T Nation

Squat Form Critique


I've only been seriously lifting for a few months but I've never felt very comfortable with my squat and I think it's really holding me back from making any progress.

I know of a few things I'm doing wrong; staying too long at the bottom and not keeping my core or back tight enough making me unstable and movements jerky, but any other advice or comments would be very helpful.

Unfortunately I don't have a front view but I think most of my problems are highlighted best from the side anyway.


Second Video: I know my last rep is pretty bad but I only needed to do 1 rep following 5-3-1 and I was feeling ambitious and went for 3.


I don't think your form is that bad at all. You might try keeping your elbows forward and under the bar and not let them flop around. That will help with the forward lean a bit and help keep your back a little tighter. The downside is, it might make your elbows sore. Are you using a false grip to hold the bar? If not, start doing that as well.

Just keep working to stay tight and try and move up and down like a piston and you will feel progressively stronger. Good work.


Even with what looks like a narrow stance, you can still sit back into the hips a bit more. Thats all I can see, great job otherwise.


Yes, very good job. The one thing you could start thinking about is making sure your hips and head are moving up at the same speed as you start your ascent. You want to think about the bar moving in a straight line throughout the exercise. Also, right now you have a fast descent and a slower ascent. Try to switch that. Controlled down. Explode up.


My advice would be to drive your neck and shoulders back into the bar on your way up, and stop snapping your knees straight at the top.

Otherwise your form looks very good.


Thank you for all the responses!

My stance is a bit wider than shoulder length actually so I will try setting back into my hips more next time and definitely bring my elbows more under the bar. My right elbow does get pretty sore doing that though but it's not a big deal especially if it helps keep my back tighter. Keeping my back tight and remembering to keep my head up instead of looking at my knees are things I definitely have trouble with.

I never thought about it but I definitely do go down pretty uncontrolled. Exploding up can be hard because well...the weight is heavy!

I'm going to try to get my deadlift recorded this week also and include it in this thread too.

Appreciate the advice everyone.


I was hoping to have a non-max video as well for the deadlift but this one should probably suffice.

I feel like I'm leaning too far over but any advice would, once again, be very appreciated.

Other things I need to work on: Fashion, I just realized I'm wearing the same shirt from the first video!


^regarding leaning too far forward, slide your hips just an inch or two back and you will be good to go. If that was a true max attempt, your form looked good.

For reference, my sumo pulls the other day. Not near max attempts, but enough that I gotta get the form right.


I'm not sure what your goals are but assuming they are more physique related than power lifting, I would say your form is looking good.
Other than what others have said I would add that you are probably dropping down a little fast and that is why you are loosing your tightness down the bottome of your squat. That might just be your habit when your legs are tired though because the first two reps on that second squat video looked great.
Getting good at squats is something that can take a long time for some lifters, It was at least a year before I felt really comfortable doing them. just keep at it.

Your deadlift came up so slow off the floor but you kept a really tight back and good form. How long have you been pulling sumo? if it has not been very long then you will probably improve a lot just by doing them which will icrease your strength off the floor.
When I set up for a deadlift (i usually pull conventional) I make sure I sit back until I feel a stretch in my hamstrings, this always helps me keep my hips back and stops me leaning forward as well as makes that first two inches feel easier.
Best of luck, Doyle


I'm definitely trying to get into powerlifting and hoping to get the confidence to do a meet in the coming months.

I've always done sumo style (which would mean about 8 months), an old lower back injury makes pulling conventional pretty uncomfortable. Watching these videos have definitely let me better see my problem areas, such as the first few inches off the floor, and I'll be looking to do the appropriate assistance work for that.


DixiesFinest - I had a question - right before you grip the bar, you make circles with your arms. I've seen other powerlifters do similar things (Cressey raises both arms and points to the sky before grabbing the bar). I don't understand why, is there a reason?


Visual cue to always pull my shoulders back and keep my back tight. Plus doing the same thing before every pull helps me mentally.


Hmm...That's interesting. I think I might try something similar, I have trouble keeping my back tight.



Break at the hips first, you're breaking at the knees. So your first movement will be to send the hips back, then the knees will almost immediately unlock and you will descend.