T Nation

Form Check for Squats


when i do my squats at the bottom of it, i feel a lot of crushing force. when i use the word crushing, i dont mean pain, it just feels like a lot of force. I think I might be going down on the swuat too fast. anways fixed up a couple of thinga like squat stance and hand placement. somewhat better. anways when i do squats now, after the squat I can feel nothing on my back but if i try yo bend a lot, i can really feel my lower back. again no pain but I can feel it. Sorry if it doesnt make any sense. anways here is the video. https://youtu.be/CrBoUqRKHIs


INothing wrong with a wide stance and feet pointing outwards unless your knees end up inside your toes… which I believe they are but it’s next to impossible to tell from this angle. Can you post a front on video?


It doesn’t look like you’re tight enough.


You’re not going down too fast, speed is fine. You can slow it down if you want.

Look up some videos on low bar squatting and consider switching - it involves more muscles, so it is more effective at increasing your strength.

At the bottom, your weight is moving forward - watch the bar path in the video, it should be vertical, straight down, straight up. The weight should be centered over your mid-foot. When you move forward, it moves the weight out over your toes and makes it much harder to ascend. This might be why you feel the weight is so heavy.

If you post another video, try to include your head so we can see your breathing - read up on valsalva and learn how to do it, if you aren’t now.

Good luck!


Need to sit back more IMO…


“Sitting back” depends on the style of squat you want to do. Sitting down like you are in the video is fine, you just need to make sure other things are taken care of.

You are not in ANY way tight enough. Your whole body from the soles of your feet to your upper back and traps should be squeezed as hard as humanly possible (this means no breathing during the motion, only in between reps when you are standing). Loose body translates to power loss and increased risk of injury–although I don’t think your form looks particularly injurious.

I would slow down your descent a bit. Note–I don’t mean super slow, I mean about 25% slower than right now. There is no special purpose to this other than to get you FEELING the motion and staying tight as humanly possible as opposed to just flopping down.

Work on some mobility for your legs (both ankles and your hips). When you descend the weight transfers to the inside of your footstep. This should not happen. You can see it in the way your feet lean inwards on subsequent reps.

What part of your legs do you feel working the most when you squat?

Do this mobility drill to modify your squat form: find a solid upright object to grab onto–an upright of a squat rack works if you have one, I couldn’t see from the video if you had moveable stands or a rack. So find an upright pole, hold onto it in both hands with your feet about hip width apart and toes pointed almost straight forward (they don’t need to be perfectly straight, just close to it…straighter than in the video you linked). Then using your hands to balance yourself so you don’t tip backwards, squat down slowly to the bottom of the squat position.

Your toes should remain where they start without turning out any additional amount. At the bottom your arms should be inside your knees and your back should be straight.

If you can’t keep your heels on the ground you have ankle flexibility issues. Work on them and they will go away, including just stretching calves in between sets of squats.

This is the pole squat:

but I dislike her toes being pointed out that much. When working on mobility with hands to keep you from tipping you should work on straightening the feet out some.

This is a good position from the front:

Notice the toes are mostly forward not out to the side, the knees are slightly wider than the feet. This is a slightly exaggerated position for the use of stretching and teaching mind you.


thanks for the tips guys. I will try to be as tight as possible. its just that when i do that, i feel very tired, very fast. the part i feel work the most is my quads and hammies. but again these are like literally very light weights of only 25kg so its hard to tell. I will defs work on my mobility and take a video so u can see my head and from the front and back. thanks for the reply guys. btw how do i improve my hip and ankle mobility??? Is using weight plates under feet good?


That’s normal. That’s actually a good thing. A really good thing.

  1. It means you’re recruiting more muscle because you can feel it activate
  2. It means you’re safer and your low back is safer
  3. It means you will eventually be able to lift more weight.

It’s not just LIFTING weight that makes you grow…it’s HOW you lift the weight and how you think about it that makes you grow and get stronger. Learning to activate ALL your muscles is a key lesson that very few beginners ever learn that short circuits their eventual growth and strength. Powerlifters and bodybuilders both do it, they just do it different ways (details you don’t really need to worry about right now at this stage in your lifting life)

A weight plate is good for a short term solution, but it doesn’t really address the root problem–kind of how adding oil to an engine that is running dry doesn’t fix the leak you have even though it allows you to get to work or home safely.

Look at Kelly Starrett for mobility work–search him on youtube for “squat mobility” or “hip mobility” or “ankle mobility”. He’s about as good a resource as I can point to without a book sized post on mobility and flexibility stuff myself. Use his stuff, just remember that you can get too distracted with that issue–it is valuable, but there IS such a thing as “good enough”. 90% is still an A, you don’t need 100% to ace the class. Nobody in the world moves absolutely perfectly.


[quote=“Aragorn, post:6, topic:219814”]
“Sitting back” depends on the style of squat you want to do.[/quote]

Well, if this statement was a slight jab at my remark…I earned it. I admit it was vague off the cuff with no actual clarification and be could be taken wrong. Too be honest I am slight embarrassed now because from reading a few of your post I actually respect you and hate the fact that I came across as ignorant. Considering my total lack of actual writing ability doesn’t help either.

Now with that said, I guess my half ass remark originates from the fact that I’m just not a major fan of these types of post. Personally I don’t think anyone can get a true grasp in a large % of the time what the issue might be by a single angle with such a small sample size of preformed reps. The other factor is even if you could it’s impossible to know if the individual is executing the advice given to them correctly be it from poor communication or poor comprehension.

Most of the time I think (this will be very unpopular) a large % whom post online for advice regarding developing form would be better off seeking out an actually person whom is knowledgeable that can work with them hands on. If that’s not an option maybe due to what every reason …Than yes I can see posting something online.

Regarding what you posted I agree 100% I know from my own experience one of the main issues I’ve had when teaching people to squat tends to be mobility issues. I find once you get that issue corrected the rest tends to be cake.


[quote=“bulldog9899, post:9, topic:219814”]
Well, if this statement was a slight jab at my remark…I earned it. I admit it was vague off the cuff with no actual clarification and be could be taken wrong. Too be honest I am slight embarrassed now because from reading a few of your post I actually respect you and hate the fact that I came across as ignorant. Considering my total lack of actual writing ability doesn’t help either.[/quote]

Haha no not a jab at all! Sitting back is essential in a variety of squatting technique and you were right on about that–I just wrote the above because I don’t know what kind of squat he is aiming for (or if he even has one in mind, which could be). I’ve met some people whose first thought of squats is the olympic style, and many who think of a football style “safe” squat, or a PL style squat. Your comment was right on the money I just wanted to give a bit of a wider perspective.

Agree and agree. No arguments. In person with a good coach is always much much better than hoping for decent advice online!


thanks a lot guys. i was getting really fustratrd with myself and kelly’s videos are good as. i have been using them for ages to improve my hip mobility. didnt know i had an ankle issue


btw donu guys think I have butt wink? is that related to ankles and hips as well???


Yes but it is really minor and yes it is related most likely. If you get your mobility sorted and practice the drills there is every chance it will go away.

And even if not, butt wink is not the end of the world. You’re squatting 95 lbs. You have bigger fish to fry. If you were squatting 405 with butt wink I might be a bit more concerned about being proactive, but you simply aren’t strong enough for it to be the difference in injury potential. Unless it gets a lot worse (and it shouldnt, if you focus on improving squat specific mobility)


So, a little late to this party, but can you expand on this? Are you using toes forward for mobility, but toes out for squatting?


Essentially yes, exactly. In a loaded barbell squat you do not want your knees way outside your feet–just as having knees cave inward puts stress on the ligaments, so too does really exaggerating the knee out movement in a sort of “bow legged” posture…its just the opposite side of the knee taking the stress.

However, slightly exaggerating the position/stretch is handy for maintaining adequate mobility when done in an unloaded exercise or drill. This is because most people really don’t know what a good position is or feel how to squeeze their glutes medius or any glutes for that matter. Their adductors are also often tight. Just as when you statically stretch you stretch farther than you really want to maintain, so it is with mobility work.

The strongest position for a squat is knees in line with toes (side to side here, not talking about knees forward or back), neither caving in nor bowing out. The trick is to still be able to squeeze and feel your glute medius firing hard (basically the outside of the hip, same muscles you use in banded Frankenstein walks and side shuffles). Most people have sleepy glutes and can’t feel them or the hips working.

Also, “toes out” is relative. I personally would say the OP’s toes are too far out in the video. This varies by stance width and somw other factors, but in general I think any more than about 30 degrees is too far unless in a sumo stance, where it is advantageous.


Actually , to answer the question on my end. Ive seen Bigfoot more often than trainers whom knew what the hell they where doing.

True story: Ive had several guys I have taught how to squat informed me on several occasions that they had different trainers get on them regarding their squat. It was not because their form was bad or anything like that they just felt that their depth was TOO LOW. Now understand I dont normally teach my guys to go ATG but I do make sure they break parallel .So i found the notion that they go too low hilarious.


You’re going to have to get used to the feeling on being tight on all your main lifts. You’re limiting how much weight you will be able to lift and your lower back will hurt.

At one point i wasn’t very good at being tight. Just unracking the weight from the rack was hard and whenever I did higher weights my lower back hurt.