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Critique my Squat Form (with Videos)

Here’s 2 videos of me squatting, one from the side, one from the back. ignore the re-rack at the very end of each, I had to hurry as my phone won’t save videos longer than about 20 seconds.

Back view:

Side view:

I talked about problems I had with my squat in this thread: http://www.T-Nation.com/free_online_forum/sports_body_training_performance_bodybuilding/ugh_i_c_an_bench_as_much_as_i_squat_now , here they are again:

A) it KILLS my spine. Like I can actually feel shit getting compressed/torqued in my spine. It also feels like it’s about to snap on most reps (even with just 135 lbs.)

B) My knees always jerk back and forth when I’m coming up out of the hole.

C) My knees are usually slanted to one side or the other when coming up out of the hole. (Instead of being a straight vertical line from my ankle to my knee, both my knees are slanted to the side, like the leaning tower of Pisa).

D) Coming out of the hole my body is never a straight vertical line. It’s like my shins are leaning one way, my upper legs another, my torso another.

E) I feel like I’m leaning forward way too much during reps, but can’t seem to do anything about it.

F) When I’m squatting I don’t feel like my legs are doing any work. My quads MAYBE; but overall my ass and hamstrings don’t even feel like they’re contracting or working. (I know obviously they must be if I’ve ever completed a rep).

G) After a set of squats my spine, and the muscles in my middle back right near my spine are very uncomfortable, it feels like they’re bulging or compressed or something.

saddest thing iv ever seen

obviously 135 is too heavy for you, go lighter

Could stand to go a little lower if you want to work on glutes/hams/teardrop area of quads

Left adductor is weak (so left leg caves in)

Don’t really know what to say about spinal issues.

I’ve had some of those problems. I tend to lean forward to much, and sometimes lose balance just like you did there.

I never really got comfortable with doing back squats for reps, so I have just switched to front squats. I’m much steadier on those, and the whole leaning/falling torso thing is not an issue anymore.

It’s also easier on my lower back, which always hurt from back squatting.

Re: the other thread: see a doctor?

As for the form.

Well, as Trenchant already noted, your left leg is buckling inward.

IMO your legs point out too much and you could narrow your stance a bit.

Your left heel seems to be off the ground throughout the lift, and both heels leave the ground at the end.

You’re not going low enough and seem to be bouncing at the bottom.

I get the feeling you’re trying to get up by buckling your knees inwards and pushing out. Drive with the hips. This’ll be easier if your feet placement is more neutral.

Seems like you bend your torso forward a bit too much.

Obviously everyone’s physiology is different, but this is just the things I think might be wrong. To be honest, your form is bad and looks like an injury waiting to happen. Probably people will come in here bashing me for telling you some of these things… Well, you have to crawl before you can fly.

If I were you, I would cut the weight used DRASTICALLY or work on form with an empty bar on off days, and switch to front squats.

Wow - where to begin. At what weight does all the bad stuff start to happen? Can you squat your bodyweight without knees going to the side?

It looks like you lean forward too much coming out of the hole. It also looks like you are coming up on your toes, especially at the top.

You could probably also stand to get some better (=flatter) shoes, but idk how much that really matters.

[quote]bulldog24 wrote:
Wow - where to begin. At what weight does all the bad stuff start to happen? Can you squat your bodyweight without knees going to the side? [/quote]

I’m really not comfortable doing more than about 185. I can complete reps at higher weights (with form identical to that in the videos) of up to about 300

I would really REALLY try to get a video cam instead of your phone for a few simple reasons

  1. Most important–hurrying your set-up and squat because your phone timer is limited to 15 seconds is a fantastic way to fuck up your form even more, leading to a very false impression to those who are trying to help out. It exaggerates the errors because in the back of your mind you’re not thinking about the squat, you’re thinking about the phone timer.

  2. Try hard to get a vid where you complete more than 1 rep (unless it’s a max attempt of course). This is helpful for a couple reasons–first, things can change from rep to rep and either get worse or better form wise, and second, it’s hard to catch everything in a 2 second long squat video. Repetition helps us out.

Your stance is too narrow, your weight is on the balls of your feet, and you’re pushing your butt straight back instead of straight DOWN the way you should be.

In most instances I like the side view for critiquing form, but the back view is the most telling here because of the short vid lengths.

You’re definitely right leg dominant. Imbalance between your r/l legs is probably contributing to a torque on your spine–when your left leg comes in it is probably popping your hips out of neutral alignment and causing them to tilt to the side. Also, you’re coming up on your toes.

Recommend you work on left leg imbalances (check hamstring strength on right/left, and quad strength, and balance, and hips–look up some of the Cressey and/or Robertson articles for some help there. Don’t remember which off the top of my head though).

Recommend you foam roll your legs seriously, both of them, but concentrate esp. hard on the inside of your left leg–could be you have some length/tension problems that are contributing to your leg coming inwards on the way down.

Recommend you foam roll/stretch your calves seriously too–tight calves are contributory and also cause you to come forward onto your toes, like you’re doing. Need to stretch them for at least 1 minute each–they hold elastic energy extremely well, so you need to give that time to dissipate.

Form wise you need to concentrate on forcing your left leg outwards–both knees actually, but your left is the problem one. You’re also high–but depth can be solved once your mobility and balance are restored. May need to give squats a break while you focus on unilateral leg strength and fixing mobility/tension/adhesion problems. Deload your spine for a while.

You need to see a doctor regarding the pain–I’d recommend a good chiropracter who’s experienced with strength/power athletes like football players and such first. You might be out of alignment as well, which could contribute seriously to pain issues. If he doesn’t fix you, see a sports doc.

Hope this helps. Let us know if it makes a dent in your pain.

Maybe you should stop back squatting for now, build up your core and lower back

Take your stance out slightly wider, point your toes more outward. Spread the floor, push your ass back as much as possible (break at the hips before the knees), spread the floor (KNEES OUT), and lastly get some fucking chucks to squat in instead of tennis shoes.

For improving your depth I’d reccommend goblet squats in front of a mirror if you gym has them - its great for nailing down your form too

Romainian DL’s, Good Mornings, Convention DL’s and unilateral legwork all carryover into conventional squating to a lesser or greater degree - not that I’m suggesting all on the same day but finding time for them during the week would help

[quote]mr popular wrote:
Your stance is too narrow, your weight is on the balls of your feet, and you’re pushing your butt straight back instead of straight DOWN the way you should be.[/quote]

There are a lot of things wrong with AQ’s form, but generally speaking, there is absolutely nothing wrong with sitting back when you squat.

[quote]Aragorn wrote:
In most instances I like the side view for critiquing form, but the back view is the most telling here because of the short vid lengths.

You’re definitely right leg dominant. Imbalance between your r/l legs is probably contributing to a torque on your spine–when your left leg comes in it is probably popping your hips out of neutral alignment and causing them to tilt to the side. Also, you’re coming up on your toes.

Recommend you work on left leg imbalances (check hamstring strength on right/left, and quad strength, and balance, and hips–look up some of the Cressey and/or Robertson articles for some help there. Don’t remember which off the top of my head though).

Recommend you foam roll your legs seriously, both of them, but concentrate esp. hard on the inside of your left leg–could be you have some length/tension problems that are contributing to your leg coming inwards on the way down.

Recommend you foam roll/stretch your calves seriously too–tight calves are contributory and also cause you to come forward onto your toes, like you’re doing. Need to stretch them for at least 1 minute each–they hold elastic energy extremely well, so you need to give that time to dissipate.

Form wise you need to concentrate on forcing your left leg outwards–both knees actually, but your left is the problem one. You’re also high–but depth can be solved once your mobility and balance are restored. May need to give squats a break while you focus on unilateral leg strength and fixing mobility/tension/adhesion problems. Deload your spine for a while.

You need to see a doctor regarding the pain–I’d recommend a good chiropracter who’s experienced with strength/power athletes like football players and such first. You might be out of alignment as well, which could contribute seriously to pain issues. If he doesn’t fix you, see a sports doc.

Hope this helps. Let us know if it makes a dent in your pain.[/quote]

Wait!! You mean he has strength imbalances and mobility issues?! Like I was saying the whole time in his last thread about fixing his squat and then got yelled at because I wasn’t going with the rest of the crowd that told him he just needed to switch to front squats.

[quote]buckeye girl wrote:

There are a lot of things wrong with AQ’s form, but generally speaking, there is absolutely nothing wrong with sitting back when you squat. [/quote]

There is if you’re using the squat to build your thighs.

I’m assuming based on the fact that he’s taking a high-bar position and narrow stance that he is trying to build up his thighs, in which case sitting back isn’t ideal.

If someone is just trying to achieve the heaviest most powerful squat they can… then an even wider stance, with a low-bar positioning should be taken. In this case sitting back would be ideal.

But you knew that already.

[quote]buckeye girl wrote:
Aragorn wrote:
In most instances I like the side view for critiquing form, but the back view is the most telling here because of the short vid lengths.

You’re definitely right leg dominant. Imbalance between your r/l legs is probably contributing to a torque on your spine–when your left leg comes in it is probably popping your hips out of neutral alignment and causing them to tilt to the side. Also, you’re coming up on your toes.

Recommend you work on left leg imbalances (check hamstring strength on right/left, and quad strength, and balance, and hips–look up some of the Cressey and/or Robertson articles for some help there. Don’t remember which off the top of my head though).

Recommend you foam roll your legs seriously, both of them, but concentrate esp. hard on the inside of your left leg–could be you have some length/tension problems that are contributing to your leg coming inwards on the way down.

Recommend you foam roll/stretch your calves seriously too–tight calves are contributory and also cause you to come forward onto your toes, like you’re doing. Need to stretch them for at least 1 minute each–they hold elastic energy extremely well, so you need to give that time to dissipate.

Form wise you need to concentrate on forcing your left leg outwards–both knees actually, but your left is the problem one. You’re also high–but depth can be solved once your mobility and balance are restored. May need to give squats a break while you focus on unilateral leg strength and fixing mobility/tension/adhesion problems. Deload your spine for a while.

You need to see a doctor regarding the pain–I’d recommend a good chiropracter who’s experienced with strength/power athletes like football players and such first. You might be out of alignment as well, which could contribute seriously to pain issues. If he doesn’t fix you, see a sports doc.

Hope this helps. Let us know if it makes a dent in your pain.

Wait!! You mean he has strength imbalances and mobility issues?!

Like I was saying the whole time in his last thread about fixing his squat and then got yelled at because I wasn’t going with the rest of the crowd that told him he just needed to switch to front squats.[/quote]

lol. I didn’t even remember that other thread. Yeah, funny, huh?

Man I think just more unilateral work and doing front squas + foam rolling and calve stretches will help. Some more core work+lower back work to. I hate back squatting sometimes cause it’s real easy to slip form moreso than fronts.

On front squats if you don’t concentrate the weight will simply just make you fall forward dropping the bar, very forgiving.

Backsquats can put you in a fucked up position rather quick if you come up in good morning fashion and on your tippy toes, bad spot to be in. I look at risk/reward factor, if he is having all this pain in how lower back then don’t do them, maybe come back a month or two after doing the mentioned tips.

Still having problems say fuck back squats for the meanwhile. You’re challenging the inevitable of getting injured.

Lifting for the long term is about making yourself the strongest and biggest without setbacks from injuries and such.

Also practice your breathing technique dilligently, I find I had problems in the start not breathing in deep enough to really “tighten” up the core.

Here don’t know if you’ve seen these calve stretches, I tried them a few times and they seemed to help. I don’t use them much right now cause my form is pretty good on squats.

[quote]mr popular wrote:
buckeye girl wrote:

There are a lot of things wrong with AQ’s form, but generally speaking, there is absolutely nothing wrong with sitting back when you squat.

There is if you’re using the squat to build your thighs.

I’m assuming based on the fact that he’s taking a high-bar position and narrow stance that he is trying to build up his thighs, in which case sitting back isn’t ideal.

If someone is just trying to achieve the heaviest most powerful squat they can… then an even wider stance, with a low-bar positioning should be taken. In this case sitting back would be ideal.

But you knew that already.[/quote]

I built some pretty decent thighs by pushing back when I squat. Hips should break before the knees. That would mean he needs to push back at some point.