T Nation

Squat Form Check Please

Hello all,
I would really appreciate any tips or feedback on my squat form. This is 235 for 5, and the fifth set of my Monday squats on Madcow Intermediate.

Looks fine but perhaps your feet are pointing out a bit too much.

Also, have you experimented with a closer stance?

Things I noticed:
-Unrack-you need to take air into your belly and arch the weight out with your hips, instead you take some air into your chest arch then bring your legs forward and your lower back rounds.

-Your stance is fine if you want to leave it there, but your abductors are weak and you can see your knees trying to come in but you’re fighting that so that’s good, really focus on driving those knees out

-Before each rep, you need to take air into your stomach and clinch down to tighten everything up and keep it rigid, right now you’re taking air into your chest which wont help with any core stability. To get the right feel, try breathing with a tight belt, when your doing it right, you should be actively pushing against the belt, you’ll get to the point where you can do it without the belt. That feeling should be your goal before and during each rep. It might also be a good idea to experiment and see if you’re stronger with exhaling during the lift, waiting until the weight is locked out or not exhaling and just taking more air in.

-Stay more upright, you don’t get any points for bending further over with the bar and you’re hips staying in the same spot which is like the last bit of each one of your reps and becomes more pronounced toward the end of the set. (I’m willing to bet your lower back is stronger than your hamstrings and it takes over when your hamstrings fatigue)

-On the reverse, it looks like you lock out with your lower back, instead of driving your hips through with your glutes. Though it could be the video, but I’ve seen it quite a bit where when locking out the weight people don’t actively use their glutes and rely on their back to pull their hips forward (it’s hard to explain and I’m sure I didn’t do a good job of explaining it). But rewatch the video, when you get past you’re grinding point you kind of relax, exhale and phone in the lockout, which will work now but as you get heavier, might cause you to miss easy lifts.

Some very helpful comments, and some things I wouldn’t have noticed on my own, thanks to both of you. These are some practical things that will be easy to start working on right away.

I’m thinking that if I take the advice of staying more upright, it will also help me to tighten and activate my glutes more, and also easier to keep my knees out so they track better over my current foot/toe position (where I feel stronger after trying a few different positions). Am I correct in thinking that not bending over further with the bar will mean that, as I start to lower, I should be thinking of bringing my hips down more, rather than pushing my hips back (sitting back into the lift)?

I have found taking air into my abdomen harder to do lately than it used to be before I started trying to fix my technique (and I was actually trying to do that in the vid, including in the unrack). I used to be able to take enough air in that my stomach pushed into the top of my thighs at the bottom of the lift, making it easier; but lately it has been feeling like my midsection has to really tighten up while upright just to keep the weight steady in preparation for the descent. I really hadn’t noticed the lower back rounding on the unrack. Perhaps this is keeping me from really getting my diaphram involved. I have a weight belt on order; maybe putting it on and practicing pushing my gut into it while unracking, stepping back, then just re-racking would be a good way to rediscover taking air into my gut.

When I say stay more upright, I don’t mean extreme upright, for that to happen the bar would be higher and your knees will track forward more. You’ll be able to sit back more and stay more upright if you work on hamstring strength. You should break at the hip first, pushing them back and sit back, your upper body will follow along with the bending of your knees. Being raw, it wont be as exaggerated as if you were in gear. The main problem is when you get in the hole, you lower the bar more than your hips, b/c I think in your head it means you’re going deeper. But in reality your hips aren’t going lower but you’re increasing the amount of work you’re doing.

You might try to take a deep breath after you setup underneath the bar (but haven’t unracked the weight), then arch it out of the rack and walk it out. Once you have your stance, breath a little out but don’t lose tightness and take a deep breath into your stomach.

That makes sense, thanks. I’ve been doing goodmornings for reps once a week to help address the hamstrings, as well as the weekly deadlifts in my program. Your comment about my back strength picking up the slack for hamstrings and abductors also makes sense-- my deadlift numbers are a lot better than my squat numbers (did 345 for 5 reps last week, with a few reps left in the tank). Are there any other assistance exercises I might consider adding, or should I just keep focusing on form and getting stronger in squat overall?

[quote]grappling_hook wrote:
That makes sense, thanks. I’ve been doing goodmornings for reps once a week to help address the hamstrings, as well as the weekly deadlifts in my program. Your comment about my back strength picking up the slack for hamstrings and abductors also makes sense-- my deadlift numbers are a lot better than my squat numbers (did 345 for 5 reps last week, with a few reps left in the tank). Are there any other assistance exercises I might consider adding, or should I just keep focusing on form and getting stronger in squat overall?[/quote]

Aside from doing the adductor machine in the gym, try unilateral work to hit the adductors. Yours are too weak and while you can technically work them up with a wide stance squat/deadlift, you may also be a little too tight to get your knees out that far.
So work the technique (meaning squat variations with wider knee, not foot positions) in zerchers, front squat and box squats. Unilaterals like step ups, lunges, RLESS will work them pretty good too.
Of course, always work the hips hard, most of which involve the hamstrings too. RDLs, sumo/semi-sumo pulls and from a deficit, ghr, pull throughs, various stance good mornings.

Lastly, until you get the knee tracking better, I’d personally bring your stance in

Yeah idk, looks kind of goofy, have no idea why the feet are all pointed out like that. Makes no sense.