T Nation

Squat Form Critic and Advice


Hi guys,

short history, I used to play basketball, had a nasty knee injury, they took a piece of my left patella out. Basically, couldn't do any sports or lifting for over a year.

Never did any weightlifting before that, I couldn't play basketball anymore so started to lift weights. Anyway, a long layoff left me with terrible mobility. For the last six months did a lot of single leg work (got to 120kg on reverse lunge) and glute activation (tried squatting but had a terrible case of anterior femoral glide syndrome).

Knee feels healthy again, so my main goal would be increasing my relative strength and vertical jump. I've had 5 or 6 squat sessions so far and these are the problems I seem to face:

  1. still noticeable lack of mobility, would love to be able to squat deeper
  2. when squatting I don't feel my leg muscles working, mainly my lower and middle back
  3. i am a little confused about the discrepancy in strength between single leg strength and squat strength (s.l. reverse lunge 120kg for 5 reps and currently squat 135kg for 5).

I understand that this is a new movement for me and there's quite a bit of motor learning ahead but still it seems odd).

I am 6', 6'1 and 193 pounds.

Any advice and tips are welcome. I appreciated it.


seems ok to me, im glad to see you using such a light weight for this, im glad your not afraid to get flamed on here.. although i see you have a 135kg squat for 5, thats pretty decent, but by your form on this video with such light weight, i can just tell when you get up to heavy weights, your form most likely fails..

all in all, not everyone goes ass-to-grass, all depends on your physique and flexibility.


have you tried different feet positioning? ive had several knee surgeries, and moving the feet from shoulder width out, pointing the toes out, etc have made a huge difference bringing my leg strength back. the most important thing when your squatting after a knee surgery is to use the ful body and be firm, use good form first and worry about the weight later.


well, due to lack of mobility, it's definitely easier when I set my stance wide and toes out as you pointed out, but my hips still seem to bother me somewhat after wide stance squatting.


It's hard to tell everything from that angle, but from what I can see.

  1. Your pushing your mobility just a little too far... on most reps anyways. It looks like your pelvis is slightly rotating (sagittal plane) and thus compromising the stability of your spine. It's ever so slight and you might have to do some BW squats while looking in a mirror to see it next time.

  2. I would add a little more control to you eccentric phase of the lift. It will help stabilize the whole process and you'll get a better burn from it. Your concentric and amortization phases look great. You have a nice pop to it.

  3. This is the hardest to tell but you complained of feeling the "burn" in you lower and middle back more then your legs and I think I know why. It looks like once you begin you concentric phase you roll onto your toes every so slightly... and more so as the set carries on. You also carry a little bit of rounded shoulders throughout the movement. My suggestion, raise your chest a little more and try to press out through your heels when you lift. You can use your toes of course but try to keep as much of the load of them as you can. Use them for balance.


Hard to tell everything from that angle, so perhaps do some different camera angles and post them all. But from this angle, this is what I see:

  1. I think your feet are pointing too far out, which is causing a bit of overall instability, as you tend to roll the weight and your shoulders a bit, which would/could explain why you feel this in your lower back.

  2. Don't stress going ass to the ground, as you've had some knee reconstruction. Stay within your comfort zone.

  3. You appear to be looking dead ahead. Normally this isn't a problem, but for a beginner, I'd suggest focusing on a dot/grooze in the wall 2-3 feet above your eye level the entire time. This should help force you back to be in a proper plane of motion throughout the entire movement.

  4. Have you thought of going slower on the down phase, holding for 1 and then exploding up? Going low and slow with good form will guarentee to burn your legs.

  5. Something that you may find that helps (it helped me when I first started squatting) is a small 1x4 under your heels.

Just my two bits...


What is that weight on the bar? It is not 135 kg - 297 lbs


Go deeper. You're not going deep enough. Sorry kid, that's not even parallel.


1.yes, I agree about pushing my mobility.. but I try getting as close to parallel as i can.. hopefully with time it will improve..

2.tnx, nice catch on the eccentric.. i'll try to make a conscience effort to have more control

  1. can't believe how you picked up this little detail... nice! i know all these things in theory but when it comes to putting it all together I always forget something...

really helpful post crusher.. appreciated :slight_smile:


  1. i try keeping the feet not more than 30�° pointing out, what would you recommend? now when you mention it I did feel that the bar was rolling a bit..tnx!

  2. actually, my knee is better than before the surgery now.. i feel that my hips are the main culprit, but I will try not to force it and be patient. I'm in this for the long haul

  3. where to look is one of the things I am just trying to experiment with.. rippetoe says looking somewhat downward, some say look ahead, other look at the ceiling (which doesn't sound really smart to me). will experiment with your tip..

anyway guys, tnx for the tips, when you I put all these little things together, I think it's really going to make a difference.. much appreciated. I'll be sure to post my progress.

I think I will lower the weight for a while to work on my form, probably use starting strength, seems better to focus on volume right now than heavy weights.


It is 135kg. I have no use of faking my numbers.. I am 87kg so until I get my squat at least to 180kg my primary focus in the gym from now will be squatting.


No problem whatsoever!


And wow... not that I'm against ATG Squats, but you sir need to learn a lot more about the biomechanics of a squat. Did you even read his origional post?


Come to think of it, I actually didn't. Thank you for reminding me that...

So yeah, stretch and squat. That's my advice. Hire a contortionist with your flexibility sessions.

I really apologize for the ignorant post. All I observed is the video...


Ignore him, he's an idiot.