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Help Fixing My "Big Three" Form



I looked up some of Chris Duffin videos and realized there is much more abut bracing then I am doing…I started doing some of his drills like loaded deadbugs.

Still I have trouble bracing when I am bent like in deadlift or at bottom of squat. Maybe I am deadlifting too narrow.


Its a skill that takes time to practice and make automatic. Give yourself cues and give it time to stick. Don’t go throwing everything about hoping you’ll fall ass backwards into a good position. Or get a coach.


Well the only few coaches, that I know are worth going to, charge like half the average salary. Wouldn’t be problem if I had full time job but I am studying atm. So I am pretty much relying on internet only right now. Perhaps I ll get one month coaching on summer break…


If you can’t brace properly then I doubt you need to load deadbugs, they are hard enough on their own if you do them properly. You have to keep your ribs locked onto your pelvis and allow no movement in any direction, which is exactly what you should be doing when you brace during a squat or deadlift.


I made a one month break from gym hoping it will relieve some of my pain in lower back and right wrist/forearm. Of course I was fucking wrong. My lower back is even worse now and my wrist is on fire constantly. For wrist I am 100% sure it’s dorsal wrist impingement and not carpal tunnel syndrome. I am unable to find any useful info online about rehab-ing that. Atm I am just rolling my forearm on lacrosse ball and occasionally doing “First knuckle push ups” exercise which I found on gymnastic forum .

This monday I started with gym again. I don’t know yet will I start 531 or what will I do.
I did 5 3 1 template but lowered max a lot.

I did mcgill big 3 for warmup, and some quick mobility drills.
Then High bar squats.
I will not doing low bar squats for now.
(Reason is wrist/forearm/elbow pain. I believe it’s mobility issue or bar position issue but It gave me much trouble in past).
Also I won’t be doing bench press at all. Reason is both lower back pain and wrist/forearm pain. Even slightly extending my lower back at bench press, shoot pain down my lower back. It’s not normal kind of pain it’s like someone stabbed me with knife. Also forearm pain , especially on right hand where my wrist is injured. I got pretty skinny forearms so maybe that contribute also.
Also my bench is stronger than my squat so I think it’s a problem xD

So this month I ll be focusing on bracing|core work. Also glute work since I think it’s contributing to my lowerback pain. All I did last training was squats and bulgarian split squats and my glute is on fire 3 days now. I was intending to do glute bridges| glute ham raises but ended up finishing my workout. I was thinking of doing squats / deadlifts 2 times a week. Also facepulls every training and rows on deadlift days. I intend to fix my kyphosis.

Here is last training squat:

It was 80kg only for 5 reps and it felt heavy. I focused on bracing mostly but on video I see some flexion in back :confused:
I feel like I am trying to high bar squat with lower bar mechanics . Especially when I squat with empty bar. I can’t be upright without weight on a bar and even with weight I think I lean too much for high bar.
Also I have trouble with keeping knees out. They want to collapse in. I think I had less problem with low bar with that.


Stretch hip flexors. Myofascial release on hip flexors and quadratus lumborum. Buy wrist wraps.


Wraps help a bit but not much.
I don’t do much of hip flexor myofascial release. I did only lacrosse ball in upper quad area.
Also I am confused about psoas muscle. Most of people claim that tight psoas causes anterior pelvic tilt. Also sitting contributes to that tightness. But I read few articles saying that most of the time psoas is weak not tight, even with people having atp.

So I am confused should I stretch it or strengthen it. I tried psoas march with band and it was hard. Can psoas be tight AND weak?
Also I feel most of stretch in my quads when I stretch flexors. First few secs feels like they are gonna snap then it starts to loose a bit. (Also smashing lacrose ball in stomach area trying to hit psoas and release it never worked for me.)

Ty for reply @chris_ottawa

I did some sumo deadlifts today


Anything can be tight and weak. I’m not really convinced that weakness alone is a problem though. In McGill’s book “Ultimate Back Fitness and Performance” he says something about how once sprinters’ hip extensors reach a certain level of strength they become limited more by hip flexor strength (they have to pull their legs forward faster, they can generate any more extension power) so in a lot of cases they start training hip flexors hard and end up with back problems. That doesn’t fully explain your situation, but the takeaway is that strong hip flexors can cause back pain as well.

If your back is really fucked then see a specialist or buy one of McGill’s book like “Back Mechanic” or the lower back disorder one (I forget the name).

You are probably stretching you hip flexors wrong. Also, that stretch where you have your knee fully flexed on the leg being stretched seems to do more on the rectus femoris than psoas, which is the main problem most of the time. Try it with you leg more or less straight.

Lacrosse balls are good for myofascial but not for every muscle. If you have a massage stick like a theracane or similar then that can work (lay on your back, try both legs bent and straight out) and if not then a similar blunt object like the handle of a screwdriver. Fingers can work but it’s way harder.

Your knees are too far forward in that video. For conventional that can work but not for sumo, shins should be just about vertical. Apply pressure evenly between heels and balls of feet, try to wedge your hips under the bar. Your whole body is too far forward.


Do You have a video about that stretch with straight leg? I don’t think I understood You.

About sumo. I figured I can brace much better with sumo than conventional but I am struggling off the floor. I feel like I am on my heels and still in the video my shins are forward a bit. Also when I try to pull my hips closer to bar and open them it should feel easier but somehow I find it harder. I have really bad hip external rotation range. (like 45 degrees max). This is weight that I am used to warmup with conventional.


How exactly have you been stretching your hip flexors? All I’m saying is not to do the one where you stretch your quad on the back leg at the same time.

You sound like you have a lot of issues, maybe some mobility specialists can help you. I only know basic things. Kabuki Movement Systems might have some helpful stuff.


When I do this one I feel stretch in leg that is back.(rectus femoris).

Also I do something like this. I feel stretch mostly in glute side region. The problem with this one is that I can’t put my knee down like people do in pigeon pose.

So I started doing this one instead but I can’t put my knee down that much like she’s doing.


The first one is what I was saying not to do, you don’t need to have your toes up, they can be on the ground. Also, the hip needs to be slightly hyperextended to stretch the psoas, if that’s what you have been doing then it’s no wonder you feel it in your quads rather than hip flexors. If I do a similar hip flexor stretch and pull my rear foot up it irritates my knees, I also don’t lack quad flexibility so it’s a stretch I don’t do.

Try 90/90 stretches, you probably lack internal rotation too.


This one? Still feeling just rectus femoris but much less than with rear foot elevated.

I can’t do 90/90 because it’s hard on my knees.
I tried months ago just pushing trough it and heared pop in my right knee so I stopped doing it. I must elevate my knee up and it reduces the stretch. I have no problem with internal rotation. I have about 45 degrees doing seated test.

Can I perhaps record myself stretching and send here so You can tell me what I am doing wrong?


You just need to figure out how to do it so that you feel the stretch in your hip flexors. I do it with my knee on a foot stool and lean forward onto a shelf. I actually just did this about 20 minutes ago. Stuart McGill has his version where you are in more of a standing lunge position and you lean to the opposite side of the hip you are stretching, apparently this increases tension on the psoas. I just get myself into a position where I feel tension in my hip flexors and hold it for 30 seconds, do it 2-3 times on each side.

Remind me again, why exactly do you feel that you need to stretch your hip flexors? I don’t have the patience to re-read this whole thread. It could be that you don’t feel anything because they aren’t tight.

If something hurts then don’t do it, or don’t push the ROM beyond what you can do without pain. 90/90 shouldn’t affect your knees though.

Record and post if you want, why not. The thing is that there are multiple ways to do each stretch, the main thing is that you get the result that you want. I’m not stretching specialist, I just know what works for me and it happens to work for some other people as well.


I have some lower back pain which won’t leave me for quite some time now. I don’t know the cause ,it’s extension based so every time I extend my spine pain triggers. I also do have anterior pelvic tilt so I assumed it’s one of the causes of pain. I used to bench with decent arch in my lower back -.-’
So mainly, right now, I focus on strengthening glutes and core. (squats, hip trusts, glute bridges, glute ham raises are exercises I do right now for glutes, and mcgill big 3 , planks, deadbugs for core). I struggle with stretching but as I said I did those hip flexor stretches.
So mainly I was hoping that fixing apt would eliminate back pain and tight hip flexors are one of main reasons for apt. Also to squat with knees more outwards.

About 90/90 I think that what happens is that I somehow compensate with knee for lack of external rotation…

I can do it like this (my knee is even higher up) but as soon as I try to drop knee on floor I feel it on outer side of knee. (lcl?) Elevating front knee on box doesn’t help either.

I am tired of reinjuring myself doing big 3 lifts and being stuck with strength progression so I am focusing now on fixing issues. I still squat and deadlift (high bar and sumo though) but I don’t go over 60% of my max. I see people pulling much bigger weights with much worse form than mine and not having single injury.


Tight IT bands could be part of your knee issue.

If your lower back pain happens when you extend your back and you have anterior pelvic tilt then you probably have tight QLs. I’m willing to bet I already discussed this before, but you can work on the with a lacrosse ball, lay on your back with the ball between your QL and the floor, roll around a little bit and look for sore spots. You can try to release your psoas (same side) at the same time, use a massage stick or other blunt object.


I do that often (hitting ql with lacrosse ball) and I find it very relieving (especially left side) but apart from feeling good for few min doesn’t do much :confused:


You sound like you need professional help. I honestly can’t do anything more for you. You might be able to get some good advice on Kabuki Movement Systems, you can get advice from their coaches in the forum on the site. You might be able to find a free month promo code too, look at their IG page. In the past, the code “onemonthfree” worked (I used it twice), you have to give your credit card info but they wont bill you until after the free month and you can cancel before then.

Other than that, find a specialist who knows about powerlifting. About as easy as a needle in a haystack though…


I ll look into kabuki but I don’t have much money to spent on rehab coach. And even if I did have money I am pretty sure 95% of them, where I live, don’t have knowledge/experience required.
(one of those coaches gave me advice: just strengthen your lower back and stretch your hamstrings…)
I guess I will have to stick to good old “no pain no gain” method xD

Here is today’s dl session. I started this time with closer stance. Still find it odd to pull myself behind bar. Also after seeing video I think I should’ve opened my hips more. (if i could)


It $10.99 a month