T Nation

Form Critique


I've been lifting westside for about 4 and a half months now. One of the recurring themes both of Westside and OL and a lot of the other programs discussed here is form, form, form. Seeing as how I work out in a commercial gym, there isn't what you might call a support network of powerlifters. So last test day I had my buddy film me in the hopes of putting it up here and getting some constructive criticism. It's already helped, I notice that when I squat the bar out of the rack I lose my arch; probably ought to set the bar lower.

Here's me with 425: http://www.hunnel.net/425%20Squat.MPG

That went up easy so I tried 455:

Finally, heres me deadlifting:

If anyone wnats to hijack this thread, please be my guest. I think it would be great if we could really get a post goign where we all help each other out with form.


Very interesting idea. I need to film myself. One thing I always wondered about is at what point should I start using use a weight belt. I also pull a 405 and I am still lifting raw. My low back still feels good so I have been going without the belt for now.


Squat form looks good. If anything could be improved it would be less forward lean at the bottom. Man I'm definately going to do the same thing, film my technique and post it.


I love this. I have a small digital camera that can take motion pictures, up to 6 or 7 minutes worth, and a while back I was taking it to the gym to record some of my lifts. I wish I had the camera with me now, because I am stronger and I think my form has greatly improved in the last eight monts or so since I last recorded.

I don't know what your bench is, but we are similar in our lifting poundages. I actually pull conventional, though.

A few things I noticed in your clips: Does your gym not have a power rack? I used to use that kind of "squat rack" but I had to stop. For one, I am too short to squat deep enough where I can still actually have the rack spot me. Second, I got tired of taking 5 steps backward to set up. I now use a power rack and I have a 3 step set up. Plus I can actually use the safety pins to spot me and go below parallel. This is important since I work out alone.

Also, and this is just an annoying pet peeve of mine, but I really hate those easy grip plates with the squared off edges. They just irritate me. Make them round!

As far as your form, it really looks ok to me. I think form is somewhat individualized and depends a lot on body type, size and structure. Thus taller people tend to lean forward mord in a squat. Shorter people will have their hips lower in a deadlift.

As long as you are making gains and your form isn't completely off base or dangerous, I think you're ok. I just think that the longer you lift and the more your gains start to slow, the more you have to tweak your form to find what will work for you and continue to help you lift more, but lift more safely.

Good luck. I will see if i can dig up some old clips to post on here.



BTW what the hell is www.hunnel.net? I just watched the Hey Mama video and it had me rolling. Too funny.



First off...glad to see someone moving some serious weights in the gym! Here are a few things you might check out.

I would move the bar slightly lower on your back so you can force your chest up from the walk-out. Once the chest gets caved (even on the walkout) it's harder to get that back. As well, I think someone mentioned economizing your walk-out. At most, it should be three steps: Right foot back, left foot planted, right foot planted, and then you're ready. Last thing is don't f*ck around in the hole! Your depth is good, but it looks like you are "searching" for it...like you aren't sure if you are there or not. Hit the hole and DRIVE out of it hard by pushing your back into the bar. These are just minor details, though; overall, the technique looks really good.

As for the pulls, the biggest thing I could suggest is turning the toes out a little more to get your heels more underneath the bar. This will bring the bar in closer to your center of gravity, as well as helping keep it in even tighter throughout. This will not only help your start but your finish as well. Have you competed before? If not, get your ass on the platform and let us know how you do!

Keep up the good work and move those big weights bro!

Stay strong


Funny you should ask about my bench: I didnt have the camera for my bench but I got 340 up. However, I felt my ass leave the bench just a LITTLE bit, so I dont know if that counts. If the ass has to bve perfect on the bench, I did do 325, but again, after I did it, I realized something was wrong: I hadn't paused for a 1 mississippi count on my chest. I know that rules usually vary from federation to federation - I was watching Westside Bench Secrets' highlight reel at the end and some of their lifts had the pause, some didn't - but is that one thats usually consistent?

As far as the power rack and the round plates go: welcome to the world of commercial gyms! we have 0 power racks, and 2 squat racks and I am just waiting for them to be thrown out in favor of some machine that isolates your left hip or something. BTW did you hear the music in the background on my videos? Listen to it again and try to imagine getting pumped up to that crap.

Thanks for the compliments. I guess it's all a matter of perspective I didn't think I was really that strong, but coming from you that means something. I'll definitely incorporate your suggestions for my next max day. I've never competed, but I am starting to look around for comps near NYC in november/december.

Thanks to all, I hope we keep this thread going.


No problem, keep up the good work bro!

Stay strong


Lurker here - but this thread is great so I had to comment. Awesome lifts man.

Is that how I should be doing my deadlifts - leaning back that extra bit at the end? I usually stop right before you start to lean back. Granted, I'm not pulling that much weight, so I don't know if that has anything to do with it or not... just wondering.

This is a great idea - it helps alot to see the lifts being performed. Got any olympic lifts captured?


Wow great idea, i just maxed out also and never thought of filming it. What a great way to watch your form and see all the little things you need to adjust. I guess Theres always next time to filmn it! Anyway great lifts keep up the good word and keep us posted!


After looking at this video I think I need to spread my legs out a bit wider. My feet are usually about 18 inches apart when I do squats.

Great idea filming it !!


Four things.

  1. Slow down your walkout. This will go a long way towards removing some of those steps. You need to strive for a two step walk out.

  2. When you set up under the bar, set your arch and pull the bar down into your traps hard. You are starting with good elbow position and an arch in the rack and losing both on your takeout b/c you are not tight on the bar and are moving way too fast. The lift should be fast and explosive, but the walkout and rack should be relatively slow and controlled.

  3. On the 425, it looked like you were what I call "gunning for the rack." As soon as you were almost locked out, you took a step towards the rack. Again, slow it down. That's a great way to f*#k yourself up.

  4. I don't know what you are doing at the top of your pull, but I call that "three reds." You are overexaggerating the lockout which causes you to bend at the knees and hips. You never lock out that pull. Stand up straight with it, knees, hips and shoulders locked. Also, you need to pull alot more air into your belly.

That has to be some of the worst music I have ever heard so you obviously possess an above average ability to get focused.

Train hard.


On the 455 your actual squat form looks allright, your hips go first. But it looks like you are not in a tight position at all, which for myself creates a too fast descent that I cannot get up out of the hole.


What can I say that hasn't already been said. I'm assuming you are an active powerlifter.

The squat isn't bad. Don't fidget so much with your setup. Take enough steps to clear the rack. We're talking two steps. Don't break your knees and stand back up before you squat. You'll red light. Watch the extra lean at the bottom. The more you lean over the more your hips will come up and you'll miss your depth. Another red light.

As for the deadlift. Do not, I repeat, do not lean that far back. With maximal weights, your knees will break every time. Red light, red light, red light.