T Nation

Squat Form Check


Hey guys. I'm just trying to get started here and apologize for the crappy video. This is a highbar squat and although the feet aren't visible, they are slightly wider than should width apart with the toes point slightly outwards. Any help is appreciated.


Not a form expert, but just a safety tip (it'll make more sense when you're doing larger weights where you're dead after a set) - walk right into the rack, don't try and touch one side down before the other. You have to lift the bar off the hooks to unrack it, so walking into it at regular height will guarantee you land on the hooks - but you won't risk missing them by lowering it one side at a time


These are definitely not the worst squats I've ever seen.

That is a link to Squat Rx. Great resource.

The bar looks to be too high, in my opinion. It shouldn't be pushing your head/neck down, if it is it is probably resting on your neck, not your traps, where it should be. I'd say that is your first, and most major, problem. Bar placement is covered in part 4 of the video, fyi. You'll see how he gets under it, pushes his shoulders back to form a "shelf" with his traps, and then pushes them up against the bar until he finds that spot that he mentions. It looks like you are attempting to find a good spot for the bar, but it looks uncomfortable and unnatural from the start, and it shouldn't.

After that, you can see in your video that everything from your chest up is leaning forward, before you even begin to actually squat. This has a LOT to do with bar placement. Obviously, when you go down, your upper body isn't going to stay completely upright, but that's kind of what you're aiming for. You want to keep the bar going up and down in a straight line as much as possible, and as you can see it kind of goes back and forth in your video.

Your depth isn't terrible, but it could use some work. Again, this will be a lot easier with better bar placement from the start. Going deep with the bar too high up is going to feel extremely uncomfortable, and it's obvious that it was for you.

Only other thing is that you are a little jerky. You don't want to sit in the hole or anything, but try to make it a smooth, fluid motion. That comes with practice.

Overall, I would say that the majority of your problems stem from the placement of the bar. I think that if you get that down, with some time and practice you'll have some pretty good squats. Watch that video, in its entirety, and apply it.


Well evidently, it's not just a link, it also posted the video lol. click on it tho and it'll take you to the youtube site, and you can get to the next parts of the video from there.


Thanks Capn. The whole walking the weight into the rack thing makes so much sense.. can't believe I never thought of it.

EEU743- I think you are exactly right about the bar being too high, as I'm not really supporting it with the shoulders at all. I've noticed the neck pressure more when using a bit more weight. Thanks again, I'm excited to hit this again with a few modifications.


Everything about your form is pretty good except for you grip\bar placement.

So first, don't squat while looking into a mirror.

When I teach people I teach them without the bar first like I was taught.
Get into stance, shoulder width with feet at a 30 degree angle, and squat all the way down -- as low as you can possibly go. Then put your elbows against your knees and then press your hands together while pushing your knees out. Your back you'll want flat at a 45 degree angle. This should happen pretty naturally but I'm just mentioning it so you aren't trying to lean forward or vertical. Your knees should be tracked over your feet. This is the perfect bottom position. If this is hard for you to do incorporate it into your stretching routine.

When you get up drive your hips up (think of the area right above your ass, just lifting it). Try this a few times just thinking about driving your hips down and up. Your depth will be determined by your hips. You look like you are doing an OK job of this in your video. Maybe a few times your were trying to initiate with your chest. You want your shoulders to come up with your hips but to have the move initiated with your hips if that makes sense.

Approach the bar and grip it with your thumb over the bar. You can do a thumb around later if you want but the thumb over will help in keeping your wrists straight and loading the weight of the bar on your back.
(The way you are squatting your wrists are in a very bad position. As soon as you start getting heavier it'll be very hard on your wrists to support the weight like that.)

Push yourself under the bar while holding tightly and set the bar right in the middle of your shoulders. This will be right under the bone at the top of your shoulder blades.
Push your elbows back and lift them. I find that doing this makes your entire upper body work correctly. It gets your back angle good and lifts your chest to the proper height.

Take a big breath and back the bar out of the rack 1 or 2 steps. (Going 3 or 4 like you are is a waste of energy.)
Pick a spot straight ahead or slightly down and STARE at it. This keeps your chin down and helps SO MUCH with hip drive. Since you're squatting in a dance studio I'd recommend just looking down so you aren't looking into the mirror. Try looking down and then looking up between some reps with an empty bar. You'll notice a big difference.

That's basically it. Just squat like you did without the bar making sure your knees track over your feet. The elbows back and up should keep your chest up and give you the proper back angle. Basically, the bar will be staying right over top of your foot the whole movement this way.


Oh, and I'd have your bar rack set a bit lower. It makes racking it back easier and makes it easier to get your elbows\everything else in a good position before unracking.


Uh, that's excessive. I'm no pro on squat form but his is pretty good. It definitely needs some small tweaks and adjustments, but he pretty much has it down

What is wrong with this?


I agree with the bar placement advice. It definitely looks a bit high. His depth however, is fine. What do you find wrong with that?



What is wrong with this? [/quote]

looking at the mirror distracts from the proprioceptive aspects of the lift. when doing the lift, the eyes should be focused on a place 10-15 feet out on the floor, or maybe on an object belt high. standing in the mirror negates this ability.

The reason the focal point is important is two-fold...1. keeps the neck in proper alignment, 2. aids in the proprioceptive aspect of the lift. This is all Ripptoe stuff. although it can be an ego booster to see the veins pop on your neck, the lifts won't be as good looking at the mirror.


I meant to write pretty good. ::face palm:: I'll edit my post.

The items I broke down in my post are very important to having a good squat form though. That bar position, grip\wrists and elbow position is really important.

The mirror can cause you to perceive your relation to things in a weird way inside the rack. You can lose concentration and easily introduce wobble. I don't know how you can focus in on a spot that's not moving while your bouncing in and out of the hole in front of a mirror.

His depth looks OK but the camera is at a weird angle.

Anyway, I think as soon as he gets the grip down and the elbows back with the bar in the proper spot he'll have a very nice looking squat.


I'm really impressed with all of the feedback here and the fact everyone responded so quickly. Thanks again guys. This was so much more useful than always asking for advice from the biggest guys I could find in my gym.


Squatting the way Rippetoe recommends is a very individual thing in my opinion. It should not be stated as FACT that you should look DOWN when you squat, never squat in front of a mirror, hold your elbows up, etc.etc...

This is NOT how most people squat: bodybuilding, powerlifting, or otherwise. A small percentage of (for some reason very arrogant) Rippetoe lovers squat this way, and they love to tell everyone to do the same, but take it with a grain of salt.

I would echo what EEU is saying in this thread. Looks good, but lower the bar to your traps, and check out squatrx.


Ok that sounds much better ha


Personally I don't agree with the "don't look at a mirror" comments. I have always squatted in front of a mirror (that's how my gym is set up) and it has never caused me any problems. It's a very basic movement with two feet planted firm on the ground. With a couple weeks of practice you shouldn't be wobbling at all whether in front of a mirror or not. Just my 2 cents


The video isn't even up now, or I can't see it any more, but if memory serves he wasn't really getting down in the hole, he was stopping short, a lot of which I think had to do with the fact that the movement was getting uncomfortable, due to bad bar placement, which led to the other things we already discussed. That's "fine," I guess. Maybe he was deep enough for like, a competition or something, but that's not what this is. This is about muscle bulding. A full range of motion on squats is a great tool that most people don't use. A lot of people are "squatting" a lot of weight, with very average, or worse, legs. My legs are certainly not enormous, they have some much room to grow, but they're still bigger than a LOT of the people's legs that post on this site, and most of the people I see in the gym, or guys I see in every day life. My training partner and I go deep, actually go deep, and my max is probably 3 plates, at most.

So yeah, it's "fine." But based on personal experience it is well worth it to go deep.

Also, OP: It is great that so many people are offering you advice, but take it with a grain of salt. Squat RX is a great tool. All this stuff about not looking in a mirror, proprioblah dee blah, etc..eh. I've never seen a guy with a good squat that purposefully avoided looking in a mirror, or who looked down when he squatted, or any of that crap. Watch squat RX, and go from there. You have to realize that literally anybody can come on here and give you advice, including guys whose squats are worse than yours.


Never mind, the video came back. The depth is pretty good, actually. I think that you could go deeper, easier, once you have better form from the start, that's all. Once it all comes together, I think it'll be good.

But honestly, the more I watch the video, the more I like this guy. It is clear that he's trying to do it right, and he's actually listening to the advice. Good job guy!


Thanks for the info on the wrist position, I have been having problems with that since my Squat went over 300. Will put to use.


I think it (looking slightly down) is something everyone should try though. It makes a difference in hip drive. I think looking straight ahead is OK too. Anything is better than looking up.


Why would you say looking up is bad? MANY people do this.