T Nation

Squat Form Check


140kgs for 3 reps, previously only did 140kgs for 1. The angle of the video can be a little misleading but I was told by my buddy that that all 3 lifts were of appropriate depth. It was done at a bodyweight of 72.6kgs. Please critique my form as harshly as possible, everything from my unracking of the bar to the actual squatting.


uh, the video is fucked so... I'll re upload it on YouTube or something.

140kgs for 3 reps, previously only did 140kgs for 1. The angle of the video can be a little misleading but I was told by my buddy that that all 3 lifts were of appropriate depth. It was done at a bodyweight of 72.6kgs. Please critique my form as harshly as possible, everything from my unracking of the bar to the actual squatting.

recopying this cause the original post is kinda messed up and hard to read.


The very first thing I noticed is that from the moment you take the bar out to the when you rack it, your upper back looks pretty lose. Really try to drive your elbows underneath you and flex your lats and extend your t-spine.

You're also shooting your hips back when you start the ascent and the bar goes back too. What causes this is that your knees are prematurely extending. What helps me with this issue is thinking rigid shins and knees and pushing my hips up and forward hard in the hole. What can also cause this is excessively trying to push through your heels. There's this concept called tripod foot. I think if you type it in this sites search engine you'll find it. Let me know if you can't find anything and I'll either dig up a link or try to explain it.

I might be off on this because of the angle, but it looks like you might be meeting parallel, but I don't think your breaking it. Since this is the PL forum, you might find it easier to break parallel if you open up your stance at least just a little bit and sit back a little more. It might help you with the issue in the above paragraph too.

Remember that you want the bar path to be like a plumb line. Find the the stance that lets you do that the easiest. At the moment, when you start to go up, your hips and the bar move back.


What he said.

Also, get bigger air: you should see your belly bulge over the belt when you inhale.

I'd also definitely recommend slowing your descent down so you hold tightness better, and really work on breaking at the hips, not knees. Just pull your butt back and down. Your knees will follow.

Pull the bar down into your shoulders as soon as you are set and keep driving your elbows and chest up from the moment you start your descent as well.


what kind of shoes are you in?


I could be wrong but I'll take a guess. It looks like your hips aren't tight at the bottom of the lift. Your abs should be working with your glutes to keep the hips stable and tight. I'm not sure if you're using your glutes at the bottom since it doesn't look like a smooth transition coming out of the hole to lockout, like you're using your hams for the bottom portion and the glutes halfway to the top when they should both be working together the entire time.

It looks like your back is slightly hyper extended as well which would also indicate a lack of good ab/glute engagement. I would recommend working on that with wide stance glute bridges and side lying clam shell before figuring out how far you need to sit back. Seems like a common problem. It's best to learn the muscles before the movements.

Also get the mid back tight like the others have said. Your lats should be as tight as if you were doing deadlifts. Prioritize pulling your scapula down before retracting it together. My preference is to not even retract them.

How far off is your beltless vs belted squat? I'm wondering if you're bracing correctly since your stomach bulges over the belt at the bottom and goes back to flat when standing up. I'm taking a guess so please don't be offended. These are issues I dealt with and my squat looked almost identical.


I'm wearing converses.

My 1RM for my beltless would be my 3RM for my belted. I'm still new to using the belt so I can see how I'm not utilizing the belt correctly. Am I supposed to suck in air and suck my stomach in or deliberately push my stomach out?


Don't just push your stomach OUT against the belt. But imagine pushing your entire mid-section OUT against belt.


That actually sounds reasonable. I'm guessing that you still might not be bracing as hard as possible.

Personally I don't think there should be a difference in bracing with or without a belt. Pushing out against a belt is a cue that many people use but don't forget that the purpose is to recruit as many muscle fibers as possible and fire them all as hard as possible because they're all working to compress the air in your stomach (transverse abs, obliques, the 6 pack abs, everything) to provide stability.

As you're sitting down right now, take a moment to take a breath and brace like what you would normally do. Poke all around your mid section from the front, side and back. Does it feel soft? Is there any give? Now try again by taking a huge breath and flexing your mid section so hard that it feels like steel armor that even swords can't pierce. That's what bracing should feel like.

I made the mistake early on of pushing out against the belt by blowing up my stomach like a balloon. I thought that was tight until I learned how to brace properly without a belt. Adding a belt shouldn't change your mechanics or the approach for creating tension. It only increases pressure because your abs are confined to a tighter space. Since the volume decreases, the pressure increases to compensate (assuming you took in the same amount of air).


This. My bracing with or without belt is identical, I just get more pressure with a belt. I don't push into the belt at all, just get as much air as I can and then tighten my whole trunk until I feel pressure shooting up into my skull.


Tried bracing harder and sitting back more. Tried widening out my stance and it felt pretty awkward.

Braced harder/sat back more while reverting to my original stance.


It does look better than before. Keep working with slightly lighter weights than normal so you can get more practice firing your lats, abs and glutes properly. Don't let the rep count if those aren't all working. It's practically a new lift now that you're firing different/more muscle groups (may not necessarily be more muscles globally) and you want those weaker muscles to catch up.

After at least a month, you'll get to a point where it becomes automatic and then you can start pushing hard again without thinking too much about the cues. If you're using all the right muscles all the time, your body positioning at failure shouldn't be very far off your normal movement pattern.




I'd like to add that every rep is much better than before, but on the last rep in both vids you start go back to your old habit of shooting your hips back. That's why it's helpful to not push the effort so high and work on form when rebuilding your form. Each rep you use subpar form, you teach yourself subpar form.

I think I know why it was so awkward when you widened your stance and I see it in your DL vid too. Your hips and glutes are relatively weak. Just do each rep with as perfect of form as you can. You could even do a slight pre-fatigue before your main lift light some bodyweight glute bridges for 2-3 sets. But don't take them anywhere near failure, just aim for a light pump so you can really feel those muscles.


top set of 5s week for 5/3/1. form looked iffy.


Are you getting your lats tight? It looks like you can still drive your elbows forward and under the bar to better engage them. It doesn't make that big of a difference to stay upright at light weights but it certainly does near max.


I can drive my elbows down more but it starts to hurt my wrists(i have wrist wraps on), especially if its more than 2/3 reps. Is my hips looking ok?


Your wrists shouldn't be hurting. That might mean you're pushing up against the bar to support it or your grip width might be too close. Your wrist should be straight and either unloaded vertically or pulling the bar down. I used to focus on creating a shelf with my traps by squeezing my shoulder blades together but found that focusing on lat tightness and keeping my shoulders closer to neutral position and pulled down was much stronger.

Your hips do look better than before. Over time you should try opening up your stance width while still forcing your knees over your toes to engage your glutes (gluteus medius and minimus). It doesn't have to be a drastic change. Your glute strength will dictate how much you can open up your hips while still allowing them to fire hard. I've increased my glute strength significantly over the past three months and only increased my stance width by about an inch. It takes time but you can't force it because it needs to be in a position that it can be best utilized. Who knows, maybe you'll end up with a stance 6-12" wider in a year.

Edit: Try using a thumbless grip while still keep your wrist straight if you haven't already.


Off-topic, I know, but I really like how you're working on your lifts (DL thread) and posting videos regularly! I'm thinking about a squat thread myself focusing on technique as well. It helps a lot watching your videos, reading the comments and analyzing the movement, keep it up!


I think you might could work on hip abduction in the hole more. Commonly, this is referred to pushing your knees out. There's a tiny bit of funkiness in your movement as you descend into and ascend out of the hole. For me, I have to push my knees out hard and actually pull myself down with my hip flexors to get through that part smoothly. A front or rear view would make the degree of which this happening more visible.


I was looking for something else for myself, but stumbled on this video and thought it might be useful for you. It covers pulling yourself down and knees out and upper back tightness which is what needs work right now. Btw, big time improvement in short time since your first video.