T Nation

First Meet Coming Up. Squat Depth and Form Check

Hey guys, I’m doing my first meet on March 23, USAPL. Just looking for some outside critique/criticism of my form. Thanks.

Considering typical USAPL/IPF depth standards, depth looks fine. Wouldn’t suggest trying to shoot it much higher, but if you got reds for that depth I’d call total bullshit.

As for form, first some context. Since you’re competing, for most of my comments I’m going to dig into a lot of stuff that may seem like minutia, but in the long term of a competitive career will make a significant difference.

The only potentially concerning issue I see is on your last rep, looks like there may have been some bending over in your lower back. Hard to tell from the camera angle, and even if it is there it’s probably relatively minor, but still keep an eye on that. I just spent the better part of 2018 recovering from an L5/S1 disc rupture, trust me, you do not want to do anything to compromise your back. On all reps, your hips slightly rise as soon as you come out of the hole, which is typical for someone with a stronger posterior chain (hamstrings, glutes, low back) than quads. Build up quad strength and tweek your form (see more comments below) and that should take care of it.

It looks like the bar is very high on your back, compared to where it could be. This could be why you’re leaning forward a bit out of the hole. I’d definitely recommend experimenting with a lower bar position. Yes, there are top guys out there that squat big weights with a high bar position, but they are the exception, not the rule.

What shoes are you wearing? They look very “springy” at the top of each lift. If you aren’t wearing a shoe with a very hard sole, I would highly recommend that.

Keep in mind that elbow position has a strong impact on the direction you’ll put force into the bar. Elbows too high and you’ll push the bar forward, not up. Everyone I work with, I try to find a hand position that will get there elbows as far underneath the bar as possible. This will help with driving the bar “up and back” out of the hole, keeping the lifter more on their heels than their toes. You’re elbows are pretty high already (though you don’t seem to be driving the weight forward) and when/if you go to a lower bar position I’m guessing that, without thinking about it, you’d end up with elbows even higher. Just keep this in mind and work on finding a grip that keeps your elbows under the bar.

Overall your squats look good. Just keep that low back healthy and work on getting your technique as efficient as possible. Good luck with your competition!

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Thanks for the comments Nate. Like you said, my posterior chain is definitely stronger. I’ll experiment with a lower bar position and working on quad strength.

Shoes are new balance minimus. No support in them. The springiness may be from the flooring.


If your meet is in 3 weeks I wouldn’t change anything, you are squatting to depth and based on this video I would say you could manage about 440-450. Experimenting with new things too close to a meet can fuck you up, often when you try a different technique it takes a few weeks before it starts to feel right and allow you to lift more and by then it might be too late. Just do the best you can with what you have right now and try new things after the meet. Adding a bunch of quad work right now will add a bunch of fatigue too and that’s not what you need either.

The only technical change I would consider right now is the cue “drive your back into the bar”, as soon as you hit the hole you initiate the ascent by driving your back into the bar as well as pushing with your legs which will help to extend your hips. If you don’t drive your back into the bar then you are likely to have your hips shoot back.

I don’t disagree with anything that @tasty_nate said, I just would be careful with changing things too close to a meet.

Thanks Chris. I should’ve mentioned that I won’t tweak much before the meet. I’ve squatted 450 before, and I hit a max block pull on Monday which my back is still recovering from, so hopefully I can break the 450 barrier.

I’ll give that cue a try. Thanks.

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Thanks for pointing this out, I didn’t even realize the meet was only 3 weeks out. I 100% agree don’t change anything this close except maybe some cues like @chris_ottawa said.