T Nation

Squats: Slanted Bar During Descent from First Rep Onwards


I have this problem and tried to fix this for one month, but to no avail. Basically when I squat downwards, the bar will drop to my left at the bottom of the squat, and the bar will remain slanted throughout the set. There is a feeling that my upper body is ‘dipping’ into the left hip more, resulting in the imbalance. The following are the observations I made after recording countless videos with different weights, technique adjustments, video speed, etc,

  1. My right elbow is more flared compared to the left, and my hypothesis is that the left shoulder is not tight enough, resulting in dropping the bar to the left. Tried to fixed this by flaring the elbow out, pulling the bar down at the right. While this ensures the bar stay straighter, I still feel the dipping sensation in my left hip at the bottom.

  2. Found out about lateral hip shift. My left hip flexors are extremely tight, and I might be shifting away from the left, resultingin bar dropping to the left. However I could not see the hip shift in my videos, or I just need additional pairs of eyes to help me out.

I have noticed that the tendency to drop the bar happens during sets with empty bar too. It just get worse in heavier sets. And after a lot of practices with my squats, my left hip flexor is even tighter than before.

Heavier set

Lighter set

I hope people here can help out. It is halting my whole progress. Thank you.


Your hips are shifting slightly to the right. I do that sometimes (to either side) and the only solution is to consciously focus on squatting straight. If you physically can’t squat without shifting to one side then I don’t know what to tell you. If your hip flexors are tight then release them, squatting can tighten them more because they tighten as you descend. Your glutes could be tight too.

About bar position, you say that you are able to fix it but still feel “the dipping sensation”. So focus on fixing both at the same time. Releasing your pecs (particularly pec minor) might help if shoulder ROM is an issue here.


Check out a video from Juggernaut Training Systems, Fixing Hip Shift in the Squat.

They have the best videos on the squat, period; they have a squat school series. I see you squat with the “Rippetoe Style” so I will warn you that Juggernaut does not espouse the same principles.

Maybe you need to ignore conventional wisdom, squat with the empty bar, and actually look in a mirror so you can see what is happening in real time. Or get a physical therapist to help you in real time, like in the video, if you have the means and resources of course.


Thanks. I tried squeezing the left elbow super hard, and the bar has no chance to move at all even I am in standing position. It definitely helps alot, and I have a spotter who said im all good. But I still have little tendency to dip into left at the bottom of squat. perhaps thats because of the hip shift.


Yep i saw that video. Hence I suspected I have a little hip shift.

Rippetoe squat feels just nice. It makes my lower back feels a lot better, thanks to the less knee forward travel and also the hip drive. But I’m a beginner so what more I know lol.

Physical therapist is definitely my next consideration if all cues and stretching doesn’t help.


I don’t have any advice for you, but your squats reminded me of this old geezer’s.


This guy can show you how to stretch your hips.

The Frog Stretch is yoga approved. If you add a band it’s awful.

Everybody says getting in the 90/90 position and breathing deeply is good too.
Ultra nerd style

Or using a band


All the above stuff sounds right on i would check that first , another idea would be to measure your arm and leg lengths. Maybe one side is shorter, so its a normal movement pattern for one side to shift or dip.