T Nation

Need a Form Critic


Hi everyone,

I have been training since 8 years but since 2 month, i'm training like a powerlifter(sheiko for now) I did a max day (squat, bench and deadlift) and i filmed myself and i would like your critic on my form. I saw some weakness already but i would like your opinions. If you have some trick to get it better at the same time, it could be very useful.
Here is the video


Major things I noticed:

Quit breaking with your knees first in the squat. Break at the hips and sit back. Also, your hips are rising too fast out of the hole.

Keep your ass on the bench while benching, and keep your wrists straighter.

Get your ass a bit lower when you set up for your deadlift. Your hips are already too high when you begin the movement, and they rise too quick. You're almost at a SLDL, you can get a lot more leg drive.

Watch the "So you think you can bench?" and "So you think you can squat?" videos on EFS. Dave Tate also has a very good deadlift video on youtube.


Thank you for the comment, it's very helpfull. I'll watch those video of EFS!


I have to say I was impressed with your depth on the 350 squat. Your form could definitely use some work, however. Try spreading your hands out some more on the bar. Your shoulders are getting too jacked up, causing you to lose some control of the bar on the way down.

Before the start of your eccentric phase(downward movement), brace your core as if you were going to take a punch. Then, control the weight down slowly. If you come down rapidly, it will cause you to crash at the bottom and can shear your knees over time. Always try to maintain proper lumbar extension, and hamstring tightness. Explode the weight skyward as you start the concentric phase, driving from your hips.


I don't usually comment on this type of thread anymore, but IMO relative to your squatting style you have gotten some bad advice.

You are basically doing a high bar squat. Your form for that style of squat is OK. I certainly wouldn't change the speed of your descent or try to sit back more because both things are going to lead to you leaning in more which is a big problem with your bar placement. You basically want to open up your knees and sit down.

The main thing I see is you need to focus much more on squeezing the shoulder blades together and pulling down on the bar so your lats are tight. This will help keep your chest up. Just sitting at your computer reading this, put your hands up like you are gripping the bar and then squeeze your shoulder blades together and force your lats down towards your hips and observe what happens to your chest. It should rise and if you can maintain this position it will basically lock your upper body into the most advantageous position.

If you have the shoulder and elbow flexibility to do it, a more narrow grip is typically going to help you accomplish this. If you are experiencing elbow or shoulder discomfort, move it out some. Otherwise, keep it where it is at or consider moving your grip in incrementally as the weight increases (start out wider and move it in as the weight progresses on your warm-ups up to your work weight. This will keep you from getting too beat up.

The 350 was close to a limit lift so I think overall, your form was pretty good. In a high bar, the battle is to stay as upright as possible because any forward lean is going to kill you as the weight progresses.

As soon as you come out of the hole your focus should be on driving the hips forward as hard and fast as possible. If you just try to stand up with the weight, you'll never make it through the transition on a limit lift. The focus has to be on popping the hips forward.


The problem is he shouldn't be doing high bar squats in the first place if his goal is absolute strength. High bar squats create unbalance in the skeletal system. The bar should be placed right under your scapular spine so that the weight is distributed over your mid-foot. If you keep your upper-body upright your knees are going to track out over your toes.


Different people have different leverages, weaknesses, and strengths. For some people, a high bar placement plays to these better than a low bar placement. Some of the strongest squatters on this board use high bar for competitions.

And high bar placement still has the weight centered over mid-foot hence why a high bar placement is more upright. And knees tracking over the toes more isn't necessarily a bad thing. I myself had to use a more moderate stance so I wouldn't sit back as far to take stress off my posterior hip and more power out of the hole. Again, it depends on the person and gear being used.

Unbalance in the skeletal system... care to elaborate..?


What I meant by unbalance in the skeletal system is when you use a high bar squat, you have to remain more upright in order to keep the bar centered over mid foot. This upright form makes it harder for hips to drop below parallel, due to hip impingement. Basically your femurs cannot get out of the way of your pelvis during the movement. Also, your vertebrae cannot align correctly and having a more upright posture when squating can cause pinching of your vertebral discs.

Check out Mark Rippetoe's book Starting Strength: Basic Barbell Training, Chapter 2. He lays out the mechanical disadvantages of the high-bar squat pretty thoroughly.


Your post is an great example of why a lot of good lifters have fled this site.

I could pick your reply apart but I won't because I am just tired of things like this.

How you can say that a more upright posture makes it harder for your hips to drop parallel is so far beyond me I can't even participate in this discussion.

You need to read less and train more.



People also may have fled because you're being a complete tool. I was just trying to give Big-Phil some helpful advice like he asked for. For some reason you feel the need to try and assert your authority over me like I have no idea what I'm talking about. I appreciate that I do not know everything, but if you were concerned about people staying at this site you probably wouldn't act like a jerk. Instead you could just disagree.

Now, if you have an upright posture, you cannot drop your hips below parallel without your heels coming up off the floor. Try it. Stand up, keep your back straight vertical, and try squatting deep. You can't do it. A good position for your back is at about a 45 degree angle from the floor when squatting.

Please do not re-post another comment unless you have something positive to say. Either way man, I'm done with this thread.


Funny story: I just did it. Rippetoe argues that Oly lifters should swap to low bar squats for training because it mimics the pull, not because of issues with depth.

Do you honestly think that a wide stance, low-bar squat can get anywhere near as deep as a closer, Olympic style, high bar squat? Powerlifters train for lights, they are given those lights for just breaking parallel, and as far as maximal strength, low bar squatting is the way to go.

But high bar squatting undeniably allows for more depth than a low bar squat any day of any week. Here's a video of Pat Mendes squatting 800 pounds totally unequipped, below parallel with an Olympic squat. You seriously need to reread Rippetoe if you believe that he thinks a low bar position is superior for depth.


From Page 18 of Starting Strength:

"Olympic weightlifters provide a perfect illustration of the safety and benefits of the full squat."


Sorry for hijacking the thread, back to the original topic:

I don't know enough about high bar squatting to comment. Just try to keep your chest up.

Keep your ass on the bench and try to get tighter through the whole lift.

In my opinion, your starting with your hips too high. Your lower back is hitching on the higher weights.
When you set up at the bar, swing your hips down, and get them stretched almost as if you wanted to use them as a spring to shoot your hips forward. You should start the lift with your chest a little bit more vertical, and try to pull the weight back, not up.

As you're bringing the weight up, just think "Chest up, chest up, chest up." Don't move so far in the other direction that you start doing a Hack squat, but try to keep your shoulders from falling forward too much and keep your chest proud.


"Coach"NickJ doesn't know his ass from his elbow...he tries to talk in absolutes, but just because it doesn't work for him doesn't mean it doesn't work for others...I squat high bar as shit, and I'm 6'5 290....so take that for what its worth...never been redlighted for depth lol...but since hes "done with this thread", which is the typcial bitch out move after having your asinine comments refuted, I'm not surprised....

My best tip for high bar squats though is to get fatter....dont underestimate the power of the bloat for a high bar squat...it will definitely help you get to parallel and be able to muscle out of the hole...


Typcial newb expert with 5 posts under his belt...


Hi coach Nick,

Squatting has always been hard for me and you seem like the right person to ask. I think the problem has been that my femurs have been in the way of my pelvis. Of course, taking my femurs off while squatting would be the best solution but I can't do this as I train for functional paleo strength. There's usually no time to remove your femurs when squatting a caribou carcass in the wild, know what I mean? Not to mention all the time it takes to put your femurs back on! And we both know that paleo populations never wasted time... So I was thinking that a good second best would be to just move my femurs in a few inches so that they're both right below my asshole. And if the femoral heads slip in who's complaining? Just means more stability! And a pretty fun time squatting, gnomesayin? :wink:

Thanks for your time, coach!


Absolutely not true. I squat high bar and never have trouble with staying upright while hitting depth. In fact, I've been criticized for going too deep by PLing standards.

And, Big Phil, missing that first DL and then coming back seconds later and getting it reinforces my belief that deadlifting is an incredibly mental lift.


I hope this is your last post on this board, let alone the thread. Stick to GAL and SAMA. You don't need to be helping anyone.


Would you like some french cries with your waaahhhhhh burger?


My advice would be not to lift those max weights until you improve form and can handle
the weight properly.

If you keep lifting like that on your max days your training like a plifter will
be short.

My lower back hurt watching your squat between 17 secs and 18 secs.

In your pull your back was right on the borderline between natural arch/rounding
the whole time and any little tweak similar to the tweak between 17 and 18 secs
would have rounded your back.

Any reason for not wearing a belt?