T Nation

Form Check: Is My Form Dangerous?


I just got into lifting and since I lift alone, I want some thoughts and suggestions on my form in the deadlift and military press. these are my thoughts on them

Deadlift: to me, my upper back seems weak in the bottom position. it also feels like I’m trying to squat the bar up. Last, I swing back at the top some reps.

Military Press: bar path immediately goes off the bar path to avoid hitting my chin. there were a few times my arms swung back in the top position while my head moved forward.

side notes: I’ve noticed that when I military press and I’m locked out, one side of the bar will be higher than the other and they are both evenly locked out.

I’m also using light weight and doing a 5x10 to get enough reps to build proper mechanics and along with tendon and joint strength.

P.S. let me know if the videos work. its my first time converting videos so I can post them on the forum


Can’t access the videos, but generally doing higher reps is almost guaranteed not to build proper mechanics, and instead tends to do the opposite. Try 10 sets of three to five with enough weight to work but no so much it effects your technique.


I’m using weights that are light but also heavy enough to build up my work capacity. I re-uploaded the videos via youtube so you should see them now.


Working on technique is NOT the time to build work capacity.

The deadlift looks OK, but as I said you’ll be better off doing more sets of lower reps. That’ll let you use slightly more weight which will make it easier to highlight weaknesses. The video looks fine, but it also looks like your hips gradually get higher and higher - which is exactly why higher rep sets aren’t great for building technique. You’ll get into the habit of pulling high hipped which isn’t usually optimal.

If you want to build work capacity, do 10x3 and then do 100x35 lbs kettlebell swings in as few sets as possible.

Press video still isn’t visible as it’s private.


I’m confused Mark. Why can’t he do sets of 10 to improve form? I don’t see why low reps are a necessity. The guy isn’t competing in powerlifting, he’s just a dude who wants to lift. And his form in the video looked fine to me.

Deadlift: Your hip hinge pattern and back tightness both look fine. You’re not working anywhere close to your actual capacity though, so it’s hard to say exactly where form would break down with heavier weights. If you do not intend to perform work that feels heavier, then this doesn’t matter. If you DO want to perform sets of 10 that are close to your maximal capacity, you should post a heavier set so we can see where things go wrong. You don’t look like you’re squatting the bar up, so I wouldn’t worry about that. You do want your legs involved in the deadlift.

Military press looks fine as well. Any instability you’re currently experiencing at the top will likely work itself out with practice. Your head movement is slightly exagerrated, but I don’t mind that.


He can, and it’ll work but I generally find at first lower rep sets work better. IMO if you’re worried about technique, do lots of lower rep sets just to be on the safe side. You can practice your setup more that way as well.

Nonetheless, you’re right in that they aren’t a necessity. I just think they’re very helpful.


Definitely merit in what you’re saying, particularly if he decides to lift heavy weights in the future. The setup becomes more important as the weights get heavier. And I’ve also found technique to be ‘easier’ in touch and go reps. Easier to stay in the groove. So at the end of the day, it’ll depend on his goals. The initial question was ‘is this dangerous’, and at the level of exertion he’s demonstrating here, I don’t believe there’s any real danger.


MarkKo: i took your suggestion for my squat/bench yesterday (have yet to do those form videos) and it felt a lot better since I obviously had to contract more and focus on where the weight was being loaded on my body.

Flipcollar: I’m hesitant about form now because I want to raw powerlift and want to build form so even when I’m at my max, I don’t collapse.

side note: I’m assuming you run a 1RM test to calculate accurate amount of weight to use for your desired exercise? or is there another method to determine this?


You are completely correct in that respect. I guess I tend to have a worst case scenario approach most of the time.


I’m glad it helped.

That’s a good aim. IMO at max loads your form is always going to deteriorate to an extent, but you can do a lot to control how great an extent that is.

I’d suggest running a 3RM test instead, or even a 3 and 5RM test. Then, use the following formula to estimate your max:

(weight x reps x 0.033) + weight

Take 90% of that: this will be your Training Max ™ which you use to calculate your training loads. If you do a 3 and 5RM test, see what estimate each one gives you and pick the middle for your TM calculation. The TM is what 531 and the Cube use and it pretty much guarantees that you’ll be able to safely handle your training loads while still getting stronger.


Thanks for clarifying your goals, that definitely changes things.

You’ll need to film a set where you’re exerting yourself more to get a good idea of how to address your form, and I would ‘reset’ every rep, not the touch and go type of reps you’re doing here. I would do a difficult set of 5. Doesn’t have to be a true 5 rep max, but the weight should not be easy to lift by the 5th rep. I don’t believe you’re in danger of hurting yourself by doing this with the form you’ve demonstrated in this video.

Mark’s advice on finding a 1RM is probably good. I don’t do any calculations or tests, but I’ve been lifting long enough that I can do most things just by feel. I don’t really run a set program at all, I just have a few lifts that I consistently do within particular rep ranges. I talk about my style of training in my log, if you have an interest, but I don’t really recommend doing what I do, lol.

I’ll give you a basic layout though. I alternate how heavy I go on my main lifts weekly. One week I’ll work up to a heavy single or double, the next week I’ll work up to a heavy set of 5-10. Then, after I’ve done my heaviest set, I’ll back off the weight and do more work for volume. It could be 5 sets of 10, could be 3 sets of 10, could be 6 sets of 6. I just try to mix it up. The weight I pick is anywhere from 50 percent of my max to 70 percent. If I pick a weight that’s just too heavy on my first set (this happens sometimes), then I’ll lower it for subsequent sets.

So for instance, on Monday I worked up to a 445 squat for 5 reps. I picked 6x6 for my volume work following that, and used 315 for the weight. I’m capable of doing more reps at that weight, but for volume work, you don’t have to work to your maximum capacity every time. I’m also likely to do more reps (more like 5x10) on my volume sets if I’ve only worked up to a single for my heavy set. In this case, the 5 reps took a lot out of me, so I was happy to keep the overall volume lower.


ok so i ended up doing a 5RM test today on the same lifts and here are the form checks (if interested)

i got 3 reps @ 275lbs on a second attempt on the deadlift and my OHP was also 3 reps @ 135lbs. i do think i have too many sets but i also gave myself enough time to rest before every attempt. let me know what you think (i know it’s all over the place but it is my first time running the test so just bear with me)

1x5x155<—last warm-up set
1x3x275<----- 1RM=305(TM=247.5lbs)

1x5x95<—last warm-up set
1x3x135<-----1RM=150lbs (TM=121.5lbs)

with all the sets i did for the DL do you think i should do a re-test? i didn’t feel burnt out working up to the last set and I even did a second attempt to make sure that my reps were as accurate as possible for the weight. it just does seem like too many sets


That all looks fine to me. I wouldn’t overthink things, just go with those numbers and calculated TMs. They’ll do fine.

Your DL looks decent, but your hips shoot up much more at heavier loads. So, work on starting with lower hips and really getting good leg drive before extending your hips. Focusing assistance on your hamstrings should help, and quads too. When you lock out, instead of leaning your shoulders back drive your hips through the bar by squeezing your glutes.

BTW, your form still isn’t dangerous at those loads, it just needs improvement to help you get stronger.

I don’t know enough about pressing to really give any relevant advice.