T Nation

Squat Form Check

not really sure where I should ask this question. I have been lifting on and off for a few years now, so I’m not exactly a beginner. But I’m not that strong compared to other people on this board, so I figured this would be the best place to start.

first clip is 275 lbs, second clip is 225 lbs

any tips would be appreciated.

The only thing i can really think of is the eccentric portion of the lift seems a little bit overly controlled, but thats not necessarily…bad…really, and your definitely not going to hurt yourself doing them like that.

I have a problem of loosening up at the bottom, so I was focusing on staying tight the whole time by pausing at the bottom briefly. I also have a tendency to let my knees come in, so I’ve been working hard on keeping my knees out and “spreading the floor” like everyone always says.

looks like a pretty solid powerlifting style squat. But to my eye it seems that you are leaning forward excessively and this is causing you to lose depth (it looks like if were to go deeper there would be some rounding (posterior pelvic tilt) of the lower back, putting stress on the dreaded lumbar section). You could do some exercises which promote a strong erect thoracic spine, allowing you to sit more proud with less forward lean above the torso.

But as was said, your squat seems safe and controlled, and is obviously going to work in strength/size building

I’d say to watch the ‘so you think you can squat’ series on youtube.

From those, I’d say you need to bring your elbows under the bar more, and pack your head back and look up. That will help with what Yarni said on the leaning forward bit.

[quote]sexyxe wrote:
I’d say to watch the ‘so you think you can squat’ series on youtube.

From those, I’d say you need to bring your elbows under the bar more, and pack your head back and look up. That will help with what Yarni said on the leaning forward bit.
[/quote]

If you tilt your backwards your spine is no longer in a neutral position, which is not a good thing.

[quote]mattis wrote:

[quote]sexyxe wrote:
I’d say to watch the ‘so you think you can squat’ series on youtube.

From those, I’d say you need to bring your elbows under the bar more, and pack your head back and look up. That will help with what Yarni said on the leaning forward bit.
[/quote]

If you tilt your backwards your spine is no longer in a neutral position, which is not a good thing. [/quote]

Packing your head/neck backwards doesn’t necessarily mean looking upwards. A slight tilt backwards helps keep you tight.

If you disagree, write the blokes at EFTs a nasty email.

[quote]mattis wrote:

[quote]sexyxe wrote:
I’d say to watch the ‘so you think you can squat’ series on youtube.

From those, I’d say you need to bring your elbows under the bar more, and pack your head back and look up. That will help with what Yarni said on the leaning forward bit.
[/quote]

If you tilt your backwards your spine is no longer in a neutral position, which is not a good thing. [/quote]

You are assuming that the only way to get more upright is by hyperextending the spine - but the positioning is in the HIPS. The spine can remain in a neutral position, but the whole trunk/torso section is held at a more vertical angle. The OP is almost brushing his inner-thighs on his rib-cage! That is a deep lean. For an extreme opposite example, look at the Chinese olympic lifters:

these guys squat very upright (like a front squat). Look at the distance between the inner-thigh/rib-cage. No sloppy back positioning here. These guys squat with their hips.

[quote]Breykdown wrote:
I have a problem of loosening up at the bottom, so I was focusing on staying tight the whole time by pausing at the bottom briefly. I also have a tendency to let my knees come in, so I’ve been working hard on keeping my knees out and “spreading the floor” like everyone always says. [/quote]

You can consider that mission accomplished then. Your knees track right in that video. The two major things that stick out to me are that your elbows are ENTIRELY too far up. The elbows need to be packed down. And the other major thing is that your chest is down. It starts down when you get under the bar, continues to stay down when you unrack it, and sinks slightly lower when you squat.

That is causing you to lose tightness as well. If not so much directly then by forcing the mechanics of the lift into your excessive forward lean (even by powerlifting standards).

You also would probably do well to do more upper back work and T-spine extension, just to ensure the upper back can stay tight and that you can keep your chest up easily.

how do I work on keeping my t-spine extended with the low bar position? I feel hunched forward but if I try to stand straight it feels like the bar is going to fall off my back.

This is just be a random guess but it looks like you’re getting most of your “sitting back” from your hip flexors pulling you forward

Your t-spine position is fine. It’s just that you’re leaned over, which is a consequence of shoving your hips so far back.

[quote]Anthony Mychal wrote:
Your t-spine position is fine. It’s just that you’re leaned over, which is a consequence of shoving your hips so far back.[/quote]

This is true. I meant that suggestion less as advice on your form and more as a weak point that you should address with work. The bigger and stronger your upper back is the easier it will be to stay upright in the squat. Sorry for the confusion and poor wording, it was a long day. Your back is straight in the video, you are simply too leaned forward.

[quote]Aragorn wrote:

[quote]Anthony Mychal wrote:
Your t-spine position is fine. It’s just that you’re leaned over, which is a consequence of shoving your hips so far back.[/quote]

This is true. I meant that suggestion less as advice on your form and more as a weak point that you should address with work. The bigger and stronger your upper back is the easier it will be to stay upright in the squat. Sorry for the confusion and poor wording, it was a long day. Your back is straight in the video, you are simply too leaned forward.[/quote]

Yeah the issue is sitting back. You can see from the side view that the knees barely move forward at all during the squat. This is great for the knees, but not so good for the back.

Deep knee bend = knee stress

No knee bend = back stress

I think the olympic lifters strike a good balance here. There is some knee bend but the back is held upright.

OP you asked how to get more upright - do olympic style squats (narrow feet position, toes forward, knees spread out - and most importantly and higher bar position, resting on top of your traps - hips cvoming up and down almost vertically, no sitting back!) At least for a little while it could help. It might make your P/Ling style squat better.

Although as has been said, your squat is not bad. And looking at your body you seem to getting good results from it.

Goblet squats.

Think of squatting between your legs. Not folding yourself up like an achordion

Seriously cheesy/seriously helpful video alert.

Dan John is the man when it comes to squatting.

Whats important to take note of in olympic lifters is the HUGE heel lift on they’re shoes- they may aswell wear high heels. Which is a huge reason why they can remain upright whilst squatting deep.

Try this - http://lh6.ggpht.com/_DUaSIwAweyY/RsGld-y9LtI/AAAAAAAAEUM/rhcNzDrUjmw/DSCF8011.JPG[height="150"]

then try this - http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3173/2616593035_7b5d10fde7.jpg

I reckon trying to squat as erect as an o lifter without a significant heel lift is not a good Idea. squat deep by all means, but a bit of forward lean is going to happen, even if you have great ankle, hip and t-spine mobility.

I do goblet squats quite often actually. the problem I think comes from my inflexible ankles and long legs/short torso. It isn’t a problem when I’m front squatting/goblet squats, as the racking in front lets me sit down straighter but its not that I’m not trying to sit down, my ankles start to impinge at a certain point and I cant go any farther.

I’m probably going to have to invest in some lifting shoes. I tried putting 2.5lb plates under my heels, but I have trouble staying tight stepping out of the rack when I have to feel around for the plates lol.

and that video was gold. haha

what are you trying to do with your squat?

you have a pretty good powerlifting style squat. that is to say, your shins stay relatively upright and you sit your ass back. you hit good powerlifting depth. you have as much forward lean of your torso as you need to keep the bar balanced over your midfoot.

your knees don’t cave in. you do a good job of that. you could probably drive them out harder still - but that will come with practice / as your strength develops.

if you want feedback on developing a better powerlifting squat i’d ask over on the powerlifting forum. it looks competent to me - but i’m sure people over there would have much to say about more precise technical detail.

otherwise…

you could of course do an olympic style high bar back squat - but that would be fairly different from what it is you are doing now. the high bar olympic style squat (the one with the upright torso where your knees come forwards more) isn’t really what you are trying to do though, is it??

[quote]yarni wrote:

[quote]mattis wrote:

[quote]sexyxe wrote:
I’d say to watch the ‘so you think you can squat’ series on youtube.

From those, I’d say you need to bring your elbows under the bar more, and pack your head back and look up. That will help with what Yarni said on the leaning forward bit.
[/quote]

If you tilt your backwards your spine is no longer in a neutral position, which is not a good thing. [/quote]

You are assuming that the only way to get more upright is by hyperextending the spine - but the positioning is in the HIPS. The spine can remain in a neutral position, but the whole trunk/torso section is held at a more vertical angle. The OP is almost brushing his inner-thighs on his rib-cage! That is a deep lean. For an extreme opposite example, look at the Chinese olympic lifters:

these guys squat very upright (like a front squat). Look at the distance between the inner-thigh/rib-cage. No sloppy back positioning here. These guys squat with their hips. [/quote]

  • these guys have the bar high up on their traps not low down their backs
  • these guys sit their butts down between their legs instead of sitting their butts back (making it more quad rather than hip dominant)
  • these guys get deeper because of the above point
  • these guys get a more upright torso because of the above points
  • these guys don’t squat as much weight because of the above points

you can’t

  1. keep shins vertical
  2. keep torso vertical
    simultaneously unless you have freaky freaky lucky levers (short femurs on short legs)

chinese olympic lifters were of course sold into the sport at a very young age at least in part because of their levers…

[quote]alexus wrote:

[quote]yarni wrote:

[quote]mattis wrote:

[quote]sexyxe wrote:
I’d say to watch the ‘so you think you can squat’ series on youtube.

From those, I’d say you need to bring your elbows under the bar more, and pack your head back and look up. That will help with what Yarni said on the leaning forward bit.
[/quote]

If you tilt your backwards your spine is no longer in a neutral position, which is not a good thing. [/quote]

You are assuming that the only way to get more upright is by hyperextending the spine - but the positioning is in the HIPS. The spine can remain in a neutral position, but the whole trunk/torso section is held at a more vertical angle. The OP is almost brushing his inner-thighs on his rib-cage! That is a deep lean. For an extreme opposite example, look at the Chinese olympic lifters:

these guys squat very upright (like a front squat). Look at the distance between the inner-thigh/rib-cage. No sloppy back positioning here. These guys squat with their hips. [/quote]

  • these guys have the bar high up on their traps not low down their backs
  • these guys sit their butts down between their legs instead of sitting their butts back (making it more quad rather than hip dominant)
  • these guys get deeper because of the above point
  • these guys get a more upright torso because of the above points
  • these guys don’t squat as much weight because of the above points

you can’t

  1. keep shins vertical
  2. keep torso vertical
    simultaneously unless you have freaky freaky lucky levers (short femurs on short legs)

chinese olympic lifters were of course sold into the sport at a very young age at least in part because of their levers…
[/quote]

I think I pretty much covered all of that in my subsequent post. As is explained if you’d scrolled down a few more inches, I wasn’t suggesting that he can keep his shins vertical and reduce his forward lean: there has to be some compromise. What I was saying is if he allows his knees to track forward a little bit, he would be able to keep himself more upright.

thats cool. i wasn’t trying to pick on you or anything…

the compromise is about what, though? depends what his goal is…