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Squat and Deadlift Form Check


Currently running a 5x5 L/P program for back squats, and 5/3/1 for deadlifts. This week I hit a new PR for squats of 115kg for 5x5, and a rep PR of 135kg x 7 for my deadlift. I was hoping one or two people might be able to provide me with a form check.

Squat first: this was my fifth set at 115 so form is breaking down a bit. I had videoed the fourth set but my phone refused to save it.


Video is sideways which kinda fucks with me but, in general everything looks decent. Decent hip break, toes tracked with feet but not insanely forward, look like you stayed on your heels fairly well. I can't see on the video but, if you're not already you need to rotate hips and knees out and keep them push out hard to keep them from caving. Only real negative thing I see is your upper back is either loose or weak. As you fatigue you begin to round over more and more. You need to pull those elbows down and under the bar really pull them into you flexing your lats hard to help you maintain an upright position. Lots of Front Squats and Barbell Rows to help strengthen the area.

Do not see a deadlift video.


Your intent is there. Meaning, you seem to understand the mechanics of the squat, but your body is trying to play catch up.

Your squat is shaky, and using knee wraps and a belt isn't gonna help. And in fairness, it is probably why your body hasn't had the chance to develop those key features.
You wibbly wobbly because most likely your "core" doesn't yet have the capability to be fully stable.
You're bouncing out of the pocket. Dangerous as fuck. It just shows you haven't yet developed strength throughout the ROM. Again, exacerbated with the support of the knee wraps and belt.

Your intent/knowledge looks to be there, so why not train without the belt and wraps. You'll get stronger the right way and reduce risk of injury when you start to go up in weight.

I don't see where he rounds his upper back??? If anything, his upper back tightness is one of his strengths in the video. What I do notice is that "good morning squat" towards the end.




And the deadlift, this is week 2 of cycle 7, on the 3+ set. The video will probably be sideways (is fine when I play it but seems to upload the wrong way).


Thats what I am talking about his chest is caving when he reverses out of the hole which is pushing him forward causing the good morning to be amplified. Next he is wearing knee sleeves not knee wraps huge difference. If I'm not mistaken those are strengthshop sleeves and one of there weaker pairs he may be getting 10lbs out of them maybe. The dropping into the hole fast like that is not dangerous at all if it is not bothering his knees. Look at any Oly lifter and many lighter plers many do it and it has nothing to do with his core being weak or wearing a belt..


Oh and training with supportive gear such as a belt will not increase his risk of injury really not sire where your getting some of this stuff. I usually agree with you but, you appear to be coming off way in left field on this. I train almost exclusively in a belt especially once over 75%. I compete in belt so I train on a belt. The sleeves are not wraps as stated a above and they are not altering anything .if any thing the heat and light compression is aiding in keeping the knee healthy.


That belt you are using is a poorly designed belt. Your best bet is to get one that is uniform in width, rather than one that tapers. The padding on it is also of no benefit. If you continue to use that belt, turn it around so that the fat part is on your abs, not your back. You want something for your abs to brace against.


Highly support this statement.


Im no expert, but try not to hyperextend at the top of your deadlift.



Hmm, I think I get what you are saying. But to my knowledge, his shoulders don't protract any noticeable amount, if at all. I feel the squat turned good morning is more of an instability in the hinge.


True. Olympic level lifters do bounce out of the pocket/hole, but I think there's a couple important things to note. Olympic lifters, or people who know how to perform oly's train that specific portion. Much like Andy Bolton would do rack pulls to train his lockout for DL's, oly lifters specifically train efficiently coming out of the pocket... OP isn't heinous with it, but it is definitely something to keep in mind. It's easy to lose tension in the stabilizers, namely the lumbar/sacrum spine, and obliques while down there.

And with a second look, it's not as bad as I originally thought.


Deadlift looks mostly pretty good. Some reps are hyperextended at the top, but you have the right idea.

It looks like there is some shakiness in your elbows during the rep. This is bad. It means a couple of things: 1) you are at increased risk of a biceps tear, and 2) you are not adequately pulling the slack out of the bar at the beginning of the lift and thus not utilizing hamstring tension to lift more.

For your set-up, I'd recommend setting up your grip and pulling the slack out of the bar after setting your foot position, but before getting into the start position. Then, with your arms taut, use your hamstrings to pull your hips down to the start position. As soon as you reach the start position, start lifting immediately. Waiting in the start position = losing hamstring tension.


Im learning too.

What do you mean by hamstring tension? What cues? How do I create this hamstring tension?



Deadlift set-up is largely about personal preference. It's the lift that has the most variation among quality lifters in terms of both pre-lift ritual and actual execution. Watch Dan Green, KK, and Bene Magnusson. These guys are all over the map in many respects regarding technique and approach.

What you want to look for is the qualities that DO overlap. One is that no good deadlifter spends a significant amount of time over the bar pre-lift. They all attack the lift very aggressively. And they all create a significant amount of tension throughout their body, particularly in their posterior chain, directly before initiating the pull.

Bird, this more or less amounts to a hard flex, which as we all know, can't be done for very long. It's easiest to flex your hamstrings hard if you start pulling against the bar first, but without actually trying to pull the bar off the ground. This is what pulling the slack out of the bar is all about. Instead of pulling the bar up, you pull your hips down. Hope this helps.


To contribute to the "losing hamstring tension" discussion, I find that rolling the bar back toward my shins is a good way to prevent spending too much time at the bar. It doesn't have to be exaggerated, rolling the bar several feet back (although that totally works), but even a simple 2-3" roll is enough to engage the hamstrings and aggressively start the pull. Prior to that point, I have my hands on the bar and feet where I want them, but hips are still way high.


Reed was right about your upper back being loose or weak. Keep your shoulders down and think of keeping your arms straight while pulling your elbows close to your ribcage. To understand how this feels, you can perform stiff-legged deadlifts (go light just to learn how it feels). While leaning forward during the lift, keep your arms straight and force the bar to stay near your body by pulling your elbows close to your ribcage. Remember to keep your chest and abs tight too. Regardless of whether or not you use a belt, you need to learn to do this.

Edit: This doesn't mean you need to squat the weight up. Your hip position looks fine.


Thanks all for the advice, there are a ton of useful tips there that I am going to put into practice.

I'm on a steep learning curve at the moment, and trying to coach the bad habits out of myself. This is the first time that I've ever stuck to a program consistently and the first time that I've ever had proper critique of my form, so there is a lot to work on. I squatted a new PR today of 125kg, working much harder on pulling the bar into me and pulling my elbows under the bar, which helped a lot. Today was the last session in a 12 week cycle during which my max has gone up by about 17.5kg. I'm switching to a front squat cycle next, and incorporating more upper back work, which should help prevent the 'rounding' problems I have been having.

With both squatting and deadlifting, I find that I delay the start of the lift a bit too long, so I will definitely work on getting fully set and psyched before approaching the weight, and in the case of the deadlift, before loading the hamstrings.

I've got a deadlift session tomorrow with hopefully a new PR in it, so I will put the advice into practice and see how it goes, and will post the outcome up here afterwards!


I would actually AVOID getting psyched up for a training lift. I find it does little to make me actually stronger, and instead simply allows me to get better at psyching myself up, which in turn adds another variable to factor into my training, and tends to result in me getting fatigued quicker. I find the only real appropriate time to get psyched up is competition, and otherwise try to keep myself calm in training. Something to consider.

Don't be "loose", but don't be amped. Simply be ready.


I've tried this several times, and it always messes with the feels. It worked for me once I think. I really want it to work for me though, it makes so much sense.


Yep. I tried what T3hPwnisher talks about here and it made my deadlift form a thousand times better.

I roll the bar and let my hamstrings tense into the position I want them to. Then, as soon as the bar reaches my shins, I just explode up. Made me feel so much more powerful with the deadlift.