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Squat - Form Check

I’m 5 foot 6, 150 lbs, and I’ve just started learning a barbell strength routine.

This is the low bar back squat, as described by Mark Rippetoe in Starting Strength.
This is a set of 5 squats at 95lbs. My working weight this week is 115.
I performed this set after my workout today.

I think the 4th rep is probably the best - the others look pretty wobbly.
Any advice to improve my form is most appreciated. Thanks, new bros.

When you come out the rack, back out slower, you want to be in control.

Try to get in the habit of having your feet set before you come out so you won’t have to adjust once you back out.

Keep your traps tight and your chest out. It’s caving in the hole.

You’re also falling forward on your toes. Try to learn to sit back.

Also you aren’t going deep enough.

I don’t care for you rocking back and forth before you squat. I know you are trying to get comfortable. But it’s a bad habit to get into.

Well, there’s a lot you need to work on, but that can be expected as you are a raw beginner.

To begin, work on a straight pickup out of the rack. You need to get your back tighter and your elbows further under the bar on the un rack. You do this by getting your feet further forward at the start and driving your hips forward and elbows to unrack it.

Next, don’t sit back quite as much. Go a little more straight up and down, and work your mobility. You aren’t hitting depth by any stretch of the imagination.

Google “piriformis stretch”, “ankle mobility”, “hip flexor stretch”, and “dynamic warmup” Do all this before squatting.

You need to work on keeping your bar path in a straight line, don’t let yourself fall forward like that.

Look up rippetoe’s advice on squatting too.

Lots of stuff you can improve on, but I’ll just list a few. Don’t be discouraged, it takes lots of practice to get the correct form.

You don’t seem to be able to go below parallel at the hips and you compensate by just bending forward more at the bottom of your squat. Not sure if this is a mobility issue, a motor control issue, or a strength issue. Can you get below parallel without rounding your back in an unweighted squat?

When you come up out of the squat, your hips rise before your chest. Although your hips provide the power, you want to lead with your chest. Keep your chest up and your shoulder blades back and tight.

I know you are trying to do a powerlifter style squat, but you can also bring your knees a little more forward, instead of keeping them back behind the toes. This might help with the depth issue.

That’s a awesome squat good morning haha. Jokes aside…

  1. Your in racking is kinda scary it almost looks like you try to pick off the rack with already bent over at the waist and as you pick it up and try to stand up your walking backwards all at the same time. This is possible with 95lbs but once you start getting a respectable amount of weight and higher up in percentages your asking to get hurt or at the least get embarrassed.

  2. Pull your elbows down abit. I know it feels like if you don’t the bar is going to slip but its not going to. This will also allow for a tighter upper back and a more upright position in he hole.

  3. Your not getting anywhere near parrell even by SPF rules your way off. I would personally drop bar squatting for a week or two and practice wall squats religiously until you have it. Use a broom stick or something across your back as a barbell and face a wall be roughly 4-6 in from the wall and squat down with out falling forward on to your toes and into the wall. This will help teach you to stay on your heels and keep the chest high while in the hole other wise your bash your head into the wall.

  4. Stretching out your hips and hamstrings daily until you can get into proper position.

Did not read other posts, but as a Ripptard myself, I’ll say:

1). stance too wide
2). you never get “set” before you start your descend
3). bar comes forward. should be straight up and down over midfoot
4). your head position changes as the set continues
5). i suspect the bar is higher than it should be

There’s probably more, but fix these first. #3 will be the hardest, but if you can get it down, it will clean everything up nicely.


  1. Don’t lower your elbows
  2. Don’t lead with your chest

I dont think the stance wideness matters that much,even propowerlifters have wider stance than that.

your squat looks like a mix of “good morning” and backsquat. Try to look forward instead of your toes

It could be beneficial to learn how to front squat so you will learn not to bend your back so much in the back squat.

And post a new video soon, so we can see how is the progress :slight_smile:

I disagree with 1. ^^^^ however its a matter of preference.

read - How To Squat by Lou Simmons.

When you come out of the hole lift with your shoulders first - before you drive your legs

[quote]NikH wrote:
I dont think the stance wideness matters that much,even propowerlifters have wider stance than that.

your squat looks like a mix of “good morning” and backsquat. Try to look forward instead of your toes[/quote]

There is no reason to be squatting wider than shoulder width when learning to squat. He has 95lbs on his back.

Thanks, guys, I have a new video from this morning.

It’s another set of 5, this time with just 65 lbs.
I tried to keep my chest higher and squat deeper.
I did not lower my elbows - Rip says to keep 'em up.

I’ve drawn a vertical line to illustrate the ideal path of the bar, which should stay over the mid-foot.
I’ve drawn a horizontal line to indicate the plane where my upper thighs are parallel to the floor.

As you’ll see, I drifted forward in the first three reps, but I think I nailed it in the 4th rep.
Still needs work.

Looks a lot better.

Bar path is the only “holy grail” when it comes to squatting. That and staying tight. But I would guess that if you’re not tight your bar path would be wobbling all over the place. Everything else depends on individual anthropometry -high/low bar, wide/narrow grip, wide/narrow stance, chucks/olympic WL shoes etc., etc…

Congratulations on figuring that out.

If pushing your elbows lower under the bar gives you a straighter bar path, then don’t think you’ve committed blashpemy because Ripptoe says otherwise. Try it and see how it affects your bar path. You’re just starting out, try everything to see how it makes your body feel in terms of tightness, and how it affects your bar path.

My .02.

what a difference!

I can’t say for certain because of the video angle, but it doesn’t appear that your wrists are straight. This is is critical if you intend on using the Rippetoe-style bar position/elbow position/etc. Also, you need to fix your head position. You should be looking down.

Hi guys,

I’m checking in after a few months on Starting Strength, and I made a video of my squat this morning.

In my last video I was squatting 65 lbs - in this one, I’m squatting 157.

I increased my lifts by 5 lbs each workout, until I hit about 145 and couldn’t go to 150.
Now I’m increasing by 1 pound each workout.

Whenever I squat, I’m focusing on keeping a vertical bar bath, keeping my back strong and my chest up.
I’m also pushing my knees open as Rip suggests.

Let me know what you think, and thanks for supporting a smaller lifter.


Great improvement from the first vid, that’s all I can say. Good job.

Definitely an improvement, but you use a lot of tightness “in the hole”. Keep your back arched and your knees out at the bottom.