T Nation

Elbow Position During a Squat

Hey T-Nation I have a question for all the powerlifters out there. I recently started video taping my lifts and have been able to fix a lot of technical errors that I have been making. The one that has stumped me is when I squat, my elbows shoot up pretty quick. This then leads to my chest falling forward when the weight is too heavy. Does anyone have any advice on how to focus on driving my elbows under the bar and in turn keeping my chest upright? It maybe just a mental thing that I need to overcome but if anyone has advice shoot it my way!

The best way to get better at something is do work on it, and work on it often. Make it one of your mental cues during your set up; have somebody cue you if you can.

I focus on retracting my shoulder blades and trying to bend the ends of the bar to the ground. Especially in the hole b/c that’s where I’m most likely to get loose.

What do you all think of this video? It recommends a narrow grip on the bar. I’ve tried this setup and it has helped me personally, especially in staying tight and keeping my elbows in the right position. But then when I look at videos of a lot of top lifters, many grip really wide (some nearly touching the plates; why would that be?

The video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GtPN-ftmxG8

Flex your lats hard and keep them flexed throughout the lift. Pulling on the bar might also help.

I keep my hands as narrow as my joints will comfortably allow. If I try to go too narrow, a squat will be harder on my wrists, elbows, and shoulders than bench pressing.

For most training, that’s middle or ring finger on the rings, but for a max it’ll be pinky on or just inside the ring.

For reference, I squat high bar and it would be wider for low bar. And keep in mind that high to low bar is really kind of a spectrum. To me, high bar is just above the caps of my shoulders. Meaning the bar doesn’t touch the back of my shoulders at all.

That was a long time problem for me as well, once I started driving my elbows under the bar before descending it made things way better. Down side to it for me is that it hurts like all fuck. Even 315 hurts, and I wrap my wrists for anything 405 or higher.

On a side note, do you compete in Minnesota? I have only competed USAPL since I have started a few years ago, so don’t know a lot of the USPA/APF/UPA/WABDL guys.

There’s a balance between a wide hand position and a narrow. Wide grips allow you to activate your lats more, but it makes it a bit more difficult to tighten your upper back. Using a very narrow grip does the opposite. The goal is to be able to do both throughout the movement, so you need to fine tune your hand position to find your own sweet spot.

If your chest, rotators and anything else in the shoulder capsule are too tight then itll throw you forward on the squat. until you get loose enough or strong enough to stay uprught through that, try to just drop your elbows under the bar. you should be able to get your elbows directly below the bar (not saying this is optimal, but is prob a good indicator if you are way too tight). It seems to be easiest if: you keep your elbows where they like to be (up) at the top of the squat, then drop them below the bar as you squat since your back will handle most of the balancing since you are bending over.

hope that helps some

[quote]grappling_hook wrote:
What do you all think of this video? It recommends a narrow grip on the bar. I’ve tried this setup and it has helped me personally, especially in staying tight and keeping my elbows in the right position. But then when I look at videos of a lot of top lifters, many grip really wide (some nearly touching the plates; why would that be?[/quote]

My hands and arms begin to go numb within about 30-40 seconds unless I stretch my hands and fingers out to the plates. So I’m in a “Crucifix” position!

I thought it was just me but my daughter has to do the same or the hand feels like circulation is cut off.

Any problem with that form?

Have you tried a false grip? Also, would about wrist wraps?

[quote]conservativedog wrote:

[quote]grappling_hook wrote:
What do you all think of this video? It recommends a narrow grip on the bar. I’ve tried this setup and it has helped me personally, especially in staying tight and keeping my elbows in the right position. But then when I look at videos of a lot of top lifters, many grip really wide (some nearly touching the plates; why would that be?[/quote]

My hands and arms begin to go numb within about 30-40 seconds unless I stretch my hands and fingers out to the plates. So I’m in a “Crucifix” position!

I thought it was just me but my daughter has to do the same or the hand feels like circulation is cut off.

Any problem with that form?
[/quote]

That’s not good… lol. Do you think it’s from lack of blood flow or a nerve problem? ummm quick test-
slightly outstretch one arm, palm facing the floor, using the other hand press your hand down until your wrist is at 90 degrees, fingers pointing to the floor. hand go numb?

And i second the wrist wraps, they are a life saver for me

[quote]VTTrainer wrote:

[quote]conservativedog wrote:

[quote]grappling_hook wrote:
What do you all think of this video? It recommends a narrow grip on the bar. I’ve tried this setup and it has helped me personally, especially in staying tight and keeping my elbows in the right position. But then when I look at videos of a lot of top lifters, many grip really wide (some nearly touching the plates; why would that be?[/quote]

My hands and arms begin to go numb within about 30-40 seconds unless I stretch my hands and fingers out to the plates. So I’m in a “Crucifix” position!

I thought it was just me but my daughter has to do the same or the hand feels like circulation is cut off.

Any problem with that form?
[/quote]

That’s not good… lol. Do you think it’s from lack of blood flow or a nerve problem? ummm quick test-
slightly outstretch one arm, palm facing the floor, using the other hand press your hand down until your wrist is at 90 degrees, fingers pointing to the floor. hand go numb?

And i second the wrist wraps, they are a life saver for me[/quote]

“Crucifix Position” hands and fingers out actually touching plates on squats.

I found this Dave Draper piece also. Has anyone ever used it?

I noticed you can display more power with barbell jump squats when you push up on the bar a little bit with your hands when coming out of the hole, like you are wanting to throw it above your head when you get to the top.

[quote]Field wrote:
I noticed you can display more power with barbell jump squats when you push up on the bar a little bit with your hands when coming out of the hole, like you are wanting to throw it above your head when you get to the top. [/quote]

I’ve read that recommendation for regular squats too (“push up on the bar with your hands”), but it is also exactly the opposite of what most recommend, which is “pull the bar down across your back like you are trying to break it.”