T Nation

Favorite Cues for the Big 3?

On a post I put up a few weeks ago about 5/3/1, one response outlined some cues for me to help me increase my bench press. I know it’s difficult to get a thread to the point where there are more than 10 replies, but I’d like to get as many as possible on this one.

What are the best cues you guys use for bench, squat, and deadlift? I train alone most of the time, and good cues help me keep my form solid when there’s no one around to critique me; the problem is that I don’t know a whole lot of cues, so I welcome any and all that you guys have had success with.

I’ll start with my favorite cues:

Wrap the bar around your shins

Tuck your shoulder blades into your buttcrack
Squeeze the bar as tightly as possible

Sit on your heels

That’s all I really think of when I’m in the gym. I know bigger numbers follow better technique. In the powerlifting forum, bigger numbers is the goal for all of us.

Thanks guys!

Might have better luck with a video to see what you actually need to work on. It’ll narrow it down much more personally than trying to focus on 15 different cues pretty lift that people will come up with.


Keep in mind that cues can be very personal in nature and even for the same person often change over time.

For the longest time, weight on my heels was the my cue for squat but I eventually ended up with the weight too far back behind my COG and I would lose squats.

So I replaced that cue with tripod foot and spreading the floor. I still use spread the floor. I also imagine pushing my midsection out on all sides for squatting.



  1. Grab and twist the floor apart. (use your entire foot rotate hips and knees out by firing glutes )
  2. Break your belts lever (expand your core 360 degrees and try to apply so much pressure your belt breaks)
  3. Elbows down and head back (lock in lats and pack neck keeping upper back pressed into the bar. You control the bar not the bar controls you)
  4. Sit down not back (break at hips and knees fairly together. Sitting down between your feet rather than pushing back and back and back)

In that order.


  1. I don’t know. No matter what I do on bench I still suck.


  1. Crush the bar. (squeeze as hard as you possibly can even if it 135)
  2. Load into the bar. (Lean back pulling your self into postion you will feel the bar begin to bend DO NOT PULL YET)
  3. Lock in lats. ( As you lean back and feel full tension building last thing you do lock your lats in hard. This finally bit will pull the bar up even harder by this time depending on what the weight is on the bar it should be hovering over the ground. At the moment you feel the lats explode)
  4. PULL BACK NOT UP (keep the bar in close, don’t get pulled forward, press through the heels)

It’s not a form check, I’m just curious what other people on the forums use to keep their form that’s all

I hate people yelling cues while I’m lifting. Tell me after a set is done where I fucked up and I’ll correct it. I especially hate it at the meet. that’s the time to focus not listen to cues IMO.


But for the most part you can visually see if your missing a certain cue.

1 Like

Right in the feels.



  1. Pull the bar out of rack once you have liftoff- like doing a pullover.
  2. Tall chest. Push your sternum up as hard as you can while you’re pulling the bar down.
  3. Push yourself away from the bar for your press.

Deadlift and squat are more basic for me


  1. Pull yourself to position. Start building tension from the time you grab the bar.
  2. Drive your head back.


  1. Tight back. Pull the bar down so tight that it’s part of me.
  2. Spread the floor.

I’m no exceptional lifter, but these help me.


Spreading the floor is an interesting one. It seems pretty common so I’ll try using it and see if it can help me

Quite possibly the deepest post this forum has ever seen

1 Like

For me:

Squat - Squeeze your ass, Sit back.

Bench - Tuck elbows, double chin.

Deadlift - Fuck your thumbs (I hook grip.)

1 Like

Also works for sumo deadlift.

1 Like


Keep the bar close to the shins and twist the elbows inside while engaging the lats.

Start lifting the bar before actually lifting bar to create tension.

Make sure the shoulders are slightly in front of the bar.

Don’t think about pulling the weight off the floor. Push the floor away and think about standing up with the bar.

Follow the weight back down with a controlled drop (depending on the weight).



up? ??