T Nation

Squatting Help Needed


I'm having continued trouble squatting I've heard people say to 'sit down between your hips' or something like that for squatting. I feel like I am, but it makes no difference. I get to parallel and it's like my hips, hamstrings, glutes, and quads just feel 'empty' for lack of a better word, like they're not even engaged.

It's like that part of my body is just completely missing, as though there's nothing there to flex. I actually can do almost the same weight going Olympic ATG on squats. I get that momentum of starting from the floor, so that when I get close to parallel and all the power evaporates, I've still got enough speed to carry me through to the top of the rep.

My 1RM for deadlifting right now is probably a shade over 500 (This coming week I'll pull 450*3, my previous 1RM in August was 475 when I could barely pull 415*3). I can deadlift almost 200 lbs. more than I can squat.

I can almost bench as much as I can squat. I have no explanation for this whatsoever. I am prioritizing my deadlift this bulk, so I didn't expect my squat to go up a ton, but it's actually gone down some. Here are a few videos:

This is a 3/4 view @ 290 lbs.

This is a 3/4 view @ 300 lbs.

Here's a rear view @ 315 lbs.


All I really see is your butt coming up first (good morning syndrome).

Your right hip was going higher.

With that limited view: Hip release exercise. I would also look into this


Your start up seems to be your week point.

I would also recommend Cage Iso-metrics, if you can find a good coach.

My $.02 anyways.


It looks like you're not quite on your heels enough, you shift forward on to your toes at the end, this is probably the "speed" you're referring to carrying your lift through.

Maybe try squatting on to a low box for a few weeks, it will help you get a little bit more depth, and it will make it easier to focus on sitting back before bending your knees and staying on those heels throughout the lift.

Besides that, have you tried just upping your volume during Squat day a little?
I've had to work up to over 8 heavy working sets to feel a good "pump" from squats before, maybe you're just stronger than you think?

And of course, have you tried eating more?


Your form really doesn't look too bad. You could be a little tighter. However, you are changing direction slowly at the bottom. I bet you don't deadlift slow. Have you ever worked on your explosion out of the hole?


try placing the bar a little lower on your back and put your neck in a more neutral position by moving you chin towards your chest.


There was an article on here one day that talked about and described Goblet Squats. After I read it, I started really getting better at Squats as a whole. I do the Goblet Squats as heavy as I can, then I finish with Zurchers... Maybe its that I am tall and thin, or maybe just stupid :O), but I can't do regular Squats with the barbell the way other guys hammer em out.

As for weight, I only am up to an 85 lb dumbell in each hand when I do Goblets for the last two sets of ten. But I go all the way down each one...no way to cheat when you hold the Dumbells to the sides. Art of Strength also teaches them, where you put heels together, and point feet out at 45, with knees bending over feet.


What has already been said and the 'so you think you can squat' articles on ELITE FTS.


This. Also, your form looks good, but I would suggest you bring your arms out further and get your elbows behind the bar (think placing your arms/hands in a position where, if you tilted your head forward, you could push the bar out in front of your head). Getting the arms in the right position will definitely help you feel more solid, and will allow you to bring up the weight.


Have you tried moving your stance in a bit? The same thing used to happen to me when I squatted with a wide stance. I usually go a little outside shoulder width.

Also I second the recommendation of carrying the bar a bit lower.

Good luck.


I recommend asking someone who definitely knows what they're doing and are willing to help -e.g. MarauderMeat.

Here's a video worth watching: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GtPN-ftmxG8&feature=player_embedded

edit to add amateur opinion: you need to actively push your knees out (credit to MM)


My advice would be to bring the feet in maybe an inch, and point the toes slightly more forwards! as said above i would introduce some box squats for a while to emphasise the weight staying on the heels other than that form is good. Do you do any KB swings? great way to get the posterior kinetic chain "snapping" in during the top of the squat whilst keeping weight on the heels


You seem to be jumping up, you go on your toes when you lock out. Make sure you're not leaning forward, causing the force of the bar to be put on your toes.
Your stance is pretty wide. I don't think that's an issue but you high bar with a wide stance. Normally what people do is low bar and wide stance, or high bar and narrow stance. I would pick one of the two. I've been in your position before. When I started out I did olympic style squatting, which is high bar, ass to grass with a narrow stance. As I kept greedily adding weight to the bar, I was pushing my stance wider and wider while maintaining the high bar (since this was a comfortable position that I've gotten used to) to make the squat easier by using more PC. I felt this was insanely uncomfortable and I might've hurt myself if I kept going like that. I eventually just switched to low bar and changed my stance to a little wider than shoulder width.
Take note this is from my experience and it's not much.


my advice would be to:
Drop 100lbs and work back up - work up to a session 3rm over5-7 sets, then drop down and do something like 5x10
Bring feet closer together, keep toes same angle - i have recently done this and it feels great

When and how are you breathing?


Weightlifting shoes, front squats.


hmm, so the aggregate advice seems to be bring in the stance some, point toes forward more, and try using box (and goblet) squats for a few weeks to focus on getting depth and driving out of the hole on my heels instead of my toes. Also bring grip out a bit too.

As for what some people were asking: I am eating more, I'm bulking currently, and I do kb swinging. I take a breath before I drop and when I hit parallel and begin ascending I exhale.


I'm sure I watched a video where Dave Tate used pushing a car as an example of how to breathe when squatting. I'm sure he said it was best to exhale once the lift is completed or close to being, something to do with support/stability of the core


In the video he also mentioned it was better to breathe through the stomach rather than 'inflating the chest and letting the shoulders rise'


Yes, by breathing into your stomach not your chest you create almost like a balloon on your stomach which allows for better support/active use of your belt if using one.


I don't think it matters, as long as Vulpes's picture is the one coaching me, I'll do damn near anything asked.


This is good advice, but sometimes not understood well. I think an easier way to think of it is the "spread the floor" with your feet. As you hit below parallel and start exploding up, start thinking that your feet need to be pushing away from center. They wont move obviously, and this will help better activate the hip flexors with everything else