T Nation

Front Squat Critique


#1

I would appreciate some input as I have not had much advice from more experienced lifters up to this point. I'm trying to go below parallel and keep a safe and strong posture.


#2

Form looks very good. Still have room to go lower if you wanted too, but your depth is still fine as well. Great job man!


#3

ok, thanks a lot for the feedback! I may try going deeper, I feel I might need to bring my stance in narrower to do so because my right hip feels like it's locking up at the bottom.


#4

I think your form is good and you can afford to go lower when you think it's safer to do so. I can't tell immediately from the video but are those weightlifting shoes? I ask because heel elevation is good for form and quad development. By narrower stance do you mean feet pointing straight and forward?


#5

It's the VS Athletics weightlifting shoe, I went with the highest heel I could find online ( something like 1.25 inches) to overcome some significant ankle restrictions, I definately feel it's helped me get deeper without sacrificing my spine.

By narrower, I mean I think I can get my heels and whole feet closer in, and still have my toes pointing out comfortably.


#6

Looks good on both points.


#7

I could be wrong but it doesn't look like you're forcing your knees out. Stretch your hips and hip flexors and hamstrings and that should help you get the depth you want.


#8

Fletch1986, I think you're right about not forcing my knees out. They feel good on the way down, but I can lose it on the way up sometimes. I will push them out as best I can with a heavier weight next time and see what happens.

What would be a good view for me to take next squat workout to visualize the knees? Should I get it straight from the front or back? Overhead? Underneath through a plexiglass floor? (kidding)


#9

Front. Side is best for evaluating depth and looking for proper hip drive (not gm'ing the weight up). Is it just a cue you didn't think about or were you physically unable push your knees out?


#10

As someone said earlier, you can still squat even lower.

However, as it stands, shit was pretty good.

My only question is are you locking your knees out?

...it's hard to tell from the vid due to your wearing sweats, but I'm suspecting that you're locking out...


#11

Fletch1986: I can physically push the knees out, but if I'm getting tired, it's a lot harder, they seem to come in on the last few reps unless I really focus on it, I just need to keep reinforcing it I guess.

get_ate: I am definitely straightening my knees all the way, I'm not hyperextending, but I am resting at the top on straight legs. Is that something I should change? From watching videos, some people seem to breathe at the top, and some seem to go right into the next rep. I don't know which is the best way for me.

here it looks like he straightens fully:

here it looks like he stands with very slightly bent knees:

here the first few reps he stays short of lockout and goes back down immediately:


#12

Second Fletch's comment. video from the back or front is best for knees.

Also, hard to tell from the video--both because it's a subtle movement and because I can't see your head when you're standing up--but an additional tip you might try is to pull your head back when setting up the squat and when squatting down. By this I do NOT mean tilting your head up, or looking up, or anything of the sort. I mean physically pulling the whole head directly backwards using your neck. Try it sitting down at the computer--look straight ahead, then try to pull your head back without raising your chin much, if any. This will create more room for the bar in the cradle, and also help you stay more upright with a tighter back.

Not that you necessarily need it, but it will help if you have problems with dizziness or blacking out during a set because the bar slides onto your carotid arteries. It's also a handy little tweak for helping keep your back tight.


#13

Here's my follow up video, from the front, I tried to follow as much advice as possible and I went a little deeper too. Shorts so you can see what I'm doing.

1) I tried not to hyperextend my knees.
2) I definitely pushed my knees out more on the way up. (thanks for the comment)
3) I pulled my head and neck back more, this helped me keep my upper back in better extension without over-arching my lower back (very helpful)

My stance may be slightly narrower, but I still feel I can bring the feet closer


#15

Nice front squats. Big improvement.


#16

MattyG35, thanks for the feedback. I see you're in Manitoba, do you train in Winnipeg? Have a favorite gym?

No, I'm not an O-lifter, I just like front squats and felt they were worth learning to do correctly.

I'm definitely working on the ankles, thanks for the tip. Let's assume someone has an unchangeable limitation of ankle motion (surgery, arthritis, genetics etc) what issues do you think will develop if they use a heel lift on certain exercises to overcome their limitation?

I guess I'm doing a half front squat right now. How do you normally gauge your depth? Just squat until you can't go any lower? or do you use some other cue, I'd be interested to hear how everybody decides on their depth and why.

Fletch1986, thanks, your cue about the knees made me feel a lot stronger on last workout, I'll upload more as I lift heavier and maybe I'll get more useful advice!


#18

Squat down right until before your lower back starts to round. By increasing lower body flexibility (especially hips and hip flexors for most people), you'll be able to go deeper and deeper comfortably. Don't forget wrist and shoulder flexibility. I messed up my right shoulder a bit on some powercleans because I didn't work on those two and that shoulder still gives me shit every once in a while.


#19

Ankle mobility http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vxr9-IB0Rr4


#20

Ankle mobility http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vxr9-IB0Rr4


#21

Great improvement man. Keep at it.


#22

MattyG35,
I'm in Winnipeg also. Your home setup sounds great.
I didn't do much to my ankles, my family has below normal ankle dorsiflexion and I inherited it. I can work ankle flexibility up to a certain point, but the restriction is impingement on the front of the ankle, not muscular restriction at the calf.
Thanks for the advice on how to manage the ankles, some ideas there I needed to be reminded of.

Fletch1986,
Thanks, I will try to go deeper without letting my back round on my next video.

gabex,
I love that video, great resource, definitely worth posting twice!

Aragorn,
Thanks, I will keep at it. Can't wait to see where I'm at in a year.