T Nation

Failed squat attempt, what to work on?


After following a Westside routine for two months, I thought it was time to go get myself a new PR, after being stuck at 240 kg (530 lbs) for over a year. So I did, and my new PR as of today is 245 kg (540 lbs), and I'm really happy with that. After that went up, I tried 250 kg (550 lbs) on the bar.

As you see in the video, I didn't make it, but that's okay. So what I wanted to ask you guys is what seems to be my sticking point? Is it my lower back that's not strong enough? Or is it some other body part? If you would point me in the right direction about what muscle or body part seems to be the problem, and what exercises I should do get past my sticking point, I'd be very grateful :slightly_smiling:


I think it is a problem in the T-lvl's of you'r spotters :slight_smile:


It's the music!
change the tunes get atleast 10 more lbs...
IMO, It looked to me as though you were off balance and "on your toes" on the descent in the hole and that caused you to lean fwd which over powered your posterior chain. You can see you butt and upper back trying to rise up but by that point you were to far forward...
That being said You've got over 100 lbs on my squat so take that with a grain of salt.


Haha, I know, the music sucks, but I got Slayer on my headphones, so I don't think the music is the problem :wink:
Yeah, I came too much forward, should've had my hands closer, so I could've been tighter in my upper back. Also, I think it looks like I'm leaning my upper body forward in the hole, instead of keeping my upper body more straigth and putting my ass a little deeper. Gotta start focusing on that in the coming months, hopefully I've fixed it until my next attempt.
Thanks for your answer, it's easier to see my own flaws when others point them out for me :slight_smile:


Yea, it looked like you didnt really get a hip drive, watch the mark rippetoe vids. they should help.


I don't know for sure but it looks like your upper back loses tightness and the rest of the body follows. Also the squat looks a bit high from this angle, nevertheless much respect for the attempt.


RyFry: Thanks alot, found this vid, seems like that's exactly what I gotta work on:

Onemike: Yeah, it's not deep enough, I think I got a little scared, and instead of going deep enough, I just leaned forward instead.

Damn, I want to go squatting again tomorrow, can't wait for next squat day :smiley: Thanks for your input guys!


Congrats on the PR and a good attempt at 550. Great command over the weight. Proper spotting and you would have made it out of the hole. A couple of things....try to limit your set-up to standing up with the bar and one step back with each foot. No matter the bar or 550, make the set-up the same, every time. I can't tell if you fill your stomach/chest with air before you begin the descent or on the way down, it should happen before you begin. Raise the spotting rails as high as you can without the chance of hitting them, you'll be happy you did some day!
I'll bet if we saw vids of your work in 460 - 500 range you would be a bit more aggressive in your execution. Bring a 'take no prisoners' frame of mind to the bar....it offers you no quarter!


Thanks! I asked my spotters to not help me up, but rather just help me put the bar down slowly. I don't think they knew how to spot properly. And before lift off, they talked about being scared of the weight :stuck_out_tongue: So I figured it was for the best.
Okey, will start doing the same set-up from now on, I remember I almost lost my balance on this or the attempt after. I fill up my stomach before the descent :wink: And I realized the rails were too low when I was putting the bar down, so I raised them on the next attempt.

I don't remember much of my lifts afterwards, but I'd like to think that I'm more aggressive with lower weight. I haven't done much heavy squatting below 10 reps for years I think, so I get a little unsure when there's more than I'm used to on the bar. But now as I'm training Westside I've been doing a lot more heavy lifting, but still, it takes some time to getting used to, haven't done a regular squat in two months.
Thanks for the advice, I really appreciate it!


You are a lot stronger than me but, IMO you would have had 550 if you would have attempted 550 instead of 540. 540 was a PR and obviously verry close to your 1RM probably 90-95%. A lift at that percentage of max takes a lot out of you.

I didn't see the 540 PR but my guess is that It went up, but it was a bit of a struggle. Technical flaws start to show themselves when you are fatigued. You probably have good technique most of the time but on that 550 lift fatigue got the best of you.

Congrats on the PR!!! You probably have 550. Go back to training and in several months you'll demolish 550 and start getting closer to 600.


Maybe I would've had it, but I didn't want to be too greedy, so I thought it better to at least get a new PR than fuck up at 550 first. Here is the video of the 540;

Thanks a lot, my long-term goal is to get a 660 lbs squat (300 kg), and there's a long way to go, but I'll get there :smiley:


Nice lift there. The weight seemed to move pretty well. I still think you were good for 550 but like you said its better to get a PR with 540 than try and fail with 550. The strength is there and next time you will crush 550.


I'm not claiming this is the sole solution to your problem, but I thought I'd mention it if it could help you. It seems you fold over coming out of the hole, very similar to a problem I had with the wide stance squat. This revealed my weakness- poor upper back strength. Film from the side and look at the angle between your shoulders and hips- your hips rise out of the hole much faster than your shoulders. This indicated (for me at least) a weak upper back.


Check out this video (hope you can see it, if not, just 'like' EliteFTS on Facebook) of Dave Tate coaching a beginner on the box squat, the bit that helped me was the part when he talks about moving the elbows under the bar in order to stop the chest falling forward.

This means your torso is more upright which stops the upper back rounding out of the hole, which should stop you using a good morning-type technique to lift the weight. (Make sure your wrists stay straight as well- this was where my flexibility sucked.)

More experienced lifters, please tell me if I'm talking crap! I'd appreciate hearing your opinions on this- I know Steve Goggins amongst others squatted huge weights with a very bent back so maybe this is all in my head?


It looks like you are coming up onto your toes instead on both videos instead of driving your heels into the ground...I don't know what this indicates, but something to keep in mind...some people have rectified this by putting a 2.5# plate underneath their toes to make them get back more onto their heels....this may work for you!

Nice lift at the 540 btw


My two cents... The weight shift onto your toes is a mobility problem (ankles and maybe hips). Work on both. As far as everything else goes your glutes are weak and holding you back and you need to get your torso more upright (this means letting the hips come forward a bit). Don't squat Rippetoe style (I'm gonna get flamed for this, but I know some folks will back me up!).

He advocates driving hips up, but you want to drive them forward (think leading upward with the head or hips forward and up at the same time if you prefer). OK, so watch your video again and watch your knees as you come out of the hole. They come in. This is not what you want and is a result of weak glutes. Additionally, I think your core/abs are weak or you aren't taking full advantage of them. The more you lock in your core the more your hamstrings and glutes can kick in.

All that said, it's good weight and congrats on the PR!

Oh and the hoodie probably made your fail. j/k


I totally agree with the statement above. I'd like to add two cents about your spotters. They should know your strength's and weaknesses so they can give you cues to help tighten up your technique. Also, statements and buzz words that motivate you so you can make the lift.


1 - you r not getting nearly as tight as you could be prior to your attempt
a)Deeper inhale & "lock it down"
b) Pull Down on the bar harder the whole time

2 - Drive your knees out even harder

3 - Drive your elbows farther forward as you approach full depth

4 - Hip drive forward sooner off the bottom

Do not underestimate the value of getting TIGHT! before you start your downward movement, you probably think you are taking a big breath in, but figure out how suck in a little more - it will help


This thread helped me a lot. I can't nail a 255 squat yet because I shift my weight onto my toes, lean forward, then have to be pulled back upright.

I am going to try to work on my hip mobility. I already do ankle mobility stuff and got critique from my DL vids that I need to work on my hip mobility. So I'm hoping that it's my hips.
I'll have to look up some mobility drills. My plateau is killing me.

Sorry for the hijack. Awesome work OP.


After looking it up, I saw that Agile 8 is pretty well-liked? I found that I did a lot of those exercises but I'll try to do them better and incorporate the ones that I don't do.

I just squatted today but I'm already looking forward to squatting again. Hopefully this helps.


Looks like some good advice has been given already. I'd definitely look into EFS's "So you think you can squat" series.