T Nation

Critique please!


Can you guys please add your criticisms please and advise.

(Hence why I listen to my own music on headphones)

First time I have video'd lifts so I have noticed a couple of things myself but wondered what the more experienced thought.

These were the last set in a 5 x 5.

Sorry for slightly dodgy angles.

1 . Both Squat and Deadlift need to work on lifting chest which in turn will help with lower back arch.



No one??


Squat actually looks pretty good but I think you're missing getting to parallel. Deadlifts look like you're getting straight legged a little too soon from the best of what i can tell.


Ok, you've got all kinds of stuff going on here. Squats first and I'll go from the top down:

Walking the bar out: don't have your hips so far behind the bar. It's a waste of energy, get under it and arch it out of the rack.

Traps and upper back: lock them in. You rounded your upper back from rep 2 on. The weight is too light to tell if it is a technique issue, weakness, activation issue or whatever. Just get your upper back stronger and focus on keeping everything tight on every rep.

Middle Back/Lats: Pull down on the bar, this will depress your scaps, set them on your lats, and help keep all the other stuff tight. Also, this will keep your elbows under the bar.

Lower Back: looks pretty solid on the first rep. Take your time and get it set everytime.

Hips: Here is your biggest problem. Zero mobility and zero external rotation. Drive your knees out when you squat. This is the reason why you are not squatting very deep. Driving your knees out will be very hard for you at first because it looks like you have weak hamstrings (can tell from the knee tracking and comprimised ankle stability) and weak glutes (because you arent driving your knees out).

Deadlifts look pretty solid but, again, weak glutes and hamstrings are holding you back. Try to pull in one smooth solid motion. Get the salck out of the bar, load the hamstrings, then think leg press until you get to your knees, then think hips forward to lock it out.

Hope this helped.


Great answers thanks!
I have only ever learnt on my own and only just video'd it so all comments welcome!!

Yeah I noticed the rounding, mentally thinking to tighten upper back and raise my chest should help with both dead and squats.

Edit: Watching it through several times I can see the bar path moves over the front of my foot which then pulls me forwards, Upper back tightness will be at front of mind next time!!

I have to agree with weak glutes and hamstrings and I have tried bringing them up. I have just added some hip flexor stretches to my warm up :wink:

What do you recommend? I am minus a glute ham, So I have been doing negatives on natural glute ham, dimmel deads, pull throughs and good mornings.

Bulgarian split squats? I don't do any unilateral work at present.

Edit 2: Been thinking about squat setup and I may be 'tightening' the legs rather than pushing the knees out.... (Does that make sense?) I will have to test at the gym later.


Storm..... do you squat with your feet angled wide or have you brought them back to a more straight (still wide legged stance) position to try to increase hip torque?


Best thing for getting stronger glutes and hamstrings, in my opinion:

-Perfect deadlifts (lower weights higher reps)
-Perfect HEAVY RDL's (Or Dimel Deads when you feel too beat up)
-A shitload of sled work

Trust me, drive your knees out and imagine spreading the floor with your feet. Drive out as hard as you can. A good squat is barely a hip extension. It is more hip external rotation and abduction because the muscles that are responsible for those movements are (or should be) the strongest muscles in your body.


I would like to bring them in more but the torque is just too much on my hamstring for now. I am to the point now where I am at about 10-20 degrees (guessing) angled out. I am very strong in this position but I still feel like my external hip rotation is limited slightly.


Storm, thanks I will incorporate those tips next time.

Dynamic Squat day Thursday so looks like lots of light singles and doubles for me.

Thanks again for time!

Edit: I will post another video in the future, going to concentrate on depth, stretching hip flexors, pushing knees out (band abduction squats) and strengthening glutes/hams.

Do you rate wall squats for working depth and hip flex?



I just read your post over here:


"....Once your feet turn out past about 10 degrees, your arch collapses. This makes the posterior tibialis stretch to almost max tension. The post tib attaches to the knee. Once it it stretched, it completely inhibits external rotation in your hips (which is what a good squat is) ...."

I am currently waiting on an appointment (Sept) for a podiatrist as I have found out I have flat feet and as such little to no arch. Do you have any tips how to remedy this? Anything that may help?

I have been working on form already, spending an hour and half squatting last night, think I have found some things but wondered if you know anything biomechanical wise?



Won't pointing your toes far out put your back in a more upright position because the midfoot is now further back? Possibly making the lift more leg and hip dominant and less back and hamstring?

Does the same go for wearing a shoe with a heel?


I think turning the toes out makes the lift more hamstring dependent as your legs are basically going out and sideways and the knees have to be pulled back in to stand up again, by using hamstrings and adductors. I'm so bad with all the terminology which is frustrating, but when I squat with toes out, I find it so much harder to externally rotate my hips seeing as they are already so spread. And then I get no hip torque at the bottom. Whereas toes pointed forward, its easy to fire hip abductors, get the legs out and drive through them. I feel toes forward far less in my hamstrings and adductors and feel it much more in abductors and glutes.

Sorry, hopefully storm will come back and provide a better description of whats happening....


No. When your toes are turned far out, ext. rotation is inhibitied like I explained before. A major reason why this inhibition happens is the stretch that is occuring in the lower leg (from the post tib stretch/knee being forced into an "unlocked" position) pulls your femur to the front of your hip capsule. This is an extremely unstable position. Now that the femur is out of place, a lot of the postural muscles can't be activated properly making you more likely to fall forward in a squat. Try sitting on something low, with your feet wide and your toes turned out. With a tight, arched back, lean forward at the hips until you start to lose your arch. Sit back up, turn you toes in, and try it again. Upper body movment will be much more limited in this postion because now everything is were it should be and you are in the most biomechanically advantageous position to squat.

What makes the squat more hip dominant is starting in a good position and violently driving your knees out the entire time.


You are absolutely right. Along with the femur being pulled forward, turning your toes way out unlocks your knee. Our lower legs are meant to have a few degrees of external rotation (this creates the massive torque when your toeas are straight). Turning your toes out takes the tibialis out of position and completely eliminates the lower legs ability to turn out.


First off, yes, wall squats are awesome.

Second off, I am definitely not a doctor, I am just kind of a nerd when it comes to human movement and lifting heavy things. With that being said, do whatever your doctore tells you. If I were you though, I would be rolling my arches on a LAX ball pretty much every spare second you have every day. Since your posterior tibialis is pretty much what creates your arch, I would be hammering that as well. It's kinda tough to get to. You have sit with your leg crossed in front of you and jam a lax ball into your lower leg, right were the medial part of your tibialis ends. Just move the ball up and down (not actually on the bone but right behind it) making circles with your foot and spending extra time on painful places... which you will probably have a lot of.


I was just trying to figure out why I have such a hard time keeping my back from curling up on the ascent when I do the toes in. I can explode out of the hole with the toes in no problem but once I'm out that's when the back curling occurs and I'm too far out of position to recover.

When I have my feet out a ways, I don't have the that problem nearly as bad, but I don't seem to have quite as much drive out of hole. I reckon because I don't have the same hip torque. I can lift more this way too.

One thing I find weird is that I don't have a back curling problem on DLs with my feet pointed straight forward, I'm stronger and my back doesn't collapse.

Sorry about the hijack.


Thanks for helping out again.

Yes I will be speaking with Doc and seeing what is recommended.

Bringing my feet more forward creates extra 'stretch/torque' across my hips and knees. However when I hit depth I fall back, I end up dropping my chest to increase my forward lean and compensate.

My plan to remedy this is:

GM's / RDL's / NGHR to build posterior strength to stop falling back
Hip flexor stretches and wall squats / adductor band squats to improve technique and position
Upper back work (DB cleans / face pulls etc) to build upper back to keep chest up
LAXball Rolling and ankle flexation exercises to increase flexibility


I've never seen you squat, so I really have no idea. I would assume some sort of mobility problem, technique issue, or muscular weakness.

If it's mobility it's most likely your hip flexors, hamstrings, or ext. rotators that are pulling you out of posisiton. The technique issue could be not arhiing hard enough or not driving your knees out hard enough or not bracing your abs hard enough. If its muscular, you most likely need to work the hell out of every part of your back, glutes, and hamstrings.

Again, I've never seen you squat. These are just assumptions.


Just incase anyone is following:

I work a desk job 9 - 5 so sitting 90% of the time, this will shorten and tighten the Illiacus and Psoas resulting in the lack of hip flexability (Yes, STB I have been reading lol, please correct if I am wrong)

So I intend to do various stretches for these muscles prior to squats, deadlifts etc.


i think you might want to increase tightnesss as well... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UDaQo3eODrY