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Squat Form for 6'3" Lifter - Please Critique


Hey everyone,

I haven’t posted in powerlifting threads before, but I think this is where my question belongs. A little background on myself. I’ve played hockey all my life, very competitive level, and always had problems with bones growing faster than tendons and stuff when I was younger. Also was never very flexible, never did mobility work, my skating kept me somewhat loose but now that I’ve stopped playing I’m tighter than a piano string.

Last summer, before heading to university, I dropped about 25 lbs, got back into shape, and was lifting a lot and playing ball hockey (tons of running). I started school in the Fall, weightlifting fell off the map, ball hockey ended, and I only skated once a week throughout the winter until now. Now I’m working on getting my schedule back on track so I can get back into lifting and lose some weight. I’m about 6’3" 218 lbs, I would say between 18-20% BF, I was down to about 12 or 13% last summer.

My squats have never been something I’ve been proud of. I’ve gotten up to some okay weights for my age, but its always caused aches and pains, and not the good ones! My left knee hurts when I drop below parallel, and my lower back hurts sometimes, it hasnt been recently. My knees pop below parallel, and both are killing me right now from shooting these videos and trying a weird yoga move to open the hips. Everyday I’m spending atleast 15 minutes doing these yoga videos that are supposed to open my hips, groin and loosen up my legs. I dont like yoga, but I like the idea of the functional aspect of the flexibility in my squatting. I know my hamstrings are really tight because when I bend over to touch my toes I cant reach them without bending a lot at the knees.

When I squat and break parallel two things happen; first, my knee pops, second, my knee hurts. My left knee, for some reason my right knee only does it sporadically. I’m posting a video of my squat from the side, and I’m hoping people will be able to help me with my form. I squat with feet just wider than shoulder width, and I try and point my toes slightly outwards. If there is any more info you people need Ill do my best to share! My goal is to squat with really good form and then build the weight back up

Thanks in advance everyone!


You look like you shift to the right at the bottom of the squat.

Have a look at this to sort it:

For mobility, just do band distraction and tack/floss stuff on the things giving you grief. It’s so superior to anything else that it isnt funny.

As an example, I suffered on the squat for months, barely could get depth. I kept stretching and nothing. In the end, i had fuck all internal rotation - one 3 minute session with bands and pain gone, movement restored.


Get out of the cross trainers and get some chicks or go barefoot or if you’re like me and because of multiple ankle injuries you have limited ankle mobility invest in some oly shoes worked wonders for my front and back squat


So I’m pretty clueless, but it looks to me like your feet aren’t positioned right. Shouldn’t they be pointed out at thirty degrees? I think this might relieve some pressure on your knees.

And get some knee sleeves to keep them warm and loose.


Ya I do shift, I am trying to compensate and that may be making things worse. Ill give that tack and floss a try, hopefully that helps.


Ill have to invest in some oly shoes, I have another video of me going barefoot, depth is worse, knees hurt more, and lower back begins to hurt. I have definetly had my fair share of ankle injuries playing and training for hockey.

I have tried pointing out more, I haven’t found anything that helped.

Are oly shoes my only option? I don’t know much about them, but that seems more like a patch than a permanent fix to some other issue I have. Dont know what the issue is but the fact I cant squat without knee pain seems like a bigger issue than just not being able to move weights.


Oly shoes changed my squaring life. Here is a simple way to see how they may work for you. Put a 5 or 10lb weight under the heels of your shoes and see how much it helps your range of motion. I’ve found without them, I can’t squat atg, or properly catch the clean or snatch. They aren’t really a patch depending on your build and mobility needs. The only time I don’t use them is low bar back squats. I feel the tennis shoes can be an issue because they are soft soled so not only are you sinking into the sole leaching power but you also lose stability which caused me a lot of ankle pain. So I threw on the oly shoes, no more pain and mobility issues fixed.

Also forgot to say, as a taller lifted sometimes we can only do so much with the levers God gave us I’m 6’3 myself lol


Ill give that a try now and see what happens. Thats another thing that I’ve been reading about is the bio mechanics behind larger limbs acting as levers. Doesnt seem to bode too well for us tall folk lol. I saw a video of Bradley Martyn squatting, with what appeared to be, zero impingement… always in Oly shoes. $200 hurts right now, but definetly something I’m going to have to look into.

Thanks everyone for the input, its much appreciated!


I’m 6’2, 230 and squat wider than you with my toes pointed out even more. I used to have a lot of knee pain because I listened to too many other people instead of finding the stance that worked best for me. My suggestion to you is to try a bunch of different stances and toe angles to figure out which works best for you.

I also used to lift in oly shoes but once I found a stance that worked for me I found that I didn’t need them. I also work hard on ankle mobility but changing my stance had the biggest impact by far.



Yeah I wouldn’t go after the 200 plus pair for your first oly shoes.

I like my

These Wei ruis have wood heels. I like them , haven’t had any issues in them so far with a 355 front squat. They fit well I’m 6’3 265 and haven’t had any issues.


If I do go wider doesn’t that hit more inner ham, and less quad? My main goal is to be a better athlete right now, not so much as push PRs. I know how important squatting is in any routine, personally one of my favourite exercises… When it doesn’t hurt like hell.

Those look like solid shoes, although I know nothing about them. Definetly more interested in those to begin than the Romaleos or Adipowers. Do you find they fit to the size of a running shoe or to a dress shoe?


It looks like you have slightly valgus knees. Yeah, they don’t cave in like your proto-typical valgus knee, but if your feet are pointed out so that your knees don’t track along the foot/outside the foot then they are technically collapsed. There are points in your squat where your knees wobble in. A lot of people never get any pain from that, but some do.

How deep can you do a butterfly stretch? One of the main reasons for knees wobbling like that is a tight groin. If your knees in a butterfly stretch don’t go down very far, you might need to work on groin mobility.


Not necessarily. Squats hit mostly hips in any case. Like I said, find a stance that doesn’t cause you pain. It might be that width but your toes pointed out more. Maybe it’s just wider. Don’t forget that a lot goes into what makes a good stance for you and limb length is just one thing There’s also how your femurs fit in the hip.

Check out the strength theory site, they have a lot of really good information about the squat on there.



I cant even pull my feet to my to groin to do the stretch. If I manage to get my feet to my groin, together, my left groin absolutely kills, and it becomes a shoulder workout trying to work my way in and managed to drive my knees down even a little.

I went on there and read the how to squat doc, the huge wrteup. Im not trying to be close minded, just trying to be honest, so dont take this the wrong way, but I have tried just about every stance I can think of with toes pointed every which way lol. I have yet to find anything that fixes my knee pain.

Thanks for your input! That was a good video. Im having a hard time understanding what hes trying to get across when he says keep the weight in the middle of your feet.

On my own front. My hips are sore from trying to do lots of stretching. My hamstrings are extremely tight, I can barely touch my toes without bending my knees when I bend over, but it feels more tight in the lower back region and the hips than in my hamstrings. I was planning to order Voodoo bands from Rogue today and some Reebok lifting shoes from Rogue as well, gives me free shipping to Canada. Any suggestions as to whether there are better options in that price range?


Hockey Brah!

Imagine how much time you have spent, leaning over, on the balls of your feet, weight over one leg, twisted to One side, in a sugar-footed (one foot forward stance).
Your whole sporting life has made you quad dominant, and taught you to favor your right side. The lifting shoes with the elevated heels will reinforce this quad dominant pattern.

Not being able to get into the butterfly position without pulling your feet, sounds to me like you cannot use your glutes. When your adductors(crotch) stretch, it’s the glutes and the abductors(outside of hips and legs) that pull your legs into position.

Try looping a resistance band over your lifting belt, then stepping through the ends of the bands. As the band tries to fold you over, your glutes HAVE to work. Then walk side to side to get your hips to open up.

You could also look into hip belt squats. They are supposed to be really useful for skaters.


Also, if squatting is just a means to an end, and not a specific goal, you don’t really NEED to squat.

You could try box squats to a box just above parallel. Or Bulgarian Split Squats.

Anything you can do to work your lower body, and progress on, without hurting your knees should help you.


Yoga in Scotland

Hockey in Ontario



I just watched the video. Max said that tall guys get injured squatting. And they don’t get stronger from squatting. Then he said taller dudes will get more out of Special Exercises.

Then the part that really struck me was when they went over to do hip belt squats.

I will stand behind my advices.


Unless I’m mistaken, the OP didn’t say that he was Scottish descent or has deep hip sockets. Individual biomechanics are certainly important, but if you are implying that his inability to get into a butterfly position is based on his ancestry (as opposed to just poor mobility, which he has mentioned having) the diagnosis is premature.

And from the realm of experience as someone who is Scottish descent, most likely has deep hip sockets, and am fairly tall (6’1"), I have still found that mobility has helped my squat form improve. I wouldn’t expect the OP to have a great butterfly position, but if he’s got an overly tight groin (or weak glutes), it won’t be doing his knees any favors.

In saying that, your recommendations to him are spot on, so I should probably just let it go (but it’s the internet dammit!). OP: See if you can get into the position dr_lyle_chipperson gives. If you can’t, then at that point start thinking about mobility or glute weakness.


I will practice that, driving the knees out and forward. Just checked out Kelly Starrett Squat 1/3 2/3 and 3/3 where he goes through the hip opening before squatting which lets him drive his knees out and over his toes.

Theyre a means to an end for sure, but one of those things I think from an anatomical standpoint I should be capable of doing without pain or significant pain without being under load. Just as a human, I want to be able to squat lol. I will probably go to front squats and belt squats on plyo boxes to change things up… but one thing at a time :stuck_out_tongue :stuck_out_tongue:

I looked him up, I didnt see anything to do knee pain in squats or things like that, may have missed something though.

Funnily enough, I am of Scottish descent. I definitely have mobility issues, and I’m sure clearing those up will help everything in general, possibly even my squat form. My goal is to nail down what the issue is and then solve it and go from there. Ive ordered bands for flossing and a resistance band, 60-80 lbs resistance to try the step through exercise mentioned above.

This was the video I tried actually, I did the first part, and heard both my hips pop… A good pop, like a release almost. Something to continue?

Going to continue stretching out hammies, groin, and ankles. Should I continue doing things for my hips? And what exactly should I do? Also planning to order the Reebok lifting shoes off Rogue Fitness. Anyone has any negative input on those, speak now or forever hold your piece lol

Thanks for all the input everyone, actually going to break out the whiteboard tonight, list everyones advice and go through each one, one at a time. Im heading to the doctor this week to have a check in on my knees anyways and will continue to update as I go along!