T Nation

Need Feedback On Squat & Deadlift Form



I decided to record my top set for squat and deadlift today because I feel like I need all the help I can get. I’ve been doing Starting Strength for roughly one month now.

Here’s my final top set for squats, 245x5. Lately I’ve been feeling lower back tightness but no pain after squats, and I have some major butt wink issues about one week ago. I’ve been doing lots of hip and lower mobility every day since then and I feel an improvement, but I’d like to see what everyone here has to say. Also, shown in the video I think I have some problems hitting depth, I’ve been trying to make my depth just below parallel without messing up my form because in the past I would try to go ass to grass and I think that contributed to my butt wink issues. Maybe I need to be more mobile to hit depth correctly, I don’t know. Maybe I have more problems I don’t know about. Please feel free to critique this as much as possible because I need it.

Next, the deadlifts. I’m pretty new to conventional deadlifts and this is the first time I’ve pulled 300 conventional (my high school strength coach made us do trap bar). I have never felt any lumbar pain or anything, similar to the squats, but a tightness in my spinal erectors (at least I think so). I’ve been trying to lift my chest first like Rippetoe said in his book, but in the video I think I see my lower back lifting first, and It seems to be rounding as well. Also on the first rep it looks like I was hitching (IDK I’m no expert) and on the second rep I lost a little bit of balance because I think my foot placement was off. Again, please give me advice for my deadlift.


Squat: If you want to squat deeper, you will need to flex more at the ankles. Your shins are pretty much parallel to the floor and most of your hinging is almost entirely at the hips. None of this is wrong, or bad, but if you want to get deeper, those knees will need to go forward which, again, will mean your ankles will need to flex more. If you’re having trouble getting deeper into this position, work on mobility in the ankles, hips, and possibly your thoracic spine-- every day.
I am a big advocate on learning how to overhead squat at least an empty bar ass-to-gras. If you can do that, you have the necessary ability to squat any other way you want with perfect form.

The only other way to get that bar to go lower is to further bend at the hips, which probably won’t put you at parallel, and will only exaggerate a good morning type squat.

Deadlift: There is a good video on Alan Thrall’s YouTube channel on the deadlift, if you have time look through his channel. I’m short on time or I would find it for you.

Best of luck. Overall, your lifts don’t look that bad!


Squat: It could be the lighting, but it looks like your arching your back. You want to focus on having a neutral spine. Take in your air, push your belly out in all directions (front, sides, and back), then drive your elbows down toward the floor and tighten your lats. You want to get tight without flaring your ribcage.

As far as depth goes, focus on spreading the floor with your feet and pushing your knees out. Doing wall squats (facing the wall) will help with depth too and force you to open up.

Deadlift: You’re shoulders are in front of the bar which is going to shift the weight onto your lower back. Use the bar to pull yourself down into position until your shoulders are directly over the bar. Activate your lats, get your air, pull yourself down into position, squeeze your glutes, then lift.


I tried a couple of mobility drills and some foam rolling for my calves and ankles last night and today as I was warming up. Foam rolling killed because I haven’t done it in months for the calves. I definitely felt a deeper range of motion, probably not perfect, but I think it got better by adding the ankle mobility to my routine.


I posted the video of today’s squats above, I think there is a little bit better lighting. Also I think there is some arching in the lower back maybe. I will try to keep in mind the spreading the floor cue next time I squat. I will also take your deadlift advice and try to apply it next session on video.


Thank you for the help guys


Nothing basically wrong.

You are now at the top end of your weights. Deadlifts were a little sloppy (notice the feet on the second pull) but nothing bad. The video mentioned above should be enough for you up in poundage.

Your last squat video showed that you reached your top end. Good push at the end.

What program are you doing and do you intend to compete?


Squats look really good in that second clip man. Keep at it!


I am doing Starting Strength. I intend to compete in the future once I get much stronger of course but yea competing is on my mind.


Then, start looking at the powerlifting forum and make it your home.

Lots of great people there that know their stuff.


Deadlifts today. Tried pulling my hips down until my ankles touched the bar before I pulled.


My lower back was pretty sore after this. I’m assuming that’s a bad thing? Anything I can do to prevent it or is it normal?


Just watched a Rippetoe video on youtube about how lowering the bar with lumbar flexion could be the reason for back pain. I think that may be my problem