High-Bar Squat Form Check, Question

Hi T-Nation. I’m learning high bar squat and I hope you guys can answer some of my questions… Also attached two videos, any input/criticism is appreciated.

Do I need to squeeze my should blades like low-bar squat? I’ve heard just let the bar rest on your trap when you high-bar squat, but isn’t tightening your upper back makes you more stable?

I feel stretched (or sore, can’t really describe, it’s uncomfortable but I can finish my squat no mater the rm) on my hip flexor when I squat low, is it normal? Mobility issue? Strength issue?

In second video, I accidentally did an atg at my last rep, because I was tied and lost control of my lower back. I’ve been trying to get a deeper and more upright form, could you tell me what can I do to improve it? maybe your keen eyes can spot my problem.

In the 1st video I was wearing minimal shoes (no heel) and had 5lbs plates under my heel; in the 2nd video I was wearing random crosstraining shoes and had 2.5lbs plates under my heel (felt very unstable).

Any input? I really wanna improve my form and weight. You guys are pro and some of you even train athletes, you must have something to say…

I am no pro in any way shape or form but I do have a pretty solid squat and I use oly form. First I would say YES to the question of upper back tightness. def keep blades pinched together, I think its more important for high bar than low bar, even though the bar is on the traps, you need the whole back to be solid as hell or your spine will feel the pressure

I would say either buy shoes with a heel in them (adidas powerlift shoes are very cheap for that) or squat in very flat shoes. Do not use cross trainers and i would not recommend ever using plates because it is just too risky since your knees and legs are doing most of the work rather than your back with high bar. If one of those plates slips your lifting is over.

Hip flexor soreness is not unusual. I have felt it many times, usually when getting used to lifting heavy again after a peroid of going light. It should go away once you get in the routine of it.

Last thing to mention, I would say that your last squat indicates how bad your shoes affected you. You should not be struggling with a weight, and then be able to full squat and pause at the bottom and get the weight up. Once you get a stable shoe, you will be able to push your strength limits, rather than your balance limitations. Oh and get a belt that is the same width all the way around, it really helps with intrabdominal pressure, which from my experience helps get some explosion out of the whole (no homo), which may help with your hip flexor issue.

Its fine.

I agree on the shoes, but I’ve seen plates under the feet be used successfully and safely. Except that last one, the squats all looked fine. If you are worried about depth, just keep trying to increase it little but little, week by week. And work on increasing your hip mobility. Try sitting in a squat for a few minutes, no weight. It can help.

Upper back tightness is very important. Lastly, if you want to squat more weight, squat more. Plus you will practice getting better at squatting and going deeper. It looks pretty good and it will get better.

Thanks for the input. Really helpful info from veterans…

I have noticed that weightlifting shoes are very very important if you want to squat seriously. I’m going to let my friend bring one pair of Do-win weightlifting shoes from China (Do-win is a good brand in china, they made shoes for Pendlay. It’s like $150 a pair in US while just $50 in China).

I know thick belts with same width are better. Picked a walmart belt for saving some money. Once I can squat 300 for sets I will invest a better belt.

Once you do decide on getting a belt I suggest buying a Toro power Belt, they are really thick and stable, but not stupid expensive. Your form does look great by the way and I am sure you will be dominating 300lbs in no time. Soon you’ll be warming up with 315