T Nation

Help a Newbie Out (Squat Form)


I need some help with my squatting. I lose my arch and end up doing half a good-morning when it gets heavy. Some input would be appreciated, sorry about the crappy quality of the video, I shot it with a cellphone.


Perhaps I should include a little more info. I'm using a fairly wide stance with toes out, and I'm facing a mirror. I try to drive my traps into the bar and push my elbows forward under the bar on the ascent. The box is there just to lightly touch and go, to make sure I'm hitting parallel. It's the third set of five, and the weight is 250 lbs.


Try to always point your elbows down facing the floor, this helps to push your chest forwards. I'm pretty tall at 6.3 and something that has helped me a lot when it comes to stabilizing my spine is using proper breathing technique. Inhale air down to your stomach and keep your breath until you've completed one whole rep. The arch together with the "air belt" in your stomach helps keep your spine somewhat neutral.

I also recommend you read some of Dave Tate's articles, hes written a bunch specifically for the Squat.

Good luck


Thanks for replying. I'm constantly forgetting about driving my elbows forward, but I do take a deep breath and hold it.

I've read enough articles to choke a donkey, never seemed to do much for me. I guess that's why I put that video up there, so I could get a few pointers specific to my problems.


Those look prety good. Next time use a different angle so you'll have various angles to compare your form.

In general your setting up pretty good, controlling the weight throughout the squat and from the comments you've make your focusing on the right areas.

Your problem is going to come as you add weight. Basically everytime you add weight to the form you need to relearn form, because something will change or a weak point becomes exposed. This happens with everyone.

I think you may soon have the problem I am dealing with (I bolded it above). The idea isn't to drive elbows forward on the ascent, its to set up with them in position and then maintain that position throughout. The reason people say to drive forward is that its generally on the ascent that hips come up first and you end up in a GM position.

So in summary before you unrack the weight set up with your chest high (which you are doing fairly well), elbows in position, fill your belly with air, unrack and set up, squat and fight to maintain your tightness and positioning.

Good squats, keep it up.


Thank you. I went at it again today, and tried setting my elbows to always point at the floor... this was pretty much an epic fail, lol. Terribly uncomfortable on my wrists, and my elbows kept going back to the angle you see in that vid. When I tried to correct the elbow thing on the way up, I suddenly lost all my power and had to dump the bar. Also, I can't seem to get the bar as low on my back as I would like, when I'm trying to keep the elbows pointing downwards.

I'll keep trying, and try to get some shots from other angles so that you can judge my form better.


i couldn't have said it better. good post. the only thing i do different is when i set up, i take a deep breath step and set my feet. once i'm in my squat position i exhale and then take another deep breath before i decend.

i think your form is good other than getting those elbows under you. in the beginning of your set your core is still fresh and you can stay upright. once you get fatigued you start to bend over thus making your hips come up first. the elbows thing comes with time and practice. my buddy modi just posted a vid of him squatting 620. it was a grinder but he stayed with it and got through it because his form is solid now. he used to look a lot worse than you. his elbows were way back and he would end up folding over. he has worked consistantly for a couple years perfecting his form and now he is reaping the rewards.

you know what you have to do, just do it over and over and over.


I hear you on the pain getting/keeping position. In reality, you'll rarely see people that can keep elbows directly under the bar. It's more important to be constantly be trying to get that position as opposed to actually getting into it.

For the wrists, some people use the "suicide grip" with thumbs over the bar (with your fingers) rather than around the bar. I don't use it, but if you're going to try use it for your warm ups as well to get a feel.


Thanks a lot for your comments, I appreciate it. I'll keep at it.

About breathing; I take several deep breaths before descending, then when I feel ready I hold it and do the rep, then a few breaths again. I'm sure I'll take less time between reps as my confidence increases.


Hey purple, you could keep posting up your squat and dead vids in this thread from now on...
That way you get a few more guys than just me monitoring and commenting on your (form)progress.

(from when is that particular vid?)


Will do, sensei :slight_smile:

That vid is from this Monday.


Here is a set of deadlifts from today, my first time trying to pull sumo. Seems to me that it was heavier to get off the floor than with conventional foot placement, but easier to lock out. I guess I must have pretty weak hamstrings. That's three olympic plates+ locks, about 320 lbs. Skip to 0:40(edit:that's halfway in), I was slow setting up.


This is also from today, just trying to work on my form with a relatively light weight.


The sumo and todays squat looked good to me! I have to do the sumo with alternating grip cause i dont have straps and over 225 my grip is a limiting factor. From your first vid i would say the reps 3 and 4 looked the best to me. Are you firing up out of the hole?


I don't quite know what you mean, but I am trying to accelerate out of the hole as fast as I can. I'm unsure about my back in that deadlift, if I'm supposed to keep an arched lower back or what. I was trying, but it ended up being rounded anyway.


BB row form check. Last few reps were kinda sloppy, but otherwise I think it was ok. Comments are appreciated :slightly_smiling: