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Squat and Bench Form Check


I've been doing starting strength for a couple weeks and here are a couple videos of my squat and bench today. When I started SS my max squat and bench were 240 and 205 respectively at a bw of 150.

On the bench I make sure I have a slight arch in the lower back, I pull the scapula back towards each other and drive my heels though the floor. And the bard touches below my pecs, right at xiphoid process kinda.

On the squat, I saw in the video that in the bottom my lower back starts to round is this a matter of not good enough flexibility?






both look good to me.

I won't comment much on the bench because I suck at benching. But looks like you could get a little more arch in there. Other than that, looks fine.

Personally, I think your squats look great. Your feet are a little wider than I normally like, but your flexibility is really good and you are getting some serious depth, which is great. Only thing: don't pause in the bottom. That's a mental thing, as you get tired you split the squat into "up" and then "down" haha. Work on smoothing the transition, going downnnnnn and then at the last second catching a tiny bounce out of the bottom and shooting up. No pause. Other than that, they look great. Keep at it.


Actually I do that so I can take the stretch reflex out and really have to drive to get out of the hole.

And sorry about posting the videos again, I can't tell if they show up on my iPad


are you squatting for fitness or to compete in powerlifting? if you are planning on competing, you can drop the bar a little lower on your back and squat a bit higher. It will be easier and you can get a lot more weight up. if you are squatting for a sport or yourself, it looks great


The one thing I might suggest if you want to continue squatting high bar is to bring your stance in a little bit and focus on pushing out your knees. Seems as though your knees aren't tracking over your toes, which isn't just inefficient from a strength perspective, but is a quick way to injure yourself.


Well, I'm thinking of competing once I get a little strong haha, I would like to eventually but my main focus is just getting big and strong. So for now should I focus on one over the other? Although I love going atg, I understand that to compete and put up maximal weight I need to do a low bar, parallel squat.


Anyone else?

I've also noticed some lower back pain after this workout. Although I experience some after benching, could it also be from the squatting?


Your lower back rounding is most likely what causes lower back pain. I dont think its a matter of flexibilty, but compromising form to get good depth. I doesn't matter much if you choose high- or low bar squat now, as long as you get good at one and keep progressing.


I'm not sure that it's a question of one or another; if you have a strong ATG squat, I'd continue training it and alternating with some parallel, powerlifting-style squats every now and then. A strong ATG squat and well-engrained powerlifting squat technique should also give you a good to-parallel squat. That said, play around each week with stances and bar placement and find your strongest variation. There are some really strong powerlifters out there who don't squat using what I'd consider a typical powerlifting squat technique.


So is it even possible to go that deep, while keeping the lumbar spine neutral? Not rounding?


I think it's possible, although in order to do so, I think most people must take the "ass-to-grass" tag less literally. I find there's a big difference in lumbar rounding in the last 3-4 cm of a deep squat, so if you can't do anything to fix this, don't go down into those last couple of centimetres.


Man, nice ATG wide stance squats. That blew my mind.


I was watching some oly squats on youtube, and I'm gonna bring my stance in to about shoulder width I think and only go down to about we're my thighs touch above my calves instead of my ass, I think that will help keep my back neutral, what do you guys think?

And anyone have any input about my bench?


Paused squats are great, but I would suggest using them as a supplementary lift, not as your primary squat. For example, do some regular squats, and then do your paused squats afterwards.


After the work sets, back down the weight a bit then do pause squats?


You have to back down the weight if you're doing paused squats, especially with longer (5-7 seconds) pauses. Paused squats are great for learning how to keep proper tightness, and how to position yourself in the hole to be as strong as possible.

However, you're doing starting strenght and squatting 3 times a week. I would be careful with adding more volume than the original program. You will certainly get stronger without doing any paused squats, but if you have to do it, keep it to a minimum so it doesn't mess with your recovery.


Of course. I wouldn't add them in now. I would add them after SS


Also, anyone gave any input on my bench form?