T Nation

Squat Form

First off I want to say that I read the powerlifting forums nearly every day and there is a ton of great advice here. So I decided to post a video from today of my squats, please bear in mind that I normally lift in Chucks, and a belt. But unfortunately could not get them today.

In the video I squat from 315-425, and then fail at 445. I realize one of my biggest issues right now is how far I lean forward, and will start doing front squats to work this out. But any other critics or tips would be much appreciated.

Today I also benched 315 and deadlifted 585, both new PRs for me!

Good work man, my 2 cents on your form…“Start the way you want to finish” Your starting with your back already folding (at least that’s what the video angle is showing). When you unrack the weight keep your chest up and back tight. Then try to hold that position throughout the movement. You’re going to fold a bit with heavier loads but that should be the exception not the norm.

BTW, great numbers!

To me, from this angle, it looks like your lower back is rounding a lot, before you even get down near depth. Which is another way of saying the same thing that HARA said.

Watch the first 3 “So You Think You Can Squat” vids on youtube.

Is my lower back rounding on all the sets or just the top ones?

And thanks for the video recommendation, I’ve watched them a number of times, but can never hurt to watch them again!

[quote]HARA wrote:
Good work man, my 2 cents on your form…“Start the way you want to finish” Your starting with your back already folding (at least that’s what the video angle is showing). When you unrack the weight keep your chest up and back tight. Then try to hold that position throughout the movement. You’re going to fold a bit with heavier loads but that should be the exception not the norm.

BTW, great numbers![/quote]

Seconded, looks very similar to how I used to squat. Your starting position is inclined and your elbows are almost parallel to the floor (chicken winging). I know the elbows parallel is a style Rippetoe tends to teach but you won’t find many other coaches that agree with it, it tends to encourage this type of form error. Because of how forward your starting position is, you start shifting more onto your toes in the hole and reach less depth with more lower back rounding on your 405+ sets.

Speed and depth look great on the 315 and 365 sets. With a little cleaning up you can expect bigger numbers to fall. Upper back arch and elbows down should be a good cue.

[quote]superdude101 wrote:
Is my lower back rounding on all the sets or just the top ones?

And thanks for the video recommendation, I’ve watched them a number of times, but can never hurt to watch them again!

[/quote]

For some reason the video isn’t loading for me now, but as I recall it happened on all of them, meaning it wasn’t just a breakdown when you got heavy. It was an underlying form issue.

As far as fixing it… giving coaching cues isn’t a strength of mine. If you pause any of those vids while you’re in the hole, you can see your lower back rounding. Your chest needs to be more upright than your stomach. Arch that lower back hard and make sure your hips are shooting backwards, your knees are going out and forward, and your chest is staying upright during the entire descent.

Everything everyone else said.

Also, I was looking at your footwear. Do you ever feel off-balance? It looks like they have a soft heel that’s causing you to fumble a bit. Do they have a hard sole? If not, you might want to consider investing in a pair of Chucks, Oly shoes, or any other shoe with a hard sole.

[quote]Obisidian wrote:
Everything everyone else said.

Also, I was looking at your footwear. Do you ever feel off-balance? It looks like they have a soft heel that’s causing you to fumble a bit. Do they have a hard sole? If not, you might want to consider investing in a pair of Chucks, Oly shoes, or any other shoe with a hard sole.[/quote]

Ya typically I do where Chucks, though I had an issue and couldn’t get my normal gym stuff until the New Year.

So what I’m understanding is that I should start my squats straight, and then begin to push my hips down and back while keeping my chest up? I definitely need to watch the so you think you can squat videos again.

In terms of programming, I have been doing 531 for 3 cycles now and have been getting good results for bench and deadlift, but not so much the squat. To be honest though I have been focusing on bringing up my bench, so that may have played a role in it. Any tips on what I can program in to fix my squat form?

Happy New Years!

Run 5/3/1 boring but big for your squats. You just need to get lots of reps in with sun max weight so your form and groove become second nature. I’d use ridiculously light squats to wa up for deadlift a on deadlift day as well.

Your form isn’t terrible just keep your chest up and back tight…watch those “so you think you can squat video” and record yourself from a side view. There are enough great squats online just emulate the best guys and you won’t go wrong.

Hey man, nice squats, I like the advice you’ve been given so far, but I have a different take on things.

Also, stop watching so you think you can squat… I personally find that video awful and will do more harm than good.

What I like about your squat

knees forward - you’re sitting down instead of back, and that’s exactly what I would advise, and also the reason you got out of the hole with your max attempt. When you push your knees forward you get a lot more torgue on the knee extensors, putting them in a more optimal position to contract and gives more stretch reflex.

Below or at parallel - enough said

What I feel you can improve on

Low bar - this is the reason you’re bent over, the bar has to stay in line with your feet, so the lower it is on your back the more bentover you’ll be. I would highly advise you to go moderate bar, on top of the rear delts and below the traps. This will keep you more upright and you already have the quads to make it work. With the front squatting you’re already doing, you’ll get to 500 in no time.

Shoes - chucks or flats are decent, but what you really need are weightlifting shoes. These will help keep you more upright and allow you to bring more quads into the lift.

Hamstrings - yours are very tight, so tight you can’t even straighten your legs before your descent. This is also the reason for your minor pelvic rounding and likely back rounding. Just stretch them and do dynamic moves, don’t worry about them, they’re not as big a deal as people think, they don’t actually contract during the lift, what everyone forgets is that they’re a hip extensor AND a knee flexor, so they’re working against each other the entire lift putting them into an isometric contraction. Moral of the story, loosen them up.

What you can do to improve

chain squats - these are a great way to get thru your sticking point and emphasize the glutes which are primarily responsible for the lockout, 45-60 pounds of chain is ideal. Get a 3 foot feeder chain, and buy 3 foot lengths of regular chain, they should weigh about 7.5 lbs each, just buy the feeder chain and one set of chains to start, try it, then adjust from there.

Glute work - since the hamstrings aren’t actually doing much, you need to work your glutes like crazy, hyperextensions, glute bridges, kettlebell swings are all great, good mornings are also excellent, just bring awareness to the issue and that’s often enough.

Hope this helps you out man

Thanks for the advice! I will definitely take what I can into consideration (being a poor University student means I need to limit spending).

That being said I will add in tons of glute work, and stretching, two things I don’t really do currently.

As for the bar positioning, do you have any cues on how to get the bar placed there? Typically when I go to get into my low bar position it just kind of sits there.

I guess this is also related, but today when I went to do squats I was having the hardest time getting my elbows more under the bar and really messing around with my wrists. I tried to go with a thumbless grip, but it just didn’t feel right to me.

Today I went to work on getting a more moderate bar placement and I had no idea where to actual place to bar. Some places felt pretty uncomfortable and when I descended the bar tend to move around. It could just take some getting used to but I was wondering if anyone has any cues on how to get this right. A picture showing placement would also be great.

Though working on staying more upright has been going well. Though I need to take some videos again to make sure of it.

Also when doing front squats I feel a lot of pressure on my wrists, I have never been taught how to front squat so I am not sure if this is normal. Any advice on setting up for the front squat would also be appreciated.

Thanks!