Squat, Bench, Clean Form Advice

Hey guys,

Another form check thread, I’m mainly wondering how my bench and clean are as my squat feels fairly good. Working sets of squat are 4:12 to 5:52. Bench is 8:37 to 10:08 and Clean is 12:04 to 14:32.

Youtube have kindly muted my video, but the lifts are still there.

Cheers! Brendan

Instead of making a new thread, I’m just throwing a new link onto this thread!

I did my next squat, bench, clean workout monday. Here’s the link, any feedback is appreciated!

Your squat doesn’t look bad. Cut the depth a little to just below parallel until you can eliminate the buttwink. Squats to a box can help give you an idea of how the correct depth will feel. Also pull your elbows into your sides a bit more, like you’re doing a pulldown or pull up. Apart from that they look pretty ok to me.

With bench, I think I can see what you’re trying to do but it isn’t quite working. First, get rid of the towel. All that it’s doing is letting you slide off the bench better. Start chalking your shoulders, pretty much where you would for squats. Kick your feet way further up the bench: heels touching butt is ideal. Also push your hips much higher, and drive your shoulders and head hard down into the bench while pushing your chest up as high as you can. Once you’re in that position and you feel the pressure building up in your face, take your feet down and get them as close to your hips as possible. Heels up or down doesn’t matter; chances are you’ll get closer to your hips with heels up though. Push your heels down as hard as possible whichever option you take. You’ll feel a huge amount of tension everywhere. Hold this.

Now you’re ready to unrack the bar. Don’t push it out of the hooks so much as pull it out. Bring it out directly over your touch point (which is ok, btw) and pull it down. Touch, pause for a very short time and drive the bar straight up (not towards your head so much). Repeat.

Can’t help with the cleans I’m afraid because I haven’t got much of an idea how to do them myself.

Hard to tell if you could do with a bit more upper body tightness in the squat otherwise looks good (I like a deep squat)

Lower body in the bench is questionable IMO. Your feet are in a different spot each set up and that tells me your mind is not really thinking about your legs. So get them rock solid (best cue is imagine someone at any point is going to come and knock your legs, they should not be able to move them) - squeeze the glutes helped me a lot.

Generally, I believe everyone should come to a complete stop at the chest with the bench (unless you are explicitly doing a touch and go bench as a variant/supplemental lift. Yes, you’ll move less weight but in the long run it’s better)

Some of your reps got a bit lose when you touched your chest, no biggie, just be mindful of it.

Start your hips lower in the clean, try squat a bit lower in the catch position. That might sort out some of the feet placement issues in the catch (star jumps). And you have bumpers and a platform, may as well make use of them instead of trying to catch the bar on the way down…

Overall, good job so far.

Your squat is okay for now. Your top priority for improving it should be to learn deep breathing and how to brace. Learning to do that while under load will help you in the long run as opposed to putting weight onto the bar as quickly as possible. It should be a balance between adding weight and keeping the muscles under tension so that they are actually getting trained. If you aren’t sure whether that muscle group is loaded, it probably isn’t - so learn to develop the mind muscle connection with those muscle groups.

When arching for the bench, make sure to focus on arching the upper spine to get the upper erectors tight. If necessary, try some t-spine extension stretches where you arch while also flexing your upper erectors to warm them up. The upper back arch helps with getting everything else tight. It looks like you’re over tucking your elbows when benching - you really just need to externally rotate your elbows, not necessarily bringing the elbows right next to your side. There should be a balance between tucking and flaring your elbows so that you can get the lats, chest and delts involved. Try the ‘bend the bar into an upside down U’ cue to engage your lats while also flaring your elbows to get your side delts tight. This combined should help with stabilizing your elbows. You should be able to tuck and flare at the same time while keeping your elbows in-line with your wrists and the bar. This is something I’m currently working on so I might be wrong.

I haven’t trained much cleans, but it looks like you won’t get much out of them if you keep doing it that way. IMO, you would benefit more by ditching the cleans in place for front squats for now. The front squats don’t have to be very heavy but more for practice so that you learn to keep your hips close to the bar and learn to keep your hips engaged throughout the lift. If you watch strong oly lifters clean, they have a lot more forward knee travel underneath the bar so that they can get their hips close to the bar as they’re extending their hips. This allows the most efficient force transfer from the legs, hips and torso to the bar. Get a coach to help you or watch a ton of videos and technique tutorials if you want to keep the cleans. Another good idea would be to start off with hang snatches and check out Christian Thibaudeau’s coaching forum.

Do a lot of pullups/chins, wide grip rows, upright rows/snatch variations, and overhead pressing work. Building all of the muscle groups in the back will help with building technique.

Edit: I meant hang cleans and hang clean high pulls, not hang snatches. Hang snatch high pulls would also be a good option.