Squat Form Check

These are Squats done on 3’s Week, running 5/3/1. This is also my current PR, 260 x 10. Any tips you guys have on improving my technique (I know I messed up the unrack, lol) and/or improving any other aspects of my squat are much appreciated. Thanks in advance.


First of all you need to stop lifting angry, it could cause you to die. Other than that, slow down your descent a bit. The faster you descend the harder it is to maintain tightness and this doesn’t look like an appropriate technique for you at this point in time. You tip forward and let your hips rise as you bounce out of the hole, part of that is probably that you aren’t tight enough, another thing is weak quads. Each rep your hips get higher and higher, your glutes and hamstrings are capable of more but your quads are limiting you and that causes you to shift the weight to your posterior chain. Some exercises to help with that are SSB squats, high bar squat, and paused high bar squats, not only will those build your quads but they will also teach you to stay upright. Leg press and hack squats can also be useful.

You squat with your elbows back like Rippetoe says to do. Most other coaches say to keep your elbows down, you can try that and see if it makes a difference. It seems to me that it would be hard to engage your lats with your elbows way back there. You are also squatting way below parallel, this would be good to build your quads if you were staying upright but you’re not and I assume you aren’t training for an ATG squat competition so try widening your stance, it will limit depth and should allow you lift more.

If your technique is not great then rep maxes are a bad idea, they will teach you to lift the weight by any means necessary which will involve getting even sloppier as the set progresses. 5’s progression is a better choice if you are doing 5/3/1, I wish I had done that back when I was on 5/3/1. My squat actually looked a lot like yours.

Thank you for your advice. So high bar squats should be programmed just like any other assistance exercise? Also, I tried jamming my elbows under the bar on the way up out of the hole. This seemed to give me some extra drive, is that because I’m engaging my lats/stabilizing my spine on the way up?

EDIT: I’ve been doing dynamic work as mentioned on JTS’ website (5 x 3 @70% 1RM). I’ll sub these out in favor of high-bar squats, which I can assume could be programmed the same way?

When you position the bar on your shoulders, pin your shoulder blades together and position your arms in a manner that allow you to tuck your elbows forward. You have serious chicken wings. Doing all this will keep you tight, and keeping your elbows pushed forward will help keep you upright, focus on keeping your chest up.

I agree with the previous, slow down. Now only will this help keep your form, keep you tight, and under control, while in training the more time you spend under the bar, in an eccentric movement, will help muscle growth as well.

Keep working to improve Achilles and groin flexibility, and add good mornings as a supplement to your squat days, it’ll help strengthen your posterior chain and help you stay upright. Hope this helps! Good luck

Thank you! Jim also mentions good mornings as exercises that helped him. Westside lives on them too, so that should tell me something lol.

Put your elbows where you want them and keep them there, you don’t want your arms moving around while you are squatting.

Just do a few sets after your main squatting, I would say sets of 5-8 and stop when you can’t stay upright.

You could do top set, 5x3x70%, and then a few sets of high bar squats if that’s not too much for you. You still need to practice low bar squatting and submaximal work like this is good for that. What else are you doing on your squat day? Squatting on your deadlift day as well would be a good idea.

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Actually, I just squatted on my Deadlift day! Haha. I’ll tag you in my log. On my Squat Day, I’m pulling triples at 65, 75, 85% of my TM (which for Deadlift is 330). I actually just hit a 300 x 9 PR today on Deadlifts, and Squatted 190 x 3, 215 x 3, and 245 x 3 (low-bar).

EDIT: The percentages are the same when pulling, squatting, benching, or pressing triples — 65, 75, 85% TM. I do two lifts per workout—one main, the other supplementary (for example, Bench 5/3/1 then Press 65, 75, 85% x 3). When I have time, I throw in some assistance work.

EDIT 2: Also, I’d be working with somewhere around 185 for high-bar, right?

Sorry it took me a while to respond to your tag. Looks like a lot of stuff was already covered, which is good, because I’m not good at technique at all, haha. Elbows were what stuck out the most to me.

Not a problem lol. I put my elbows back like that just so my wrists aren’t bent under the bar. Any other grip suggestions? This question applies to anyone with a certain way that they take hold on the bar. I generally use a thumbless grip just because everything—especially my shoulder—feel better when I take a “chicken wing” grip.

I just bend the wrist personally. I like a more forward elbow with a close grip.

Thumbless, flat wrist, hands are a thumb and a half off the knurling (of a power bar).

I have to actively think about bringing my elbows under otherwise they flare out like yours.