T Nation

Squat Form Issues (Tall Hardgainer)

Hey guys,

To start…I’m a pretty extreme ectomorph, and tall, 6’2". Before I started working out I was only 135, but got up to 165 in Dec '06 before I had some injuries (weight lifting related and not) and lost 12 pounds over the last five months.

For the record what I’ve hurt was my hip and my knee. In retrospect I realize that I screwed up my hip from bad deadlifting form, but I think I’ve done a good job at correcting that. Everything’s pretty decently healed now, so I just want to assure that I don’t break myself again.

I’ve been training on and off over the last four years (the last two were the most regimented), but I keep straining/hurting my knees doing squats. I’ve had several people critique my form but it hasn’t helped significantly.

Last time I lifted, some dude recommended that I use a wider stance (kind of like… sumo squats?). Does that sound like a good idea? Do you have any other suggestions for me to try out?

Thanks!
David

Watch Dan John’s Fitcast video on squats and Oly lifts. It’s one of the best explanations of good squat form I’ve seen.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-6529481301858251744

You may want to spend some time doing overhead squats with a light pipe or stick in warmup. You’ve got no choice to have good form if you go deep and keep the bar behind your head. If you can’t do it at the beginning then you need to improve your flexibility somewhere - ankles, hips, back or shoulders.

Hey, thanks for the response. Your video doesn’t work, unfortunately. :frowning:

[quote]maskedbacon wrote:
Last time I lifted, some dude recommended that I use a wider stance (kind of like… sumo squats?). Does that sound like a good idea?
[/quote]

Most likely. It is hard to tell without seeing you lift. I can say, however, that I was 6’2" and 135 at one time. Give it time is all I can say.

Some dude is probably right.

[quote]
Do you have any other suggestions for me to try out?

Thanks!
David[/quote]

Yes.

  1. When you are lifting try to curl your toes up and that will help you from coming forward.
  2. “Spread to the floor,” meaning to push your legs out when lifting. This will help prevent sway.
  3. Chest up, belly full of air
  4. Squat ATG.
  5. Give front squats a try.
  6. Use better shoes.

Thanks again.

What kind of shoes do you recommend for weight lifting? I’ve been wearing cross-trainers but I hear flatter shoes are better (?)

[quote]maskedbacon wrote:
Thanks again.

What kind of shoes do you recommend for weight lifting? I’ve been wearing cross-trainers but I hear flatter shoes are better (?)

[/quote]

It depends on a few things.

If you are squatting olympic style, Werksan, DoWin, and Adidas AdiStar are a few.

If you are doing the more PL type, Chuck Taylor is a brand people use a lot.

If you still have knee pain once you get your form in check, you may want to check out Mike Robertson’s Bulletproof Knees.

He wrote an article on the topic a while back, just do a search. He’s also got a training manual out now that is amazing. I’ve had knee problems since I was a kid and I haven’t had any pain since I started using his methods. MR knows this stuff. :slight_smile:

[quote]maskedbacon wrote:
Hey guys,

To start…I’m a pretty extreme ectomorph, and tall, 6’2". Before I started working out I was only 135, but got up to 165 in Dec '06 before I had some injuries (weight lifting related and not) and lost 12 pounds over the last five months. [/quote]

Eat more food. It won’t hurt you, for goodness sakes!

[quote]For the record what I’ve hurt was my hip and my knee. In retrospect I realize that I screwed up my hip from bad deadlifting form, but I think I’ve done a good job at correcting that. Everything’s pretty decently healed now, so I just want to assure that I don’t break myself again.

I’ve been training on and off over the last four years (the last two were the most regimented), but I keep straining/hurting my knees doing squats. I’ve had several people critique my form but it hasn’t helped significantly. [/quote]

Wide stance? Make sure your knees do not break the vertical plane established by your toes. Meaning, stick your ass wayyyyy out when descending and force your knees out when ascending - for reasons Chewie offered.

[quote]Last time I lifted, some dude recommended that I use a wider stance (kind of like… sumo squats?). Does that sound like a good idea? Do you have any other suggestions for me to try out?

Thanks!
David[/quote]

No shoes at all. Barefoot, with your feet at a 45 degree angle, like a duck walk. Make sure you drive through your heels. Try knee wraps until your tendons strengthen up.

Does anyone have a working link to that Dan John Video?

Hang in there, I was once 145 at 6’4". Wide stance may help, but be willing to experiment. I have tried the wide stance and it was more strain on my knees than a moderate stance. Doesn’t hurt to do a little of everything, even if it’s not heavy. Overhead squatting, even with the bar only, is a good way to work on form and stance while enhancing hip flexibility.

Thanks for all of your comments, guys.

A few follow-up questions:

  1. My crosstrainers have a bit of padding in the heel… perhaps half to three quarters of an inch. Do you think that’s detrimental to form or OK?

  2. Could you please link me to a picture series or video that demonstrates ‘perfect’ squat form? I’ve seen so many variations on even the subtleties that I’m thoroughly confused. I’ve been told to keep your knees behind your toes, then other people stick their knees way forward… don’t lean to much forward, stop at 90 degrees, go all the way down… lately I just made up my own form based on what has given me the least strain, but apparently ‘some dude’ said it looked funny.

I think I might have been leaning forward a bit too much but people are so varied in this exercise that I’m not sure what to model myself after.

Thanks!

Can you take a video of yourself squatting? It’d be a big help towards critiquing your form if people could actually see what you are doing right/wrong.

Hmm, I’ll see what I can do about the video.

I just read in the deadlifting article (front page) about “No Crosstrainers” as a general mantra. Oh great :slight_smile:

I’ll go look for some Chucks, maybe that’d help too. Do you think Skateboarding shoes are OK (since they are flat, just slightly more padded)? Or is the idea of the padding why you don’t want to wear them?

[quote]Dexter. wrote:
Does anyone have a working link to that Dan John Video? [/quote]

Try this
http://video.google.com/...51744&q=fitcast

Or this
http://thefitcast.com/?p=108