T Nation

My Squat Form Feels Off

I’ve had a strange experience my last two squatting sessions (I squat on Mondays). I’m the only guy in my gym that I’ve seen squat deep, so I don’t have anyone to ask.

Last Monday I did a 5x5 with 185. The week before that I did 5x5 for 175. There’s a mirror in front of the Power rack, so I get to watch my form as I squat. I usually drop down so that I can see my butt below my knees in the mirror. This is not easy to do while keeping your head pointed up!

The last two sessions, I had to force myself down just to make parallel, and the weight just felt way too heavy. I’ve played with my stance, and I do better with a narrow stance, but it still feels ‘off.’

I'm pretty sure somethign's off in my form, but I just can't figure out what it might be. I'm planning on dropping the weight down to 150, mebbe even 135 and try to build myself back up, but beyond that, I'm not sure what I need to do.

If it helps, the rest of my leg workout is a 4x5 of front squats after my back squats. I did 135 for that last Monday, and am gonna do 145 next week. I also do deas on Friday. I’m pulling 4x3 for 235.

This is kinda my first ‘problem’ in lifting, and I’m not sure how to approach it.

Check out this vid and see if it helps

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-6529481301858251744

First I would try opening your stance some, maybe a little past shoulder width. point your toes out maybe 15 degrees. For me at least this allows for more depth.

Second, I know it’s tempting to watch yourself, but you really shouldn’t. When I stoped watching my self, my form got better. I was THINKING about my form and what I should be doing instead of just watching what was happening.

You will be able to feel when your low enough. Even though you are trying to keep your head up, it’s not up far enough if you can watch your ass. It will also prevent distractions from random goons in the gym doing crazy stuff.

I think your on the right track with lowering your weight. If the weights to heavy, I think depth is the first to go.

I feel this is why so many people 1/4 squat. They feel they need to have a certain amount of weight on the bar to look good, then can’t handle the weight when they get lower and the mechanical advantage is gone.

Good Luck!

I’m gonna check that vid out next week (I got my kids this week, so I don’t have time to sit for 50 minutes)

I don’t hink it’s my stance. I usually stand about how you described, and I’ve played with wider an narower. Right around shoulder width seems best for me.

I just don’t get it. All my other lifts are doing great. I lifted today, and I’m gonna throw another 5 on my decline, standing press and cable rows, and 10 on my deadlift. I’m going up on my Monday lifts too. I just can’t figure this one out.

I guess I’m just gonna have to be patient, drop the weight, and see what happens when I go back up.

Do you do any stretching before you squat?

What’s your warm up routine?

I do real light stretching before squats. I do most of my stretching in Judo. I’ve always just used the first set at the warm up. I read here somewhere that if you’re working off a 5x5, the first set serves as the warm up.

I am in the EXACT same situation as you. Started off light, worked my way up to 225x8, and then i tried to add on 5lbs and my form goes to crap. Do you have a sticking point, like getting out of the hole, or halfway up? My problem is getting out of the hole at the full depth.

Hamstrings are more utilized in the lower portion of the squat, so more hamstring training is on my list. I will also be dropping the weight back down as well. Might even throw some partials in at my sticking points, similar to boards on bench pressing.

Go through Ian King’s “Limping” Series. Your form will improve, and your poundages will take off.

might just be the affect of adding heavyer and heavyer weights each week. heavyer you go the more your form breaks

Two words; box squats.

Even unweighed ones in my living room across a coffee table corner made huge and almost isntant improvements on my squat form. That, and lots, lots, lots, LOTS of stretching. Stretch when you’re bored. Stretch before you eat. Stretch in the shower with the hot water on your hamstrings.

I found that my squat form suffered from both improper descent - I didn’t ‘sit down’ into them enough, and bad flexibility. My back tucked in pretty early and destroyed my stability.