


Week 2: Day 1

Back Squat: 1x3-155lbs; 8x3-135lbs
Video of my top set 70kg:

  • The set didn’t feel too heavy but I really struggled out of the hole. I also didn’t really feel any of the squats in my glutes.

Pause Squat: 4x3-135lbs
Lat Pulldown: 2x13,1x15-24kg

Preworkout: lower body felt absolutely amazing, a bit tired though and stomach cramping a bit
Workout: Squats felt pretty light on back but had a hard time in the hole. Pause squats actually felt more stable and better than the regular squats. The squats actually didn’t feel too hard on my legs but I was having a pretty hard time bracing and got pretty lightheaded out of nowhere on the last 3 sets. Lat pulldowns fine
Postworkout: felt great- worked hard but not crushed, felt like I could have pushed it more in hindsight


It’s hard to tell from the camera angle but it looks like you’re still not hitting depth, that’s probably your biggest issue. Again, don’t extend your back so much, that is going to make it harder to hit depth and is an inefficient movement pattern, it won’t allow you to move as much weight. You want minimal movement in your torso. Also, it looks like you have some sort of twisting thing going on as you come up, what’s going on there?

If you are doing pause squats and not actually squatting to depth that could worsen your problems. Take weight off if necessary so that you can do them right, that is the one of the best exercises to fix issues with squat depth.


If you get a pair of weightlifting shoes with a raised heel that will make it easier to hit depth and with your squat style it’s likely to make your squat feel better and allow you to lift more. You should still work on hip mobility either way, I think that’s what your main issue is unless you are just limiting depth because the weight is heavy (post a video of one of your downsets). Some minor changes in your technique will make a big difference, you are pushing your knees way forward and combined with extending your back it makes it hard to reach depth.

Watch the JTS “squat pillars” videos on YouTube when you have a chance, the bench and deadlift videos will help you too. That is the best series of videos on PL technique that I have seen and they are split up into short videos, I strongly recommend you watch them.


Yeah, the camera angle was definitely not the best. The person filming the set said my first and 3rd reps hit depth, the second one was high. My pause squats are to depth. The twisting is the “hip shift” I keep talking about. I honestly don’t know how to fix it. It’s been going on for a LONG while. I also tend to overextend my back when the weight gets heavy.


There isn’t really a quick fix, just stop doing it. Work on improving bracing, and focus on moving everything symmetrically on both sides. If you have tight muscles on one side that can be part of the problem, so loosen up whatever needs to be loosened. And squat the same way every set, every rep, don’t change your technique when the weight is heavy because that won’t get you anywhere. Better to lift less right now and improve rather than try to lift a weight you can’t lift properly and make no progress.


One thing you have to realize, bracing properly takes quite a bit of effort. Eventually it will feel natural and you will do it without thinking too much about it, but it takes energy and focus. Just doing whatever ab work won’t make you brace properly when you lift, it’s something that you have to learn to do and practice every time you lift.


Honestly, thank you SOOO much for your help on everything.
I watched the JTS videos and they were very helpful. I’m going to practice some 90-90 breathing every day and see if that helps with bracing


Week 2: Day 2

Bench: 1x3-105lbs; 3x8-95lbs
turns out I screwed up the weight last week and actually did 100lbs. Definitely not ideal
Jm Press: 2x5, 1x6- 90lbs
Dips: 1x10,11,12- 16kg DB

Preworkout: Lower body pretty tired, not really sore. Pretty energized and feeling good overall
Workout: Bench felt a lot more solid than last week. Felt really powerful. The back-offs felt really quick and not too bad. JM Press wasn’t too bad but dips were really hard
Postworkout: felt really good, lower body felt a lot better too. triceps pumped


Week 2: Day 3

Deadlift: 1x3-235lbs; 8x3-205lbs
Box step ups: 3x10-65lbs front rack
Rows: 3x7-120lbs, suppinated grip

Preworkout: Feeling cold and pretty bad- tired not sore. Double exam didn’t help.
Workout: Felt a lot better after warming up. Warm ups sets actually felt really light and good. My top set felt strong and my back was a lot straighter. Turning out my knees and opening my hips and focusing on lat engagement really helped. Back offs flew up. Step ups weren’t as bad as expected on glutes and quads, but pretty hard to complete. Killed upper back. I really wanted to focus on keeping my rows strict so I took the weight down.
Postworkout: Lower body pretty pumped but energized


Week 2: Day 4
I forgot to post yesterday

Touch and go bench: 5x6-100lbs
Overhead Press: 5x6-70lbs
Skullcrushers: 3x10-60lbs
Technique: HS walk

Preworkout: Feeling pretty crap and tired- double exam again, not sore though
Workout: Everything felt pretty heavy but not too bad to complete. 105lbs wasn’t going to happen so I just upped the reps slightly. Felt better as I got warmer. Overhead press actually felt pretty great. Got a pretty good tricep pump.
Postworkout: Felt better than preworkout, still a bit tired though. Good workout


Week 2: Day 5

Front Squat: 4x5,1x4-130lbs, fail 5th rep
RDL: 3x8-130lbs
DB rows: 3x15-24kg

Preworkout: Got a good night’s sleep so feeling good physically. Got deferred from college. That plus exam stress= bummed mentally
Workout: Front squats felt a lot harder than expected. My legs felt weak under the bar and felt pretty lighheaded on the way up. Getting a lot better at RDLs and actually kept core tight and braced all reps on all sets. DB rows felt good
Postworkout: Not too bad, probably could have done more physically but mentally done.


Week 2: Day 6

Close Grip Bench: 3x6,1x7-100lbs
DB Incline bench: 3x5-18kg DB
Face Pulls: 3x12-24kg

Preworkout: Felt pretty good, legs pretty sore but mentally energized, arms fine
Workout: 105lbs wasn’t going to happen but still feeling strong so I pumped up the reps and actually felt pretty strong. Triceps really worked. Really happy with DB incline bench now that I’ve moved up to the 18kg Dbs. Face pulls felt great
Postworkout: Definitely felt it in my upper body, otherwise not too tired, same as preworkout


Week 3: Day 1

Back Squat: 1x1-160lbs, failed 2nd rep; 1x2-155lbs, failed third rep; 8x3-140lbs w/ 1min rests
Pause Squat: 4x4-135lbs
Lat Pulldown: 3x12- 27kg

Preworkout: felt pretty good and energized, drank some tea so a bit buzzed
Workout: everything felt pretty light and strong but it felt like something turned off and failed even though the weight felt light. I noticed that I didn’t do the weird twist thing I set the rack right at depth so I knew I was hitting depth. Back offs felt great. Pause squats really worked glutes and quads but not too hard to complete. Lat pulldowns fine
Postworkout: Legs pumped and physically tired but mentally felt good, frustrated at squats though


I’ve really worked on bracing I’ve noticed that my squat form improved a lot. I practically eliminated the weird twisting thing. However, while I was squatting today, the weights felt light on my back but as I was in the hole, it felt like something turned off and I lost power. Any ideas what’s happening? Also, I’ve been feeling lightheaded during the volume sets on lower body days. What’s up with that?