T Nation

Help with Squat?


#1

I took a video of my last squat session with the purpose of posting it to get some feedback on my depth and form. Have been training for about 4 months now so I am still a rookie at this and just want to make sure my lifts are good rather than ego lifting. When I am squatting it feels like I am getting real low looking at the video I am not sure. When I put my cursor where my knees are it seems that I hit that point which means I am at least parallel. Would appreciate all tips and try not to rip me too hard LOL :smiley:

PS. sorry for the poor quality.


#2

My $0.02:

It is hard to judge depth from the angle, but you don’t seem to be cheeseballing your depth. So that’s good. I don’t know if you’d get three white lights in a USAPL meet, but if you’re not competing it doesn’t matter if you meet their standards or not. I’ve always strived to squat with full ROM for the majority of my work sets. Maybe take some side film of a set with 135 and compare it with a heavier work set to see if you’re getting shallower as the weight goes up. Keep yourself honest.

My rather general advice applies to most squatters, myself included. Work on head-to-toe tightness. Spread or screw the floor with your feet. Get your upper back tighter. Brace. HARD. Lots of good articles about this notion with cues, etc. Read lots, try different cues and figure out what works for you.

You can also work on your walkout a bit more. Yours isn’t horrible but you’re wasting energy. I take two big steps back, one more small step to set my feet, big breath, squat. Set up and go!

I’m not seeing any signs of ego lifting. Keep going!


#3

x2.

I think you’re a little on the high side, but not disastrously so, and as noted…if you’re not planning to become a competitive powerlifter it’s less important that you “hit bang-on parallel” and more important that you create an appropriate training stimulus for your goals. I believe that your intended goal is to compete in strongman, so while the pursuit of “going slightly deeper on your squats” is probably a net benefit, it’s not a necessity to chase your stated goal.


#4

x3 and on the tightness too.


#5

The angle is tricky as discussed. If you can get a bench or a box in there just to see how close you are to parallel that would probably be the easiest way to self check depth. It seems ( again the angle makes it hard) like you are leaning forward a bit as well. Doing some body weight nose/toes to the wall squats might help with that.


#6

All I see is lack of mobility.


#7

Double up on what @JFG said. Tight ankles especially.


#8

Thanks for all the feed back from everyone. Had a squat session yesterday again. Lowered the weights and was able to film every set with the intention of posting for feedback. I just want to make sure I am doing things in a manner that will benefit the most. Don’t want to take shortcuts but want to push myself to see what I can accomplish.

@JFG mobility is something that i am working on, with stretches. The lack of mobility comes from 20 years of sitting on the couch :smile:

Below are my lifts from yesterday (back and front squats). Hopefully the angle is better. I apologize in advance if this feels like spam. lol

Back Squats;

Bar

95lbs

135lbs

185lbs

205lbs

235lbs

270lbs

Front Squats:

Bar

95lbs

135lbs

145lbs


#9

I think you’re doing great for 4 months under the bar.

Your set of 270 looked solid to me and your depth is fine for training purposes. If you want to squat deeper I suppose you need to become mobile enough to squat to the depth you feel is right for you. Otherwise I think you should hit these hard and often following a sensible plan while looking for various opportunities to improve.


#10

Your form is not that bad. Your ankle mobility is what is preventing the full range of motion. Try elevating your heels, a small plate under each foot should help. You could also pause in the hole with lighter weight.


#11

Your overall mobility is an issue, ankle especially. Your right ankle especially is collapsing inward. This video and article just happened to be on T-Nation today. This stretch might help you out.

Also it might help for you to join some stretch, mobility or yoga class to help with your mobility and flexibility as well. Doing drills like that on your own as a beginner can be quite challenging especially at first, so it’s nice to have someone show you and also push you some at the start. Pratising holding a deep prayer squat, side lunge and hold and other drills like that would help you too in opening up your hips and increasing flexibility in your groin.


#12

@justaman1199 I agree I can feel the tightness in my ankles. I was thinking of starting to use squat shoes but not sure if that would just be masking the problem.

@ashac I took a look at the video again after your comment I see what you mean. Looks like my right ankle is about to snap lol. I’m going to try the exercises in the video before my next session and see how it works. I was actually thinking about doing some yoga to help with mobility in general. A friend owns a studio so I am actually heading to him tonight to discuss and get some tips and things I can do to help increase flexibility.


#13

Solid advice given by @ashac and @justaman1199.I would like to add that your right knee might be caving in which I cannot confirm 100% due to the video angle.If that is the case then you can emphasise on pushing the knee out more.You can do mini band squats and goblet squats to increase your mobility.
Check this video on goblet squats by Bret Conteras which helped me a lot:


#14

you’re 4 months in. A lot of things will improve naturally as long as you continue to pay attention to what you’re doing and you keep grooving good movement patterns. If depth is important to you, continue to focus on that, and it will become easier. Mobility should improve largely without dedicated mobility drills, just more time. I’d be willing to be that your squats already look much better than they did in month 1. My squats looked waaaaay worse than this for the first 5+ years of my lifting, lol. Took me a long time to start squatting to depth.


#15

I’ll pop back in here and add to flip’s post a bit.

I’m just not seeing any mobility crisis that needs addressing. If your squats feel good to you, I see no reason to do much besides continue squatting while striving to improve in all areas of your lifting. Like flip said, you’re going to get better at squatting just by squatting, especially if you have a mindset geared towards improving it.

My ankles do the same thing yours do. Sure it may LOOK like something’s wrong, but I certainly don’t FEEL like anything’s wrong. What’s my ankle supposed to do when I squat? Stay still? I’ve been a 500+ raw squatter for a couple of years now and every week I put something north of 400 pounds on my back and rep it out. I’ve learned that when my squats FEEL good, I’m good.

Flip’s a 500+ squatter too, and at a very low BW to boot. We’re basically singing the same song here. You’re looking good, keep working at it. Work on improving mobility if that’s important to you, but I wouldn’t feel like it is an urgent necessity if I were in your position. Not one bit.


#16

that’s such a good point. I know a lot of lifters who have gotten caught up in doing a few things that feel terrible to them but they think it adds to their squat number, so they do it for long periods of time. And it catches up eventually. Reed is specifically who I’m thinking of. If I’m not mistaken, he got to an 800 squat, which is fucking incredible, but by the time he got there, he was felt broken and ready to quit lifting entirely. He’s completely revamped his squat, he squats with little to no pain now, and he’s well on his way to putting up even bigger numbers. Longevity is key. Don’t do things that will get you injured. If something feels terrible, it’s probably gonna get you hurt sooner or later. How something feels is far more important than how it looks. We all have to find our own proper leverages for each lift. No 2 world class lifters move exactly the same. So there’s no reason to directly emulate any other person’s squat.


#17

I remember when I was a few months into barbells and I was trying to figure out my squat. I asked a lot of people in the gym for advice, and everyone was able to find something they thought looked atrocious. So I’d try their suggestions, like trying to keep my shins perfectly vertical. Or looking straight up, because everyone knows you’re supposed to look up when you squat. Plates under the heels were suggested, which did not improve anything and felt like crap to me. Oh you gotta get chuck taylor shoes too, because they fucking read it somewhere online probably.

Eventually I decided to just wear the goddamn toe shoes that were comfortable* to me, put the bar low where it was comfortable* for me, use the thumbless grip that was comfortable* for me not worry about what my shins and ankles looked like. Throw in a good dose of consistency and a conscious effort to improve tightness and I was doing pretty good for an un-coached gym rat/hobby lifter.

That’s when my squat started to take off. If it feels good, you’re good. Oh, and it turns out that most of the people who gave me advice are really pretty shitty squatters. I just didn’t know enough at the time to sniff out their bullshit.

*comfortable in this sense means no acute pain during or while recovering from squats. There’s really nothing comfortable about squatting if you’re doing it right. That’s what I mean when I say “feels good”.


#18

@twojarslave @flipcollar thanks for the comments. I guess I have been reading too many articles lol. Injury is a concern for me probably because of all the stuff I read talking about if you dont do this or do that you’ll hurt your knees, back etc, so maybe I’m a little paranoid. I’m just glad to be back lifting. Once I started again I fell in love with it. Now I’m a junkie trying to see how far I can push myself.


#19

Dude I totally get it. That’s why I posted my first and only form check video, right here on the t-nation forums.

It was relieving to hear that I wasn’t fucking everything up, but I’ll also point out that I was offered good advice from accomplished lifters that, after giving it an honest try, just didn’t work well for me. That’s not a knock on them, but simply an illustration of flip’s point that no two world-class squatters squat alike. I’m more of a county-class squatter, but even among my local peers we all move differently with our squats. This is normal.

I’m sure someone could find something wrong with this recent set too, but you know what? I’ve been getting stronger and remaining both injury and pain-free squatting in this style for nearly 4 years now. This is what has worked for me, and I’ll never sacrifice joints that feel fine for a few more pounds on my squat. Others might, and that’s their business if they do.

Hell yeah man.


#20

Sorry, you don’t have the same thing.

You push out with your ankles, OP collapses his ankles.

Again, just lack of mobility on the op’s part. Nothing bad.