i am trying to improve my squat and make it more effective. my form is not the best. this is my last set 9x3 @ 165 pounds. what should i work on and what can i do to make it better? any mobility work/activation drills you recommend i do? set up? cues? anything will help me
Welcome to T-Nation.
Your squat looks pretty good. It will help if you record a heavier set in the future to see if there is any form breakdown. But overall I don’t see any problems so keep up the good work.
It looks OK, but IMO there are a few things that could take beyond OK.
Setup: try placing your feet first before you get under the bar. That can help to get the bar over the midfoot. A sequence that works for me is grip the bar; set my feet; get under the bar; set the bar on my shoulders.
Stance: from this angle, impossible to tell, but it looks like your feet are pointing straight ahead. Try pointing the toes outwards. How much is up to you, but IMO between 30 and 45 degrees off your midline is often a good place to start. It lets you push your knees out much more easily coming down. I think generally the wider your stance, the more you want to point your toes out. Try playing around and see what works best for you. Remember generally wider stance = more hams and glute and hips, narrower stance = more quads.
Elbows: try pulling them forward so they are under the bar. This will keep your torso more upright and the bar in the right position over your mid foot. Ideally the bar will go up and down in a vertical line, and keeping your trunk stable is a huge part of achieving this. How much you lean is secondary, providing your lean angle doesn’t change. Usually, the higher the bar on your shoulders, the more upright your trunk angle. If pulling the elbows forward doesn’t work, squeeze your lats hard. Personally, I pull my shoulderblades together and pull the bar down into my shoulders hard - BUT I do have my elbows pointing back because pulling them forward gave me some nice tendinitis. It’s down to what works for you to stay tight and stable.
Depth: just about OK, but try to go a smidge deeper so the hip is definitely below the knee. Getting tighter and maintaining your trunk angle will help with this.
General: get tight throughout your whole torso before you descend, and as you descent try to pull yourself down while spreading your knees more than just dropping. To come up, lead with your chest and spread the floor with your feet (you can imagine you’re standing on a sheet of paper and trying to pull it apart with your feet). I actually spread the floor as I descent, but I’ve got a very wide (for a raw lifter) stance and very much a powerlifter’s squat focusing on shifting more weight rather than anythign else.