T Nation

Squat Form Advice


#1

I am new to power lifting but not to lifting weights. Been in the gym for years but never with a real sense of purpose. Decided that I would start the long journey and just wanted any solid advice on my form. I am using 220 lbs in the video and my max is around 265 lbs. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bRunbQyJ8_g


#2

Is it just me or is there no vid added to your post?


#3

Maybe now?


#4

This might turn into a “how do I post my video thread?”


#5

Its a private video, you need to go to Youtube and open the video while signed in to Youtube. Select the ‘edit’ option and then find the drop down for whether the video is private or public and select ‘public’. Then save the changes.


#6

I believe its right now, I appreciate the help.


#7

Yep, all good.

It doesn’t look too bad. I especially like how you set up, very deliberate. You do look a tad loose though - you’ll probably find if you take big air at the top and squeeze down on it throughout the movement you’ll be able to move a fair bit more weight. To do this you need to breathe with your diaphragm. A belt is also a good idea.

Also, to keep tighter try slowing your descent. For me the best way to think about it was to pull myself back and down into the hole rather than dropping into it. Also, another useful cue is to spread the floor and push your knees out - the pressure should be not just on your heels but the whole outside of your feet. IMO this is relevant to wide OR narrow squatters, but if you squat wide you absolutely must do it.

You might also want to go a tiny bit deeper just to be safe - or if you’re competing in the IPF, a ton deeper.


#8

I have been trying to work on intra-abdominal bracing recently . I feel like I can get a good breath in my belly if i’m standing without weight but when the bars on my back I struggle with it. Would a belt help me learn how to brace better? Seems to be a stigma over belts and using them too soon or too often. I would almost feel silly strapping on a belt for a squat under 300 lbs.


#9

[quote]whiskeybeard74 wrote:
I have been trying to work on intra-abdominal bracing recently . I feel like I can get a good breath in my belly if i’m standing without weight but when the bars on my back I struggle with it. Would a belt help me learn how to brace better? Seems to be a stigma over belts and using them too soon or too often. I would almost feel silly strapping on a belt for a squat under 300 lbs. [/quote]

If you’re going to compete, get a belt and learn how to use it. IMO it doesn’t really help you learn how to brace better - it just increases the intra-abdominal pressure which does help.

It sounds like you might not be breathing with your diaphragm too well, because if a weight on your shoulders stops you getting big air I suspect you breathe raising your shoulders. Try placing your hand flat on your stomach below your sternum. As you inhale, push your hand out. Your shoulders should not move at all.

As far as I’m aware in powerlifting and among strong people there is no stigma about belt use. I started out only using a belt above 85% of my max, which at the time was around 300 lbs. I now put on a belt when I decide I should, which could be on my last warm-up, or my first work set, or my last work set. It all depends. On average, I probably still stick around the 85% rule because that’s what works for me. You may find differently, but I’d suggest starting with something like final warm up set, belt goes on, if you’re using over 85% of your max for work sets.

There’s nothing to feel silly about. A belt is a tool, arguably one of the most important and useful tools in powerlifting, and to learn to use it properly you need to use it.

I’d also highly recommend either a lever or single prong. Inzer make nice ones, as to Titan and EliteFTS as far as I’m aware. I recently bought a Harris Stability Systems belt which I’m very pleased with, but that’s an Ausse company so cheap for me but if you’re Stateside maybe not so much. I’d certainly recommend getting a good one, and probably a 13 mm one since you’ll want one eventually.

Also consider knee wraps if the federation you’ll compete in allows them (they take a while to learn too), and definitely invest in knee sleeves if only for comfort.


#10

Thanks for sharing your knowledge. I will make the belt investment soon and start putting it to practice. Im in a more commercial gym at the moment so not alot of power lifting minded people there to learn from. Thanks again.


#11

[quote]whiskeybeard74 wrote:
I have been trying to work on intra-abdominal bracing recently . I feel like I can get a good breath in my belly if i’m standing without weight but when the bars on my back I struggle with it. Would a belt help me learn how to brace better? Seems to be a stigma over belts and using them too soon or too often. I would almost feel silly strapping on a belt for a squat under 300 lbs. [/quote]

I have squat 650 raw w/wraps in a meet about 4 months ago… I put my belt on about 75-80% tightness at 225 and increase it tighter as I get close to 405. By the time I am at 455 it is as tight as it would be for any max effort single. A belt will not make you have a weak core it has actually shown the opposite with core recruitment in some recent studies. It is a tool that will keep you safer and stronger in the long run. At least in my opinion… but my opinion is just that… mine.

As for the squat doesnt look to bad at all you def could be tighter which a belt would def help with and you need to open up your hips and screw the floor a lot harder.


#12

[quote]whiskeybeard74 wrote:
I have been trying to work on intra-abdominal bracing recently . I feel like I can get a good breath in my belly if i’m standing without weight but when the bars on my back I struggle with it. Would a belt help me learn how to brace better? Seems to be a stigma over belts and using them too soon or too often. I would almost feel silly strapping on a belt for a squat under 300 lbs. [/quote]
I find a belt to work as “biofeedback” - it lets me know when my core is tight. I use it for bench as well for that reason, even though it doesn’t directly help my bench.


#13

[quote]Reed wrote:

[quote]whiskeybeard74 wrote:
I have been trying to work on intra-abdominal bracing recently . I feel like I can get a good breath in my belly if i’m standing without weight but when the bars on my back I struggle with it. Would a belt help me learn how to brace better? Seems to be a stigma over belts and using them too soon or too often. I would almost feel silly strapping on a belt for a squat under 300 lbs. [/quote]

I have squat 650 raw w/wraps in a meet about 4 months ago… I put my belt on about 75-80% tightness at 225 and increase it tighter as I get close to 405. By the time I am at 455 it is as tight as it would be for any max effort single. A belt will not make you have a weak core it has actually shown the opposite with core recruitment in some recent studies. It is a tool that will keep you safer and stronger in the long run. At least in my opinion… but my opinion is just that… mine.

As for the squat doesnt look to bad at all you def could be tighter which a belt would def help with and you need to open up your hips and screw the floor a lot harder. [/quote]

I have actually found that doing a lot of submaximal beltless training has improved my core strength, and when I put the belt on I’m even tighter. I wouldn’t go for max effort beltless squats or deadlifts though. On the other hand, some coaches (like Sheiko) say to use a belt from 135 and up. I think in the end it mostly comes down to individual differences like Reed said, just don’t use a belt to replace your own abdominal tightness.


#14

When trying to screw my feet into the floor is that a cue to get some tension though out my hips and legs? I think the 85% rule sounds like a good place to start but i’m sure it will vary like y’all said, different for everyone. I’ll probably go with a single prong 13 mm belt soon as I have some extra funds. Around $100 seems to be the average amount.


#15

I like doing both beltless and belted squat work. It’s almost like switching between doing pause and straight reps. It feels like my abs work harder when doing the variation I haven’t done in awhile so I can’t say for sure which works the abs harder. Seems like it probably doesn’t matter too much if you know how to brace properly. It’s something you can experiment with.


#16

[quote]whiskeybeard74 wrote:
Thanks for sharing your knowledge. I will make the belt investment soon and start putting it to practice. Im in a more commercial gym at the moment so not alot of power lifting minded people there to learn from. Thanks again.[/quote]

You’re welcome. This is a good place to get feedback and help. Tons of lifters way stronger and wiser than I on here.