T Nation

Squat Help, Please


Ok, long time creeper, first time poster.

I decided enough excuses yesterday and brought my digital camera into the gym with me in order to film and work on my form to help me get stronger.

Right off the bat I realized, my depth sucks something hairy and smelly.

Second thing I notice is I rock back as I come up. Why and such I have no idea.

Can anyone give me a few pointers and spot some weakness in my squats? going to try and post the videos...


success! ok that was a top out set at 435x2

I have film of preceding sets of 405x3, 365x5, 315x5, 225x5 and 135x5. I will try and upload the 405 and the 365, should I throw down more?

Thanks for any and all help, I really want to fix my squat.




Way too high. Bump the weight down and go till your the crease in hip is below your knees. You may have to stretch and work on mobility to do this. Keep your back arched when go into a lower position.

edit: Cute girl in the background on the second post vid :slight_smile:


That is your girlfriend making a cameo in the background, no :wink:


on the girl...good from far, far from good.

As to my depth, I realized how terrible after watching these. I had been working on my hip flexibility but I fear it is my hamstrings I should be focusing on.

The back arch, any tips on how to build this? I always felt like I kept it strong through out but guess not. I have been doing good mornings, but I haven't been able to really progress the weight.


Keep dropping the bar weight till you hit depth, till you do this fuck all matters. Once you're able to hit depth you might want to try pause squats to teach you tightness in the hole. About the ass back and up thing, I think the weight is coming down towards your toes and you shift it back and up to get your ass and hamstrings back into play. Your stance seems pretty moderate so you might want to sit back a bit a little less. The closer your stance the shorter the sit back and more knee spreading over the toes. That's my 2c.


Good advice from meat: Elbows forward, should help keep you tight


Nothing else matters until you are squatting to a good depth because it's going to change the whole exercise for you. Don't be one of those half-squatters. Next session, see if you can take 225 to parallel then do a lot of reps. Gonna have to learn a new movement pattern for the full squat I think.


This should help you get it right.


A lot of work to do here.

You have no business having that much weight on the bar. I agree with grettiron's advice re: putting 225 on the bar and hitting depth on every rep with that. Maybe 185 even.

Also, as steeljunkie noted, pause squats are a great idea. Sit in the hole for 3 to 5 seconds. Don't pause at parallel. Pause a few inches below, and learn to stay tight, then squeeze yourself up out of the hole, staying tight the whole time.

Start from scratch here, learn to pull yourself deep into the hole, don't let your ego get in the way, and pretty soon you will be burying that weight instead of curtseying to the crowd with it.


Ok, I listened, pulled my head out of my ass, took a breath of fresh air and starting stretching and working on getting deep. I know you guys said 225, but I felt I was making good depth and worked it a bit higher, I got to 285x3, going to post it and the set before and make sure I am on the right track.

just remarkable what that fresh air and stretching does.




Buy some olympic lifting shoes. Much easier to hit depth.


These wall squats are all the rage on some forums right now. But I only see benefits if you're a really wide-stance PL-style squatter. The OP doesn't seem to have the stance to train this move. Correct me if I'm wrong here.


I see zero tightness in your upper back, that is why you are rocking out of the hole- your hips start to rise before your shoulders do which requires you to do that rocking. In the hole you have to push your traps up towards the bar to get it moving, and then engage your hips. you look "stuck" under the weight even at 255, because you aren't keeping your chest up enough and upper back tight enough. in the bottom you have to push your back up into the bar to start it moving. Instead right now you are popping your hips up first and kind of sliding the rest of your body under the bar, which is where that rocking comes from.

weightlifting shoes would be good, your calves are diesel and therefore probably VERY tight. the raised heel of a good shoe would help you out


I wouldn't know

This is the POWER LIFTING forum right? not the OLYMPIC squat thread... lol

I can do that wall technique with a shoulder width stance. The fundamentals of a squat are basically the same regardless of stance width. The main point of the wall squat is to teach to keep the chest up and start the movement with the hips breaking backwards. Like any other advice on message boards the "asker" should decide if the free advice given applies to his or her situation. Since your perspective on the wall squat seems to be from reading about it on other forums why don't you go find a wall and a broomstick and try it out yourself. Then YOU can decide if it sucks for you or not. Sorry if I sound like a dick. :slight_smile:


Your cure: Less and more.

To elaborate: Less weight and more squats (3-4 times a week)

Always focus on the technique. Practice makes a master.


First, thanks for all the help everyone, I do listen to criticism. I think half of my problem is lifting in a commercial gym where if you lift heavy weight or go past a 1/8th squat people think you are doing well. So coming on here and throwing my faults to the e-world is a good idea.

I fixed depth and it shows what I was originally concerned with, the rocking out of the hole. I have spent most of my free time this weekend searching T-Nation and elite for tips on the upper back, but this has mostly led to articles telling me to flex the upper back.

Someone mentioned elbows forward and I came across that while searching. I have tried it and I feel like any tightness I can make I lose when pushing them forward. Any one else had this problem and came up with a solution for it?

As for the shoes, currently dead/squat barefoot (only 1 warning to put on shoes in a year and a half of it!) but only due to my cheap ass not being able to afford ordering shoes solely for squating.

I have tried the wall squat, I have had a lot of trouble with it as my face seems to always want to be inline with my toes or I fall backwards. I will continue it as part of my stretching which I am now doing pre, during and attempting in mornings and night.

The less is more lesson, I plan to squat twice a week with some bar squats on stretch days. Going to give 5/3/1 another go through and I figure squats as accessory on deads with light light weight will be what I need to practice form and build on it.

Thanks again for the help. I will come back to this thread if I think I get any significant progress and want to share or stumble some more.

Appreciate it.


Elbows forward is a cue to get your upper back arched really hard. The way I do it and that I focus on trying to pronate my wrist (which puts my shoulder into external rotation mode which makes a nice shelf and a lot of tightness) and making my chest really really big (arched upper back), while trying to tear the bar apart over my back especially in the bottom.