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Form Critique/ Advice/ Help or Suggestions

So here are a few of some recent heavier lifts.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated in regards to set up, form, glaring weaknesses that I don’t see, etc…
I recently got a SSB and I feel that’s already helped with some postural strength/ not falling forward so much in my squat.
I have two more weeks before I start a 10 week prep block for a meet in November so I’m trying to plan my accessory stuff now.

405 Squat
315 Bent Row
500 Trap Bar Dead
495 Light Reverse Band Conventional Dead
500 Sumo Deadlift

I’m not going to pat you on the back here so here goes:


  1. Unrack and THEN let the bar settle before you walk back
  2. Before the descent - chest OUT, upper back TIGHT
  3. Descend back and down
  4. Get a real belt - throw the BB belt in the trash


  1. Rowing with a cat back is a recipe for a major fuck up
  2. Learn how to hinge and brace

Trap bar - no comment - I don’tdo them

Conv DL

  1. Round back right off the floor

Sumo DL

  1. Round back off the floor
  2. Knees not turned out enough

I would like to give suggestions on how to fix things, but you have elemental, basic form issues. My advice is to find a coach becaue the form issues I see are not correctable through video coaching. You need hands on help with the basics.

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Thank you!
Definitely not looking for a pat on the back.

A few questions/comments if you don’t mind…


Unrack and THEN let the bar settle - will try to be more aware of this, i think it felt fairly settled before i walked out, but ill definitely take the time to settle next time

chest OUT, upper back TIGHT - out as in spreading the chest apart? and i do try to get my elbows down to my lats mentally, but maybe I’m not focusing enough on my upper back?

Descend back and down - when i used flat shoes i think i was doing the down and back better. I’ve since switched to lifters and maybe am not pushing back enough

Get a real belt - throw the BB belt in the trash - when i have the money…its there to give me something to push out against, trying to get this bracing thing down

And I am aware of the rounding obviously in the conventional and the rows. Those were both basically maxes, so i knew there would be some breakdown. Or a lot of breakdown. :frowning:

With the sumo pull, you are saying push my knees out harder when breaking the floor? Or start with my feet turned out even more?

Thank you again! This is why I’m asking.

Squeeze the shoulder blades together, force the elbows down and push the chest forward.

Work the following HARD:

Conventional Deadliftsoff blocks, RDL’s, stiff legs, and a ton of HAM/Glute work (Good mornings, GHR, Reverse hyper, leg curl, etc.)

Regarding the sumo, you nooed to push the knees out in order to bring the hips closer to the bar. You will need to experiemnt with back angle, foot width and turn out.

Finally, there are full size Belt bargains out there. Make sure its lined in suede so it doesn’t slide around on you. Save your pennies

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Again, thank you. I appreciate you taking the time to watch and respond.

I know I’ve got a lot to learn!

How is your lifting going/got any meets planned this year?

I have a USPA meet on Aug 26. Im returning to the sport after a long layoff.

For instructional videos I recommend the following:

Squat: Matt Wenning has a series: "so you think you can squat"
How to skwaat with ed coan

Conv Deadlift: How to conventional deadlift with ed coan
5 secrets of deadlift with andy bolton

Bench: So you think you can bench with Dave Tate

Sumo Deadlift: How to sumo Deadlift with Ed coan

The key to the sumo is opening the hips so that the toes are turned out 45 degrees and the thigh is paralell to the feet. Hips as high as possible with the back in an extended (arched) position. To initiate you push into the toes of your shoes while raising the torso upward while thrusting the hips forward. I recommend you stay with the conventional until you can pull at least 2x bodyweight with a flat back. In the meantime you can do light weight high rep sumo under a coach’s eye until you learn it - not easy.

Try training conventional year round until 12 weeks out. At that time warm up using sumo and pull the work sets conventional. At 4 weeks out warmup conventional and pull the work sets sumo. If you do this for a few cycles you should be able to pull the same poundage in both styles.

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Thats right around the corner! Excited to see how ya do.

Ill watch all those for sure. I think I started the Matt Wenning series once before, I will return to it.

And I believe I fell into the whole trying sumo, pulled more, and left conventional behind trap. And after the last meet I did (April), I realized i needed to return to pulling conventional more often. So this is something I will continue to implement and more so.

I feel things have been going in the right direction, but I can definitely improve many areas. At that April meet, I went 380, 237, 507.
Since then I’ve only pulled sumo twice, once in the video you saw, and another 455x3. Everything else has been conventional, or stiff leg. So the numbers are moving in the right direction, for the most part.
I want to be able to do this for awhile and get stuff fixed now. Prevent injuries and seriously consider getting up to 220 BW.

One of the mistakes I made in the past was pulling sumo too often and neglecting the conventional. At the time I pulled 450 sloppy conventional, and converetd to sumo. I trained exclusively sumo and eventually stalled out at 545. The reason I stalled out is the continual use of the sumo did not increase my back and hamstring strength. The conventional uses more hams and back, the sumo uses more adductors and quads. So my back became weaker.

I am now, for that reason, using sumo as assistance.I probably wont sumo in a meet until I pass 550 conventional.

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How did the meet go?

Fairly well. I went into this meet treating it as a training meet without a real absolute peak. I am working with the westside system for the first time and am using this meet as an experiement to adjust training parameters. That being said I squatted ony 358 and 391 (red light for depth). The weight felt like nothing though so there was at least 30 lbs left on the table. Bench 237 with no effort at all (could have tripled) on a third. Deadlift a very conservative 424 conventional which I also could have tripled.

Now for some observations on the westside training system.

Anyone who says “it doesn’t work for raw lifters” either didn’t implement it correctly or is just following internet bullshit broscience (including JTS, RTS, etc.). You need to remember that these guys are selling “programs” which will all work to a degree but will need to be modified to work for an indvidual. Westside is a “system”. There is no “westside program”. You need to figure out how to make it work for you.

You can do the full monte westside (chains, box, bands, etc.) with one HUGE caveat. Your form needs to be dialed in so that your lifting technique is like riding a bike. You need to be able to perform the lifts correctly without having to think about what you’re doing. You need to be able drop down in the squat and bench with speed and confidence and rip the bar in the deadlift without having to micromanage form. If you haven’t reached this level of technical proficiency, you’re not ready and the westside system will fuck you up.

This has nothing to do with the poundage being lifted, but it is purely evaluated on a skills basis. I am not lifting high poundages but I have a past competive career of 17 years and have been strength training on and off since 1983.

This mastery also applies to special exercises. What I do with a special exercise is put it in as an accessory for high reps first, then do it as a supplemental movement. When I feel the form is mastered, I may add it into the max effort rotation.

I began the return to powerlifting 2 years ago fuckign around with different approaches. The results of the first 12 weeks of westside style programming are as follows.

Squat - from a 335 double to a joke easy 391 (slightly high -2 white lights)
Bench (my weakest lift) - 235 to 237 with 15-20 in the tank.
Deadlift - stuck for a year at 405 to an easy 424 with 30 in the tank.

So far it seems to be working, the next 12 weeks will yield more info.