T Nation

Help with Form w/ Vids


hey posted last year about form in the beginners forum, thought id post here since im doing a pl meet soon though. old thread - https://tnation.T-Nation.com/free_online_forum/sports_body_training_performance_bodybuilding_beginner/form_critique_on_lifts;jsessionid=89A18EDCF8E5AC2DA9E83922AC42D0B7-he.hydra mr popular and bonez def helped though

bench - im competing in usapl so heels have to be planted. im not sure exactly how to get more leg drive. in the first set my legs are too far back so i adjusted a bit. the rest im trying to do like a leg extension i think while trying to arch more during the lift.

deadlift - hips still shooting up i guess. usually i stay closer to the bar though, i have scrapes/scars all along my shins from them. ill take vids again on my next dl session

squats - im squatting on fri i think so ill post then

im about 3 weeks out from my meet and im competing raw in usapl. think im gonna use those lifts as my openers (195 bench and maybe 350ish for deadlift and 315 squat)
any critiques, tips, or coaching cues that you think will help would be awesome. thanks
and my log http://tnation.T-Nation.com/free_online_forum/blog_sports_body_training_performance_bodybuilding_log/fong520_log_?pageNo=5#4384708


I wouldn't bounce the deads. Start every rep from a dead stop position at the bottom. When you bounce it like that you are going to get more reps of course. I would be willing to bet that will throw off your estimated 1rm if you use that from 5/3/1. Looks more like you know your actualy 1rm though. The bench arch looks great. You won't get to bounce a deadlift at the meet so I wouldn't train like that. Get set every rep and pull it like it's a single.


Really work on keeping your shoulders behind the bar when you deadlift. This will insure that your hips don't rise faster than your shoulders which I think is happening early in the pull. Really sit back and squeeze (don't jerk) the bar off the ground.

As far as your bench form, I wish mine was that good. Nice arch.


Your bench form looks good, you could try turning your feet out at more of an angle to get more leg drive, but it's hard to tell from the camera position. On deadlifts, you know you're raising your hips already and that needs to be fixed. Keep that bar against your shins at the start, if it's out in front then you're losing leverage. If you're going to touch-and-go the higher rep sets, at least descend like you ascend. Your back is parallel to the ground at the start of reps 2-5. Better to come to a stop and reset, but I know that's tough on a set of 5+. You should always do it for 1-3 rep sets.


You have a really nice arch on the bench. Why do you use a belt on bench? It doesn't seem to impede your arch but most raw guys bench without a belt. It's really a matter of preference. I used to bench with a belt until I tried benching heavy without it and found I could get a better arch.

Like I said though, your bench form is solid, so if the belt seems to help keep it.


If you want more leg drive and need your heels on the ground, what about bringing you feet out more infront of you, that way you can drive back and keep your heels planted. But overall your form looks good on bench. On deadlift, gotta keep those shoulders back, and you need to learn to start pulling the slack out of the bar as you descend to the bar. So as you're hips come down, tension should increase on the bar until it pops. Once it pops, explode to lockout, push your feet though the floor and jam your hips against the bar. Make sure you should also not spend too much time setting up on the deadlift, you lose energy and stretch reflex. Hope that helps.


jsmiley - i tested my maxes alittle over a month ago and im only on my 2nd wave of 5/3/1 so yea im using the old maxes from then and will prob continue to do so even after my meet, ill def start resetting after every rep though. i guess thats why my pull from the floor is really weak cause i dont work on it that much.

fletch- i thought that shoulders over the bar was ok and that it was supposed to be scapula over bar according to rippetoe. i dont understand what you mean by dont jerk off the floor can u please elaborate?

pigeon - i def notice how its far away on the 375 attempt. i thought i usually start with it above the balls of my feet (where the toes start) but i guess i should bring it back more over to the actual middle of my foot like rippetoe describes about. does the one at 335 look ok or should i still bring it back a bit closer?. i guess i have to pay attention more to my setup with my feet and all.

brett - on bench i dont wear it as tight and i push the front of the belt a bit lower than where i usually have it for squats and dead. i feel like it helps me keep total pressure on my body though with the whole taking a big breath and pushing out through the movement. can prob do without but yea. ive only just started wearing the belt too. i got it in dec and only use it for my heavier sets for the big 3

uaphenix - bench: ill try to bring my feet up alittle, thats how i adjusted a bit from the 135 set, idk if ill lose my arch if i bring it up too much. i forget where but i remember reading that your supposed to try and squeeze the bench with your legs to get more out of it too. i guess thats only possible with it more together instead of with my feet so wide.
deads: do u mean start pulling on the bar when i first get my grip and set up to go down? for my set up i usually get a grip, squat down a bit, and take in my breath while im down. doing that helps me get my hips pushed forward and kinda sit in position. kinda like in the diesel crew how to properly set up vid. should i take my breath up when i first grip and just hold it from there on and try to sit into position?

im also squattin on sunday instead of today so i can have someone else to squat with and help me and tape me.

are these the correct angles that i should be taking for this? for the deadlift is it better to be directly inline with the bar? for squats i usually see people like on the back and off to the side like in my other vids on the old thread, would that be ideal?

again thanks for the help so far.


heres the squat vid from today, how they lookin?


i wanted to ask a you guys a couple of questions too. while front squatting today, me and my buddy got to talking bout the hips on the way up. during the deadlifts you guys were saying that you should try and push the hips through, are we supposed to do the same for squats? will that make you lose your tightness at all? and also do any of you try and press the bar up with your arms on your way up at all? and ive noticed that i only try and push my legs out when they start caving in on the way up, am i supposed to try adn force them out on the way down too?
thanks in advance


I noticed some 'buttwinking' on your squat. Your hips are going up under your lower back. That=bad. Really focus on keeping your whole back arches hard especially in the bottom of the squat. Think of trying to reach the wall behind you with your ass.

I think pause squats and box squats could help you. I've heard bottom up squats can do this too but I have yet to find out.


On DL, the bar should always be against your shins, it allows you to start more upright.

On the squats, it looks like your knees are coming forward too far on the descent. Close-stance squatters will have to have them come forward a bit by necessity, but your stance looks pretty wide. Squat back, not down. I think it would be even more important to push your hips through on front squats, because if you let them raise up, you're just going to be pitched forward. The hips have to be all the way through at the finish of the squat or deadlift when you're standing upright, so get them started at the beginning of the lift.


I would check out "so you think you can squat" and "so you think you can bench" (SYTYCB) on elitefts.com. I think what UAphenix is talking about is a forward position leg drive, not 'more forward' (correct me if I'm wrong). Dave Tate covers it in the SYTYCB video stating that he tried it for a long time.

With all that said, never lose that arch as you get bigger/stronger or whatever your goal is. As far as the form, it could be the camera angle, but I think your forearm angle isnt perfectly straight up perpendicular to the ground. Watch the SYTYCB video and notice how Dave follows the bar path/forearm angle so you can show a friend how to check yours.


Front squat ?s: Yes on the hips, though it's hard to visualize/conceptualize, and you won't lose tightness if you don't want to, just dont over-analyze it; If anything on the front squats, just try to drive your elbows up hard; On every squat, drive those knees out when going up and down. For the majority of lifts, everything is equal going up and down in a rep, but it will also help you keep tight in the hips and maybe help you sit back further.

Also, like everyone else said. You do shoot forward in the squat, especially at the heavier weights.

One technique issue you need to hit is how far you sit back. for that make sure you keep working box squats so you can really sit back far. Your knees look like they shoot way too far forward because of this.

Lastly, Your hips raise faster than your shoulders/chest on the last set pretty noticeably. I think your form in regards to that looks okay, but you need to make sure of a couple things: trap air in your stomach and chest to keep the tension, though i think you're good there? Keep the bar driving down into your back like doing a lat pulldown to keep that tension in your lats to stabilize you.

If all those things are good already then its not form as much as strength needs. I would hammer HEAVY ab work, i prefer standing to transfer it to squats, maybe thats just me (side bends, pulldown abs, sandbag carries or heavy db carries held at chest, kneeling/lunging/standing pallof presses, zercher squats for low/upper back too) and work your back hard and heavy. Make sure your low back is strong so you don't just let your hips do all the work coming out of the whole.


Yeah VTTrainer, that's what I was talking about. To help picture what I'm saying, here's the video where Tate goes over it. I really think it will help you.


wow, i saw the first 4 bench vids but i guess i missed 5-7... ill def try out the diff foot positioning this week when im benching but i dont think ill switch to it until after this meet bc its a new technique and ill only have one bench workout to work in it. unless im putting up a crapload of weight with it heh.

yea for squats my buddy told me about my knees coming forward that day too. i have a problem breaking my hips before i bend my knees and i guess that keeps me from sitting back far enough as well. im gonna do another squat workout this week instead of the military presses to work on sitting back more.

And for the question about the hips, is that true for the regular squat too, not just the front squat? sorry if thats what u meant pigeon. like i think i might be doing it in my last couple of squats where i slow down coming up. when i turn my knees to face outwards (externally rotating my legs) and push my hips though. is that the same as pushing knees out or am i doing something else completely and is that safe?

do u mean the part where hes talking about flaring his elbows and going straight instead of up?

dammit, i thought i was doing better with my form on the big three too haha sorry if im asking questions that may be simple or stupid, i just want to move big weights and efficiently especially at my small size. but seriously, i really appreciate all the help you guys have given me so far. keep throwing ideas and critiques my way, im soaking it up like a sponge. thanks

ill be deadlifting tomo so ill post a vid up to see if im actually retaining all the info you guys are throwing at me.


I think you know the problem areas.

Ive used tap and goes and pause deads. Ive read some stuff. I think it varies on the lifter. My 1 RM is pretty close even with the tap n go. But pausing will allow to reset and fix any form issues.

Ride your shins, they should be scraped and banged up.

Keep up the work


When I talk about the forearm angle, looking from above the elbow should be right under the bar. To me, and maybe its the cam angle, it seems like the bar is closer to your head than your elbows. Could be wrong, but if thats the case it can def add some weight to the bar. Let me know if thats not clear...


Yeah, pushing the knees out means rotating them outwards. With a wider stance, your feet need to be rotated out a bit to allow your knees to track inline with your feet. When you're at depth, the line your quads make should be at the same angle that your feet are turned out and it should feel natural. Watch some randoms at the gym squatting, how their knees will push inwards towards each other, as if they are buckling in. Do the opposite of that.

Always focus on pushing the hips through (like you're thrusting them forward) on all squat and DL variants.


Yeah, pushing the knees out means rotating them outwards. With a wider stance, your feet need to be rotated out a bit to allow your knees to track inline with your feet. When you're at depth, the line your quads make should be at the same angle that your feet are turned out and it should feel natural. Watch some randoms at the gym squatting, how their knees will push inwards towards each other, as if they are buckling in. Do the opposite of that.

Always focus on pushing the hips through (like you're thrusting them forward) on all squat and DL variants.

You're getting a lot of critique from the members here, but your form is already better than 90% of the people who lift weights. But powerlifting is a 1RM sport, so you need to be as perfect as possible to improve your max.


You are doing good so far. Ya, there may be a lot of work for you in regards to the main 3, but I think you are doing pretty good. Just remember, you will never stop learning technique. There are guys on EliteFTS that still talk about learning technique, and it all changes a little as you get stronger. Keep at it.