T Nation

Raw Powerlifting Squat Form Confusion


#1

A rather long post. I really need help on this guys, thanks a lot. Before I talk about my confusion over squat form, let me talk about my original form. In my original set up, I have my grip really close to get a tight upperback when low bar squatting. I flare my elbow all the way back to have the bar resting on my rear delt. I always look forward when I am squatting, not excessively up but forward.

I recently have a problem with my hips shooting up, turns my squat into a good morning hybrid. I think its a common issue, also I have weaker quads and I think sat back too much when squatting. So I was checking out this video by Chad Wesley Smith.

In this video he gave me 5 tips to work with my squat.

  1. After flaring my elbow back, I should force my elbow forward to lock the bar in place and create a tighter upper back. (Which I don't feel tighter at all and this force me into a more forward lean position, I felt uncomfortable)

  2. Breathe deep into my low back, squeeze my glute and keep my head neutral. (The first two tips is great, I felt so much tighter, but when I keep my head neutral I don't feel strong at all in the hole, I even fail at the bottom with a weight I can pretty easily do for 3 sets of 6.)

  3. Screw my feet to the ground when coming out of the hole (great advice, no problem with this)

  4. Instead of using hip drive, imagine pressing my trap into the bar..basically "trap" drive? (great advice, have no problem doing this)

  5. Treat my work weight like 135 and explode up.

These are my feelings about what he said in the video and my question is should I keep my head looking forward or neutral, Should my elbow flare back or tucked forward. Basically, should I listen to how my body feels or should I listen to what he said. As he is very knowledgeable, strong and powerful as fuck.

A lot of people seems to squat big weight with elbow tucked forward and head in neutral. At the same time I don't see a lot of powerlifters flaring their elbows back. Dan green used to pull conventional and when he switched to sumo, he lost some of his strength and couldn't pull as much weight. Thats when I got confusing, do I just need more time to raise the number again? Or is it just not for me? Thank you.

P.S. I practiced he's technique a lot of times before I post this thread as it doesn't really work. I don't think I did the technique wrong.


#2

This is a great video about the forward lean:


#3

[quote]terrysae wrote:

P.S. I practiced he’s technique a lot of times before I post this thread as it doesn’t really work. I don’t think I did the technique wrong.[/quote]
Generally speaking don’t do what doesn’t work. If your poundage drops and it isn’t a complete overhaul (switching from conventional to sumo, high bar close stance to low bar medium-wide) then it is probably shitty advice.

I think the whole neutral neck thing is a load of bullshit, your back follows your neck, and your whole body follows your eyes. Where your eyes are looking dictates where you go when you walk, drive, where you throw a ball, where you swing, all of that, and the squat isn’t any different. Look up when you squat, but not excessively high, about a 45 degree angle is good.


#4

In the first video, he gives some great advice. The problem is that you only remember parts of it. He said in the video that the “elbows forward” was only part of it. It’s a three step process:

  1. Bring the hands in tight
  2. Squeeze the elbows in toward the middle of your back
  3. With the hands in tight and squeezing the elbows force your elbows forward. They shouldn’t even move that much, you’re just engaging more muscle to create extra tightness.

This goes along with the part about anticipating the drive out of the hole. By the time you get to the bottom, you should already be driving upward; with the legs, with the hips, with the lower back, with the upper back, with everything

Keep your head relatively neutral, with the neck “packed”. By tilting your head back to look up, you’re not doing your best to keep your chest from caving. You can look slightly upward with your eyes, just don’t tilt your head back. Treat your neck as if it were part of your back and keep it locked down tight.


#5

[quote]JayPierce wrote:
In the first video, he gives some great advice. The problem is that you only remember parts of it. He said in the video that the “elbows forward” was only part of it. It’s a three step process:

  1. Bring the hands in tight
  2. Squeeze the elbows in toward the middle of your back
  3. With the hands in tight and squeezing the elbows force your elbows forward. They shouldn’t even move that much, you’re just engaging more muscle to create extra tightness.

This goes along with the part about anticipating the drive out of the hole. By the time you get to the bottom, you should already be driving upward; with the legs, with the hips, with the lower back, with the upper back, with everything

Keep your head relatively neutral, with the neck “packed”. By tilting your head back to look up, you’re not doing your best to keep your chest from caving. You can look slightly upward with your eyes, just don’t tilt your head back. Treat your neck as if it were part of your back and keep it locked down tight.[/quote]

Actually I did do exactly what you said, hands in tight, elbow back and keep upperback tight before forcing my elbow forward. So I am not missing anything from that. I also know how to bounce out of the hole pretty well, but by keeping my head neutral, I lose some of the tightness in my whole body that, I might collapse once I reach the bottom. I never tilt my head back, I just look forward, as my body is relatively upright when squatting, my head is just a tiny bit tilted backward. If neutral head position means at 0 degree, my head is at around 15-20 degree?


#6

[quote]Destrength wrote:

[quote]terrysae wrote:

P.S. I practiced he’s technique a lot of times before I post this thread as it doesn’t really work. I don’t think I did the technique wrong.[/quote]
Generally speaking don’t do what doesn’t work. If your poundage drops and it isn’t a complete overhaul (switching from conventional to sumo, high bar close stance to low bar medium-wide) then it is probably shitty advice.

I think the whole neutral neck thing is a load of bullshit, your back follows your neck, and your whole body follows your eyes. Where your eyes are looking dictates where you go when you walk, drive, where you throw a ball, where you swing, all of that, and the squat isn’t any different. Look up when you squat, but not excessively high, about a 45 degree angle is good.
[/quote]

I am stronger when I am doing my set up but I heard someone said before that when something works for me it doesn’t necessarily means better but I am just used to it. I am confused cuz Chad is so much stronger.


#7

[quote]tsantos wrote:
This is a great video about the forward lean:

https://youtu.be/2PlKlGx_8vo[/quote]

Thanks a lot for the video, though I’ve watched it before.


#8

Post a vid of yourself squatting, and let’s see what’s going on.


#9

[quote]JayPierce wrote:
Post a vid of yourself squatting, and let’s see what’s going on.[/quote]

This. Without seeing you squat it is almost impossible to advise you.

On the basis of your questions, it looks like you might be overthinking a little. For me, as long as I keep my whole torso rigid, keep my chest up and pull the bar down into my back I’m fine, because my torso angle stays pretty much the same throughout.

But, as above, video please.