T Nation

Squat Form Check Please

Well, it happened again, threw a wrench into my back. I’m not sure what’s going on because I completed a 70min workout of squatting (2RM squat ramp ss w/ 20 pullups in earlier sets, 2R squat EMOM, 3x5 high bar, 3x10 hip thrust) and I felt completely solid the whole time. It felt like a good workout, then I bent over to dry my feet after showering and something in my back just popped exactly like it did a week ago when squatting (which was with a light warmup weight that time, not straining at all).

So, maybe it’s my squat form, so here it is. This is somewhere 85-90% 1RM, the second last set of my 2RM ramp.

My thoughts:
-Not sure what my hips are doing the second rep, if that’s bad. It looks to me like my glutes/abs aren’t engaged enough at the bottom of the rep and then halfway up they engage. It might be me trying to avoid low back rounding too much?
-Not sure if my arms are back far enough. Low bar kills my wrists, so might have to work on upper girdle flexibility or just suck it up

It could be my deadlift that started this whole problem. I would like to put up a video of that too but given that I have hurt my back twice in a week I think I will be taking it easy on squatting/deadlifting for a couple weeks. If my form is good altogether (…IF) then I suppose I did something to my back at work.

This sucks though, I’ve been making great progress and want to keep working hard. If it’s a form thing I have no problem dropping the weight down and getting it right. I need to keep lifting but this back shit can’t keep happening because it puts me out for 2 days.

I don’t see anything glaring wrong with your squat. You are performing a tempo squat, which does add stress. Couple that with a higher % of 1RM, and the fact that you were already potentially injured…your back gave.

Get healed up. Post the DL vid so we can see if anything is going on there.

You said you were making very good progress. Sometimes it’s a good idea to cash in those gains and deload. Otherwise, you cross the threshold and get injured.

I know from experience, Haha.

Thanks for checking it out,

I guess tempo squat is my normal way? I don’t like to crash down in order to prevent my form from degrading on the way down leading to improper movement pattern on the way up–especially with higher weights like this. I do feel like they are really slow though which I noticed doing my EMOM sets. After unracking, squatting, and racking again I barely had any time to rest haha.

Should the speed of my descent be something I look into?

It’s not an error. BUT, you probably will be able to get more lbs out of a quicker decent and rebound out of the hole. If those extra lbs are not important to you, then no big deal.

If you’ve peaked your gains, and are not deloading, and continue to push, you may be setting yourself up for injuries. Take a look at several tell-tell factors…energy level, mood, persistent aches/pains, etc.

Keep up the good work!

I’ll just throw it out there with the qualification that I am no expert, possibly clueless. I’d descend faster as mentioned above to get some benefit from the stretch reflex. Don’t bomb it down, but you can speed it up. It will also help you get lower.

I would also consider getting your chest more horizontal - nipples pointed more at the floor and drive more with the hips on the ascent.

I’m probably wrong, but that’s my take on it.

With respect to the back, I’m just getting over lower back issues caused by dead lifting that also hurt at the bottom of the squat. I let it heal for a while, did rows, hypers, and good mornings, and then came back sumo and I feel pretty good.

Good luck.

Leaning forward and ass back further felt good when I used flat shoes, but a week ago I started using my heeled shoes again and I felt like leaning forward might be what caused my lower back to go. Again, I’m not sure, but in the video I feel the squat almost entirely in my quads whereas if I lean forward with heeled shoes the lower back gets worked immediately. In flat shoes I feel I can use my glutes better.

I’m honestly not sure what my weaker muscle is in the squat right now. If I feel my quads give out first is that because they’re weakest or because I am using them more? Is my lower back getting beat up because it’s a weak point or because it’s a strong point that I rely on too much? Sort of feels like the same symptom has two opposite possible causes.

For what it’s worth although I can’t show it now I can describe my deadlift feeling difficult to keep the back straight at the setup/the first few inches off the floor, but I need to see a video of myself before I know. I only have one of a 1RM attempt from a year ago and I’m not sure my form is the same. Alternatively I have trained conventional for years, and decided to try sumo on a whim and at the end of the first workout with it I matched my conventional numbers. Maybe that says something about my levers.

edit: here’s the video of about ~95% 1RM from a year ago… we’ll start with that and I’ll take another one in a week or two once I feel good enough to deadlift. It’s not the greatest angle either. This was after 2 months of RSS where I deadlifted 3 times a week but it was my first time using mixed grip. I might have had greater hip flexor/overall hip mobility back then.

Hi there,
I may not be an expert but as far as your squat is concerned I think you should control your lordosis. What I mean is that even if it is a low bar squat you shouldn’t have lumbar hyperlordosis. I had the same problem with my squat and I always felt tight back after doing a few sets of high bar squats. Look at your lumbar spine while in the bottom position. That’s my opinion but I may be wrong. In my case the problem was tightness of my ankles but still I was doing the high bar ones. I wouldn’t be concenred with the speed of your squat. I think the more you control the squat the better and the safer you are. Improper bouncing at the bottom can hurt you back, knees and evertyhing. :wink:

That DL vid is not a big help, need one from the side. Plus it’s not current.

I believe you’re overthinking things. Your squat form is fine. I prefer more of a traditional low bar style, but to each their own.

One thing that may benefit you is to make sure you’re breathing and bracing properly. An often overlooked protector of your back is the front core.

Also, AGAIN, look into fatigue debt. You may be setting yourself up for injury and don’t even realize it.

Very solid advice here.

Ya I’ll be taking it easy. Next two or three squat workouts are going to have significantly less volume. Most people are seeing what I also agree with: lack of abdominal support which I’ll work on. My physiotherapist has remarked about my pelvis being tight which I’ve been working on. Throw in some extra calf stretching and I think I should be protected.