T Nation

Horrendous Squat Form


#1

Guys, I'd appreciate your help. I have never seen anyone squat as ugly as me. Please, look at my squats in the beginning of this competition video. I squat 180 kg with extreme forward lean - not effective or healthy. I think my quads are not strong enough and therefore the load transfers to stronger posterior muscles (I can DL 235 kg).

But I believe I have also mobility issues somewhere because I can't properly maintain upright position either with lighter weights...And I'm sure there are also some technical errors independent of lacking quad strength and stiffness. So, what should I do? Thank you very much for your help!


#2

Hey man. I’m no expert, but I have to say I think you are being WAY too hard on yourself. I expected to see a trainwreck, and instead I saw two very solid squats, one at 175 and a slightly uglier one at 180 haha. But you have to understand man, 180 is a max for you! Of course form gets a little bit ugly when you’re at a max lift. Just the fact that 175 looked significantly better tells me that it’s not your technique that’s a problem, but rather the weight is just fucking heavy haha and it is causing some form breakdown. Nothing out of the ordinary.

You DO have a lot of forward lean, but it’s not an absurd amount, lots of powerlifters squat with a similar style. However, if you are interested in fixing it… I think the major problem is how low your bar position is. It looks REALLY low, and that is always going to cause more lean in the torso. Your comments about the quads is spot on. IF you are serious about fixing the lean, I would raise your bar position an inch or so, so that it is higher on your back, and work on your quad strength and your core strength. The higher bar will let you keep your torso more upright, so you sit down a little more instead of back and lean forward so much, and the bigger/stronger quads and core will allow you to maintain that upright posture and push through without having to shoot your butt to engage your posterior chain and finish the lift. Front squats should be your best friend.

I totally understand wanting to fix the lean, I went through the exact same thing a year or so ago. You can definitely do it! but just don’t be so hard on yourself dude haha, your squat is FAR from the worst I’ve seen.


#3

[quote]N.K. wrote:
Hey man. I’m no expert, but I have to say I think you are being WAY too hard on yourself. I expected to see a trainwreck, and instead I saw two very solid squats, one at 175 and a slightly uglier one at 180 haha. But you have to understand man, 180 is a max for you! Of course form gets a little bit ugly when you’re at a max lift. Just the fact that 175 looked significantly better tells me that it’s not your technique that’s a problem, but rather the weight is just fucking heavy haha and it is causing some form breakdown. Nothing out of the ordinary.

You DO have a lot of forward lean, but it’s not an absurd amount, lots of powerlifters squat with a similar style. However, if you are interested in fixing it… I think the major problem is how low your bar position is. It looks REALLY low, and that is always going to cause more lean in the torso. Your comments about the quads is spot on. IF you are serious about fixing the lean, I would raise your bar position an inch or so, so that it is higher on your back, and work on your quad strength and your core strength. The higher bar will let you keep your torso more upright, so you sit down a little more instead of back and lean forward so much, and the bigger/stronger quads and core will allow you to maintain that upright posture and push through without having to shoot your butt to engage your posterior chain and finish the lift. Front squats should be your best friend.

I totally understand wanting to fix the lean, I went through the exact same thing a year or so ago. You can definitely do it! but just don’t be so hard on yourself dude haha, your squat is FAR from the worst I’ve seen. [/quote]

Im by no means an expert but I agree, its a max squat, they often don’t look pretty. I squat kind of a similar way, what has helped me is to keep my head up not the 45 degree down position that you have your head (although lots may argue that your head is in the proper position). Focus on keeping your chest up and moving at the same speed as your hips. In the last squat it is easy to see how fast your hips are raising compared to the rest of you and you get pinned forward. Ive also found that lots of Good Mornings can help so you can fight through it even if you find yourself getting pinned forward.


#4

Hey man, love your attitude, and you’re right about the quads as well, great assessment.

We can change your squat, and we can do it quick, i’m writing another article for T-Nation that deals with this problem, and how to re teach yourself how to squat, I should be submitting it monday.

Anyhew, here’s what’s going on:

1- you have long legs and a short torso

this sucks because the bar has to stay in line with the center of the foot or you’re going to miss the lift… unless it’s light. Because your legs are so long, and your torso is so short, you need to lean very far forward to keep the bar in the right place.

I’m sure this sounds frustrating and you already knew, but here is where we get to the fixes

2- Bigger heels

you’re wearing the lower level version of the adiddas with the .6 inch of a heel, as soon as possible get shoes with .75inch of a heel, or get heel lifts for your other shoes. I gave a friend of mine Do Win weightlifting shoes that have a 1 inch heel, maybe more, and his squat changed right away. The heels allow your knees to travel further forward, so you butt doesn’t go as far back, making it easier to line the bar up with the center of the foot.

3- No more low bar

I hear all the time about low bar powerlifting… it’s good for some, but not for you. Once again, a lower bar position is going to force you to bend over. Everyone says you squat more, cuz of the whole posterior chain, but keep in mind that advice is coming from geared lifters with knee wraps and suits that aid in knee extension out of the hole… because of this, quads aren’t a big deal in training today because all the articles say you don’t need them… and maybe that’s true for gear… I dunno, haven’t worn it in a while but for raw? no, you need quads big time, especially with how deep you squat. Low bar actually takes the quads out of the lift, and getting out of the hole below parallel is hard without strong quads.

4- ditch BS for 6 weeks and just FS

Google russian squat routine. When I rebuilt my squat I did the 6 week program and hit a nice PR, then went back to BS and my form dialed in. This will be extremely beneficial to you… I’m really serious here… I can already feel you getting antsy, so just remember, you want to UNLEARN your current form, you want your BS to feel unnatural, so when you go back to it you wont be tempted to go back to your old form.

5- when you go back to BS do not do reps

Nothing over 3 for the first few months, every rep counts and every rep has to be as perfect as you can make it. When you go for reps, form is going to break down and you’ll just teach yourself to squat the old way sooner or later. I hear how form is never going to be perfect… but none of those people are olympic weightlifters or the powerlifters I know. Start at 70% for 3’s of your old max, and work it up slow and if form ever breaks down lower the weight or stop. I’m sure you know all of this of course, but ti’s worth saying.

6- Don’t take my advice to heart

It’s gotta be your hand on the wheel man, unless you have a regular consistent coach, you’re on your own. When you’re a ronin like me, everyone has an opinion and is an expert… everyone. You have to be your own expert man.

I liked your squats, I think you’re going to look amazing when you get this figured out.


#5

Thanks a lot guys! You are very helpful. And your tips made sense!

Action plan:

  • Trying higher heels (I now remember how surprisingly different DoWins felt when I years ago tried them)
  • Bar higher (everyone agrees!)
  • Chest up and driving up shoulders first (not butt)
  • Lots of front squatting
  • Terminating sets before excessive leaning
  • Keeping low back and abs strong (if I after all have to at some degree good morning weights up, as almost everyone at some degree always have to do)

#6

You’ve got it man, straight on to a 500 squat!


#7

can i just echo what everyone else has said.

firstly - great squat, you can always fix things but really, great squat

secondly, as has been said by others in one way or another, stop looking to geared lifters for your technique, especially on the squat. many of the top lifters in raw feds are now realising that what works in a multiply suit that has a groove you have to teach yourself to get into, doesnt necessarily work for a raw lifter trying to achieve the same effect without a suit and knee wraps that cast your knees in stone.

personally ive recently been experimenting with some of what i see jay nera doing in the squat: he maintains such an upright torso and just explodes out of the hole with such ease that i had to give it a try. on that particular note, try pause reps and 1.5 reps on the front squat. ive been forced into them lately due to not having enough plates at my parents place and they kick arse for giving your quads a good blast without overloading the back

one more thing, even though this is my first post, when you do start back squatting again (great piece of advice) try descending a little bit slower some of the time, and get comfortable in the hole

keep on trucking man

p.s. that deadlift looked like a baby weight for you, nice


#8

[quote]sprogg wrote:
can i just echo what everyone else has said.

firstly - great squat, you can always fix things but really, great squat

secondly, as has been said by others in one way or another, stop looking to geared lifters for your technique, especially on the squat. many of the top lifters in raw feds are now realising that what works in a multiply suit that has a groove you have to teach yourself to get into, doesnt necessarily work for a raw lifter trying to achieve the same effect without a suit and knee wraps that cast your knees in stone.

personally ive recently been experimenting with some of what i see jay nera doing in the squat: he maintains such an upright torso and just explodes out of the hole with such ease that i had to give it a try. on that particular note, try pause reps and 1.5 reps on the front squat. ive been forced into them lately due to not having enough plates at my parents place and they kick arse for giving your quads a good blast without overloading the back

one more thing, even though this is my first post, when you do start back squatting again (great piece of advice) try descending a little bit slower some of the time, and get comfortable in the hole

keep on trucking man

p.s. that deadlift looked like a baby weight for you, nice[/quote]

What exactly are you referring to when you say “what you see Jay Nera doing on the squat”? I trained with Jay for years and we used to be good friends. Jays squat has nothing to do with the OP. Totally different body types. Jay has short legs and long torso, pushes his knees forward a ton, and goes low bar. He’s one of the only guys i’ve seen able to go lowbar and stay upright. He can also front squat 550.

The OP has super long legs and a short torso, so the exact opposite of Jay, does it make sense for him to do what Jay does? because currently, he is squatting like Jay with a low bar position, and that’s what he labels “horrendous” form.

The reason I’m getting into this is to be careful, I’ve never seen Jay preach low bar, he used to give me shit about it, and squatting wide. It wasn’t until I stopped training with him that I made the switch, too bad I didn’t get more out of him.