T Nation

Changing Squat Form


I injured my hamstring in August, so to help with this I changed my form and went to a more low bar position and narrowed my stance quite a bit, so I could squat deep (6-7 inches below parallel). It forced to me to stop 5/3/1 for a while and switch to a linear progression approach so that I could get back to where I was while on 5/3/1.

Once I got back on 5/3/1, I started training my posterior chain alot and without me doing anything my stance got a lot wider and my squat became more hip dominant. It’s been almost 4 months back on 5/3/1, my lifts have gone up A LOT, however, I’ve now got high hamstring tendinopathy, my knee also hurts a bit when I squat and I’m no longer able to squat deep as I’d like (I prefer squatting deep)

One thing that helps all of my issues is narrowing my stance by about an 2 inches per foot. If I did this would it be possible to stick to the current numbers? I really dont want to take time off again.


To answer your question, I don’t know but probably not. You won’t know until you try.

I do have a question myself, though: what is your reason for preferring to squat so deep? Is it more comfortable? Do you lift more weight that way? I ask because I’ve always been able to squat reasonably deep, but it isn’t great for me. I do better about an inch below parallel, maybe two at most.


squatting deep just takes all of the guess work out for me. I’ve got long femurs so every time I squat to just parallel, I have to do the judging and I often end up high or just at parallel.

You’re right… even if I am able to keep the numbers the same, I’ll have to go light. I felt something shift in my hamstring while squatting yesterday and it was painful.


That’s a sensible reason from where I sit. If it helps, I used to go deeper than necessary because I got a false sense of lack of depth. I spent about three months squatting to a box just below parallel and that really helped me get a sense of when I was at depth but not burying it. That, and filming every single set I did in profile really helped. Now I hit the depth I want about 95% of the time.


I guess I could try something like that with the narrower stance. It sucks to have to get off 5/3/1 again, this is my 12th injury this year and 2 time off the program…


How do you know you have a hamstring tendinopathy? Did you have an MRI? Mike Tuchscherer said that he had the same thing, now apparently it’s a spinal injury. You might just have some tight muscles/trigger points, look into myofascial release and trigger point therapy.


Why get off 531? Just work with a really low TM and do something a little more forgiving like 5s Pro with 5x5 FSL.


I havent gotten an MRI and I foam roll, stretch and do my mobility work almost everyday. I’ve been to the doctor’s twice and all I get is “stop lifting heavy” and “take some ibuprofen and stop lifting heavy”. Given up on doctors at this point, but thanks! I’ll see what else I can do in the release and trigger point area


I could do that, but every time I go light, I take 50 pounds of say my first week’s working set and start with that. I use linear progression as it allows my body to get used to the form changes fast, build up the weak points from the changes and get my numbers some where close to what they were before the change.

I could stay on 5/3/1 with lighter weight, but do I need to work my way back up to my usual weight by adding 10 pounds each month as prescribed or should I just ramp the weights up when I feel good?


Go the middle way and and 5 lbs to your TM every cycle. That way you should be sweet.


You have no reason to believe that you actually have hamstring tendinopathy. There are many other things that could produce the same symptoms, even for a doctor or physiotherapist to figure out what the problem is wouldn’t be so straightforward. A few weeks ago I was convinced that I had pronator teres syndrome - and now I realize it’s referred pain from some other issues. Your problem might not even be the hamstring itself, other muscles in the hips and lower back (probably other places too) can cause pain there. Look up “trigger point chart” and “trigger point pain referral chart”, there are lots of those online. Use a lacrosse ball to work on the areas.

A lot of doctors don’t know shit. I won’t go to the doctor unless something is broken, won’t stop bleeding, or I honestly believe I’m going to die.


Well that’s relieving…

I was convinced it was hamstring tendinopathy and that I would have to just live with it.

I have a lacrosse ball so I can get started asap


Sounds good. That should give me enough time to recover