T Nation

Squat Form Check


#1

Whats up everyone,
I’m a newb and I have a feeling that my squats need better form. I work out at home in my garage so it’s hard for me to find help with this kind of stuff. I’m not lifting heavy, I want to make sure I get the proper form down right first. I used to lift in high school and really hurt my back, probably thanks to ego and bad form. So please check out my form and let me know what I should do different. Let me know if another angle would be better.
Thanks,
Ben


#2
  • Try pointing your toes out a smidge more.
  • You would really benefit from wearing a lifting shoe with a heel on it (Romaleos, Adipowers, Powerlifts, etc.)
  • Perform the garland pose (Google) while holding a 15-20 lbs kettlebell. Hold for 3 sets for 1 minute each, everyday.

#3

Looks fine to me. You do have long limbs so dont be too upset if your squat sucks and looks/feels awkward for a long while.


#4

Thanks for the tips!
I can’t really afford lifting shoes at the moment, are there any alternatives? Why are lifting shoes beneficial?


#5

They provide a more stable base (not such an issue now but once you start pushing heavier weight…) and they reduce the demands on ankle mobility - which you dont really have an issue with so not applicable to you (though there may be less stress through the knee so that could still benenfit you)


#6

I second the shoes if you can one day manage to afford them.

Its hard to tell from he camera but it looks like you back heals were lifting, so maybe you were transferring your weight to the front of your feet, which is a no-no.

Uncle Bird.

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#7

I advise you to check out this Bret Contreras article:

https://bretcontreras.com/how-femur-length-effects-squat-mechanics/

You are tall, or at least appear to be tall.

Also, check out Dr. John Rusin:

And

I find their superior knowledge of anatomy and experience training is freely shared (and appreciated).

Hope their advice helps!

Also, try doing box squats. They helped me. I revisit them when my form starts to suffer. You can’t help but learn to sit back and push off of the heels.

Best,

J


#8

Squatting barefoot is an alternative


#9

Hi Ben,

Overall your squat looks okay however I believe it can be modified slightly for optimal movement. In my opinion here are a few things you could try. If anyone has any other suggestions feel free.

  1. Knees seem to be moving a little too forward over the toes. Try warming up with a bodyweight box squat. Were you can focus on lowering yourself slowly down into a seated position. After you’ve mastered that movement using that same movement pattern grab a kettlebell and perform a couple sets of goblet squats as well.
  2. Towards the end range of the lowering phase of your squat your pelvis seems to dip downward. This is termed the “butt wink”. This is normally okay as long as your spine does not go into lumbar flexion but it seems you may be going into that unwanted flexion. This usually has to do with some mobility issues in the hip flexors so along with the goblets squats, I would try stretching of the hip flexors as well as SMR with a foam roller prior to performing a squat.
  3. As far as your heel lifting off the floor. It may be due to you weightshifting forward and depending more on your anterior muscles to do the heavy lifting. What I’ve found works best is trying to squat barefoot (or with socks on). This will allow you to actually feel the floor and where exactly the forces are being exerted off of. Try to push equally off your hind foot (heel) as well as the area around your big toe and the outside of your foot.

Hope this helps.


#10

Uncle Bird - Thanks for the observation, I never realized my heels came up like that.

Missdibs - Thanks for all the links, I’ll definitely be checking them out.

Fleming13 - Thanks! I’ll give that a shot next week.

Javiercarlin - Very, very helpful! Thank you very much! So to avoid the “butt wink” should I try to keep from going so deep until I have gained the mobility to do so?

Thanks again for all the help everyone!


#11

an easy fix for butt-wink is to get a box and set it at a height just before your hips start to round, and squat touch-and-go style to the box (that means just touching it gently and coming back up - no pause).

Just make sure you don’t come crashing down on the box.


#12

also, don’t be scared to try front squats instead. Lots of people with mobility deficits do better with those.


#13

The old gonad crusher.


#14

good advice here by all, i will add stretching calves and doing glute activation work (and glute medius, the outside of your hip) and general mobility stuff. Reason being is that while lifting shoes will really help, they will really only mask the underlying issues for a while and allow your ankles and other things to stiffen further.

Now I am definitely not against lifting shoes at all. They do allow more stable surface which is half the problem and they do help you with ankle mobility in the short term. They may also male it feel more comfortable or natural to squat, though that is a personal taste thing mostly. They just don’t help the underlying cause–like a lifting belt doesnt help ab weakness.