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Squat Form Check


Hey yall, I need a second opinion on mysquat form. I'm going for a high bar Olympic style squat. The problem is I don't know if my form is correct. I feel like my hams and glutes don't nearly activate the way they should be, such as when I warm up with goblet squats. Also when I'm driving out of the whole I try as much as possible to activate my glutes, however it feels like most of the tension is on my lower back. I also feel the weight shifting forward even when I'm trying to keep the weight on the balls of my feet. Any feedback would be appreciated! Thanks for looking!


Your knees are coming too far forward, causing most of the stress to be placed on your quads. Try to sit back - stick your ass out. Weight should be kept even through the foot/toward the heel. If it goes on the ball, you are going to be tilting forward and using your quads.

You can try this out with bodyweight split squats. Do a couple with the weight on the ball of the front foot. Then do a couple with the weight on the heel. Note how your knee moves, and where you feel the strain. #1 will be knee rolling forward, strain in the quad. #2 will be knee staying above ankle, strain in glute.


Hey talldude, thanks for your quick response. I have tried sitting back with my ass out but have been told before that this is incorrect for high bar oly style squatting. Isn't sitting back for wide stance/low bar squatting?

Also I have been looking over the squatrx videos and in video number 21 (i think) the guy instructs the viewer to sit down and not back during an oly style squat.

I'm not sure what to think though. What experiences do you have squatting? Also when i sit back and try ATG squats my hips hurt tremendously.


That's correct. Sitting back on a low-bar wide-stance squat activates the glutes and hams more, letting you move more weight. On high-bar oly squats, you keep the torso more upright and let the knees drift farther forward. It focuses on the quads more, which is beneficial for the oly lifts.

Your stance looks good, your knees are staying out, and your back is staying neutral. All in all, your form looks great. Minor tweaks could add some weight to the bar, but one-on-one coaching would be best for that.

Two things I can tell you that might help:
1. Keep the weight toward your heels. You're falling forward because you're letting the weight get out front, and there's no way to recover from it. If the weight is toward your heels and you start to fall back, recovering and completing the lift is a piece of cake.

  1. Drop quickly and fire before you get to the bottom. You'll get the most acceleration out of the hole, and it'll be easier on the ligaments of the knee.


He specifically said he's going for a high bar olympic style squat. The stress SHOULD be on the quads and glutes largely. It's not bad to do them like this, as long as your feet are staying flat on the ground, you keep a strong arch in the back, and squat nice and deep. OP is doing a good job of all of these, honestly I'm pleasantly surprised at his form.

OP, as far as your lower back hurting, it's most likely just a weak link. Try hitting some good mornings, romanian deadlifts, glute-ham raises, all that type of stuff. You're doing well, keep it up. And keep videoing yourself so you can ensure good form.


Thanks for correcting me guys - sorry for the hurried post.

He said he can't feel/use his glutes for the lift. Most likely just keeping the weight on the heels will help with this to a large degree.

Something that you could try is doing a few relatively heavy deadlifts before doing your squat workout. This will activate your posterior chain and low back.

And low back is a weak link for every noobie on the planet - keep working on strengthening it.


talldude, I think we can chalk up both the lack of glute activation and the overuse of the lower back to him being a newish trainee. Probably safe to say that if he's got a well-rounded program, and just keeps plugging away, it'll sort itself out like most of these issues do, for people with common sense.


Thanks again for all the responses. The reason why I posted up the video was because a couple years back I hurt my lower back due to squatting, so I guess I'm kinda paranoid as to how my form should be. One thing I'd like to ask is, "do my hips open up enough"? Every time I watch Oly lifters squat it looks like their hips open up big time. Also are there any tips on how to keep the weight on the heels? Whenever I go a little heavier than usual, I lean forward as I go down. I also noticed that sometimes when I squat my feet tend to point forwards and once I start to descend my feet shift outwards. Is this safe?


Your feet should be pointing a little out. Take a second look at the last video you posted. Notice where his feet are? It's perfectly normal for your feel to point outward some.

Another thing to keep in mind is that these guys are wearing oly shoes where as you are squatting barefoot.

I would recommend stretching your hip flexors and foam rolling regularly. It will help your mobility and make the squatting movement feel more natural.


I try to stretch out my hip flexors twice a day, I've strained it in the past using a high bar narrow stance squat going ATG while trying to sit back (BIG MISTAKE). As far as foam rolling I'll look into that. About the feet, I was a little more concerned about the shifting of my while I descend. Is it dangerous? Do the shoes help that much more? I know Olympic shoes have an elevated heel. I own a pair of flat chuck taylor's, would those help or would there be no difference than squatting barefoot?


This should be part of your goblet squat practice. As Dan John likes to say "big chest, buddha belly". Hold the bottom position. Let your hips open up and your belly drop down as you exhale, and make your chest as big as possible as you inhale.

I use my heels like gauges to make sure I'm keeping equal pressure on both legs, so whenever I shift forward, I really notice. Technique-wise, I got nothing. Just keep the weight on your heels.

Start in that outward position. If that's your body's groove, follow it. If you're actually performing the oly lifts, this actually helps to keep the knees out of the bar's path, so you'll see a lot of lifters squatting duck-footed.


The "strain" was most likely an impingement issue. Rippetoe explains it pretty well here: http://startingstrength.com/articles/active_hip_2_rippetoe.pdf

Duck foot, and push the knees out. If you look at video of top olympic lifters, you'll notice this is a common theme at the bottom of the squat portion of the lift.


Hip flexors really don't play much of a role. It's the extensors you want to pay attention to (glutes and hams). And don't neglect stretching the hams with the knee bent.

Work on ankle flexibility and mobility as well. If your ankle won't bend far enough, you'll automatically compensate with your lower back.

I would think so, but don't have any proof. You're applying a twisting stress to the knee while it's under a load. Just seems like a bad thing to do.

Chucks are the same thing as barefoot. To see the difference, squat with a pair of 10's or 25's under your heels. You'll probably end up buying a pair of oly shoes.

The only reason I don't own a pair yet is because I already had a pair of "running" shoes with a very stiff elevated heel (New Balance really goofed with the 8505's). They're not quite as good as oly shoes, but they'll do for now.


That article's a nice read.


This should be part of your goblet squat practice. As Dan John likes to say "big chest, buddha belly". Hold the bottom position. Let your hips open up and your belly drop down as you exhale, and make your chest as big as possible as you inhale.

Hmmm, maybe i need to work on my breathing. Thanks for the heads up JayPierce. As far as breathing do I breath in and exhale as I go down, or do I breathe in & stick my chest out and hold until I hit ATG THEN exhale as I come up? Also what do you mean by buddy belly? Do I stick out my belly and chest? Thanks in advance guys!


It's just a drill to be done with the goblet squats. Don't try to carry it over to actual squatting. It's more like a stretch than anything.

When you're squatting, you should get a big breath, drop, and exhale on the way up.


Why do olympic Lifters put so much emphases on the back squat. I know it helps with the snatch, especially getting out of the whole. But does it have any other benefit. I love doing Oly squats but i just wanna know


Strong legs are kind of useful.


The first pull is very similar to the high-bar back squat.


Maybe because of the greater ROM needed to complete the lift. I personally do them because I hear the greater ROM associated with the oly back squat will transfer over better to athletics...