T Nation

Squat and Pendlay Row Form Check

Started weight training again 6 weeks ago (did 6 months last year then 1 yr off). Here are the stats:

37 yrs old, Male, 182 lbs ~20% bodyfat

Back Squat: 5x5 - 210 lbs
Deadlift: 1x5 - 245 lbs
Pendlay Rows: 5x5 - 135 lbs
Bench Press: 5x5 - 135 lbs
Over Head Press: 5x5 - 95 lbs

I am stalling on almost all of the above now - form is breaking and missed 5th rep of 5th set on BP and OHP.

Form check Squat - Last set of 5x5 - really struggling and shifting weight from quads to back a bit. Last rep sounds like I prolly crapped myself lol

Form check Pendlay Row - 4th set of 5x5 - struggling to touch the bar to abdomen without raising the body up a bit.

Also my BP and OHP sucks - bench is weakest - dont know what to do about it.

Hey mate.
I’m no expert but you looked a bit unstable on the squat, I find having the pad on the bar really throws balance off.
Also may be try a change of shoes/barefoot(something with a flat sole), running shoes aren’t the best to squat in.

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It’s great that you’ve put up a form check. Improving technique can add weight immediately and set you up for safe efficient future gains.

After day or night here on the forums you’ll have a lot of input to work with but there’s many resources excellent resources online such as YouTube videos.

Some observations on your squat to get the ball rolling:

Barpad/fuckboy tampon. When skinny women don’t use it (not being sexist just describing someone with little upper back mass/cushioning) you sure as hell don’t. If it hurts the bar is in the wrong position e.g too high and onto your neck or you are not effective creating a shelf with your traps.

If the bar position is wrong your balance is all thrown off and creating a stable tight shelf is cruicial to a good squat. Pretty much the tampon helps you none and probably is hurting our squat.

Upper back tightness. I can see you know what you should be trying to do but the bar pad really isn’t helping. Hard to lock in something squishy and broad. The reset thing you are doing where you breath in and shrug may look the part but certainly is not doing the job because your arms/elbows are wiggling all over the place just a few seconds later.

Descent into the hole looks a bit tentative as though you are trying to feel out depth or have difficulty in that range. Slowing down into and at the bottom is akin to a pause squat which is an entire different matter. You miss out on any kind of elastic rebound off the bottom. If you want to squat bigger weights that’s not the way to do it. You’re probably not opening up at your hips very well.


While little tips and tweaks from the members of this forum can help your squat probably needs more of a total overhaul than small changes. Bit hard to do post by post. If anything these forums will be an adjunct to full squat tutorial vids.

Remember there’s many types of squat. Take what works for you. Some vids will be for more advanced lifters so will skip the basics. Here’s some vids in no particular order.

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Take the bar tampon off.
Remove knee sleeves.
Set hooks at mid chest height so you don’t need to lift off with your toes when unracking.
Set safety bars at below parallel height.
Squat slowly and rest in the hole for at least 2 seconds to ensure full depth.
Remove weight if you need to. Form is more important at this stage, or any stage for that matter :thinking:

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Thank you every body for the comments.

I added the bar tampon at 200lbs . I think it gave me a psychological benefit that I have a lighter weight on my shoulders but maybe you are right, my bar positioning without it hurt a bit so will see if I am positioning it wrong. I am doing high bar squat - will get rid of the tampon next workout.

Knee sleeves are to keep the joint warm and torn about getting rid of em - I have a weaker right knee and if you notice I wobble it a little bit. I tore my ACL long time ago and dint do much about it for years - no running etc. I got a hamstring graft 3 yrs ago but I think psychologically, I still try to put less weight on it.

Squat depth - I try not to go below parallel too much to not put too much pressure on ACL graft.

I will reduce weight on squat to keep body tight and reduce the knee wobble. and will put vidoes of BP and OHP - they are very weak lifts for me.

Leave the sleeves on. Research Evidence is inconclusive on their effects on knee proprioception/kinesthesia and Anterior Cruciate Ligament Loading At worst they do nothing. They seem to make you feel better tho so go ahead.

Do not rest in the bottom/hole. A passive pause where you take tension of your muscles and relax down onto your calves is inappropriate for you. This position places increased stress of the passive structures of your knee e.g. ligaments.

An active pause can and should, if your ROM allows it (see below), be incorporated. This is when you maintain full active tension on your muscles pausing at parallel using this tension.

If you had done ACL surgery rehab properly: Knee ROM, muscle strength & endurance, knee, stability, proprioception and various exercises you’d probably be in a much better situation now.

I wrote a paragraph somewhere about range of motion or mobility deficits in one body segment being compensated for in other body segments (will post if I find) but the point is:

Make sure you have adequate knee ROM to squat comfortably else you risk injury to your knee or elsewhere e.g. you hips and back. Also worth considering is whether ROM is equal on your left and right knees. Imbalance between sides can lead to problems long term. If you find deficits or imbalances get right onto fixing them at the same time as improving your squat form.

Make sure your form does not place excessive ROM demands on the knee joint perhaps exceeding the ROM with possess. This will probably require you rebuild your form using them vids posted. You’ll still have your strength that you’ve built only now you’ll be able to express it more safely.

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