T Nation

Bad Form. Help!

I started high bar squatting recently. I am aware of my butt-wink and I’m working on flexibility. My biggest concern is that the bar isn’t moving straight up and down–I need to get my chest up. When I get tired, I lean over my feet. I could really use your advice on my form. Any help is appreciated

I would not classify your form as bad. You maintained a high bar position and there was no question with respect to the depth. You were however relying strongly on a “bounce” stretch-relfex action out of the hole. Depending on your goals, the rapid descent and upward rebound can have applicability to olympic lifting.

Your flexibility is not bad given that you had flat bottom shoes. However you do have long femurs and you lack leg mass/body mass. These two factors alone will make squatting a bitch! Don’t expect to bob up and down powerfully like those short femured, thick legged fuckers!

I noted the heavy reliance on hip extension-glute drive as you grinded out of the bottom. Your torso shifted forward quite a bit. This however is more of a function of your body type as opposed to “bad form.”

Do you front squat? The need to maintain a more neutral pelvis in conjunction with more emphasis on knee extension will train you to rely more on quad drive with a more upright torso. I would focus some effort on front squats with an (obviously) lighter weight emphasizing acceleration. Then take a slightly wider stance in your back squats with an emphasis on keeping a more rigid/upright torso and making use of more knee extension earlier on out of the hole.

Bottom line- 1) Slow down your eccentric motion and rely less on the stretch-reflex.

         2) Teach yourself to use more quads with an upright torso by training FRONT SQUATS!

         3) Take a slightly wider stance in your back squats while concentrating on an upright torso
            and knee extension as you come out of the hole then accelerating upward and finishing with
            a strong glute drive to lockout!

         4) Olympic lifting shoes could benefit you but still work on maximizing mobility
            in you ankles, knees and hips- everywhere for that matter.

         5) Long femurs suck!

[quote]In10s wrote:
I would not classify your form as bad. You maintained a high bar position and there was no question with respect to the depth. You were however relying strongly on a “bounce” stretch-relfex action out of the hole. Depending on your goals, the rapid descent and upward rebound can have applicability to olympic lifting.

Your flexibility is not bad given that you had flat bottom shoes. However you do have long femurs and you lack leg mass/body mass. These two factors alone will make squatting a bitch! Don’t expect to bob up and down powerfully like those short femured, thick legged fuckers!

I noted the heavy reliance on hip extension-glute drive as you grinded out of the bottom. Your torso shifted forward quite a bit. This however is more of a function of your body type as opposed to “bad form.”

Do you front squat? The need to maintain a more neutral pelvis in conjunction with more emphasis on knee extension will train you to rely more on quad drive with a more upright torso. I would focus some effort on front squats with an (obviously) lighter weight emphasizing acceleration. Then take a slightly wider stance in your back squats with an emphasis on keeping a more rigid/upright torso and making use of more knee extension earlier on out of the hole.

Bottom line- 1) Slow down your eccentric motion and rely less on the stretch-reflex.

         2) Teach yourself to use more quads with an upright torso by training FRONT SQUATS!

         3) Take a slightly wider stance in your back squats while concentrating on an upright torso
            and knee extension as you come out of the hole then accelerating upward and finishing with
            a strong glute drive to lockout!

         4) Olympic lifting shoes could benefit you but still work on maximizing mobility
            in you ankles, knees and hips- everywhere for that matter.

         5) Long femurs suck![/quote]

Thanks for the great analysis! I’ve had a feeling for a while now that I need to start front squatting. I back squat heavy three days a week. I’m going to switch that to 2 days of heavy back squat, 1 day of heavy front squat, and 1 day of light back squats (or overheads).

I REALLY want an upright torso because my lower back is starting to feel it. I completely understand what you were saying about my long femurs–they suck! I always wondered why I couldn’t make my squats look this pretty: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RzT1lY-q-hg

Anyway, I’ve decided to buy weightlifting shoes. I tried on my friend’s shoes today and felt so much stability. I am also committing to a stretch routine that will open up my hips and loosen up my tight hams–this should help with my butt-wink. I now realize that front squatting, WL shoes, and flexibility should improve my form. Thanks for your help!

[quote]bigblockford wrote:

[quote]In10s wrote:
I would not classify your form as bad. You maintained a high bar position and there was no question with respect to the depth. You were however relying strongly on a “bounce” stretch-relfex action out of the hole. Depending on your goals, the rapid descent and upward rebound can have applicability to olympic lifting.

Your flexibility is not bad given that you had flat bottom shoes. However you do have long femurs and you lack leg mass/body mass. These two factors alone will make squatting a bitch! Don’t expect to bob up and down powerfully like those short femured, thick legged fuckers!

I noted the heavy reliance on hip extension-glute drive as you grinded out of the bottom. Your torso shifted forward quite a bit. This however is more of a function of your body type as opposed to “bad form.”

Do you front squat? The need to maintain a more neutral pelvis in conjunction with more emphasis on knee extension will train you to rely more on quad drive with a more upright torso. I would focus some effort on front squats with an (obviously) lighter weight emphasizing acceleration. Then take a slightly wider stance in your back squats with an emphasis on keeping a more rigid/upright torso and making use of more knee extension earlier on out of the hole.

Bottom line- 1) Slow down your eccentric motion and rely less on the stretch-reflex.

         2) Teach yourself to use more quads with an upright torso by training FRONT SQUATS!

         3) Take a slightly wider stance in your back squats while concentrating on an upright torso
            and knee extension as you come out of the hole then accelerating upward and finishing with
            a strong glute drive to lockout!

         4) Olympic lifting shoes could benefit you but still work on maximizing mobility
            in you ankles, knees and hips- everywhere for that matter.

         5) Long femurs suck![/quote]

Thanks for the great analysis! I’ve had a feeling for a while now that I need to start front squatting. I back squat heavy three days a week. I’m going to switch that to 2 days of heavy back squat, 1 day of heavy front squat, and 1 day of light back squats (or overheads).

I REALLY want an upright torso because my lower back is starting to feel it. I completely understand what you were saying about my long femurs–they suck! I always wondered why I couldn’t make my squats look this pretty: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RzT1lY-q-hg

Anyway, I’ve decided to buy weightlifting shoes. I tried on my friend’s shoes today and felt so much stability. I am also committing to a stretch routine that will open up my hips and loosen up my tight hams–this should help with my butt-wink. I now realize that front squatting, WL shoes, and flexibility should improve my form. Thanks for your help![/quote]

Good decision on the WL shoes.

As for the guy in the video, I don’t think the Chinese could have found/recruited a guy with shorter femurs out of a country with a billion+ population! He was put on this earth to squat!

OP–second the advice given here. I’d actually say do 2 front squat sessions a week and 1 back squat instead of the other way around for about 6 weeks here. Then you can switch back to 2 back/1 front. The improvement in back strength and positioning will help. Overhead squatting is killer for this too, but front squats will allow more weight. You won’t lose any strength training the back squat only once a week if you’re still front squatting 2x, you’ll be ok. Hammer your weakness right away instead of gradually.

You are Low Bar squatting in a high bar position.

[quote]Aragorn wrote:
OP–second the advice given here. I’d actually say do 2 front squat sessions a week and 1 back squat instead of the other way around for about 6 weeks here. Then you can switch back to 2 back/1 front. The improvement in back strength and positioning will help. Overhead squatting is killer for this too, but front squats will allow more weight. You won’t lose any strength training the back squat only once a week if you’re still front squatting 2x, you’ll be ok. Hammer your weakness right away instead of gradually.[/quote]

I have the same problem as OP with the long femurs. How would you suggest programming the squats on a 2 front/1 back deal?? I’ve also thought seriously about going front squat only for about 6 weeks, but would like to keep backs in at least once a week. I’m almost 40, so too much volume is an issue. Also, I don’t have an issue with lower back. Thanks!!