T Nation

Stalling Now: Form

Basically these are my lifts :
Bench Press: 65kg 4x5
Overhead Press 52kg 3x5 (Had to put back to 45kg, more about that below)
Deadlift: 120kg 1x4 (I am terrible at these)
Squat: 107.5kg: Had to go back from 120kg because of depth problems, form is ok now, not perfect but a lot better.

Basically i was lifting today and assessing my Overhead Press. Last week I realised that i was leaning too far back when i was doing the lift and i was using my back and top of the chest too much to lift the weight up. I stood up straighter today and tried to lift using just the shoulder without any back drive, it was much harder but i felt it more even at 45kg. It just feels bad that my progress is not great on this lift.

Squat: I am not too worried about these.

Bench Press: Has been improving and I have fixed the depth issue on this.

Deadlift: I fucking hate these, i am so bad at them, maybe because my form on the squat previously was not hitting parallel, but still i should be lifting more by now.

I just want some advice really, am i doing quite badly? I have earnt a base of strength from Starting Strength, but the technique issues i faced i’ve needed to fix to move ahead.

Post videos of lifts if you really want help.

You also might want to consider evaluating your diet and sleeping schedule as well.

[quote]amayakyrol wrote:
Post videos of lifts if you really want help.[/quote]

I will post vids next time I lift, I don’t have any at the moment.

Will do, I just find the military Press really damn difficult. I started with the bar (not even being able to lift that) 6 months ago and have found that my form has gradually deteriorated. I tend to lean back as the set goes on, using the top of my chest and front delts more, when this is the wrong way to do it.

For deadlift, I have trouble locking out at the top.

I just feel like these are stupid mistakes that could have been corrected earlier, I could have got injured.

One thing that really helped me with the OHP (not that mine is impressive) was being told to squeeze my glutes hard throughout the lift - much more stable that way.

Squeeze your glutes and entire ab/core like your life depends on it for OHP. It helps to prevent excessive curving of the back and fixes just about all form issues.

If your form is breaking down and you started with good/perfect form, then the only reasonable explanation is that the weight is too heavy for you. Lower the weight.

If you find it difficult locking the top on a deadlift, then it’s either your back or your hands. If it was your back, then you would have injured yourself at some point, so I’d wager it’s your hand/grip. Grip strength is incredibly (I daresay most for beginners) important. Lots of people can deadlift anywhere from 50-100+ with the use of a mixed grip on a deadlift. For example, I currently do 5 reps at 205 with a double overhand grip. I can do working sets of 280 with a mixed grip and have a 1rm of 320. I have never used chalk or wrist straps, but from what I know chalk can add 20-40lb to your max, while wrist straps can add a helluva lot more to your overhand grip, seeing as how using a mixed grip gives you close to 70-80lb. Imagine not having to mind your grip at all.

In short, grip is enormously important for the deadlift. I think your grip is your weak point, and that’s why you’re having such a difficult time improving your deadlift. Sure as hell is the only reason, imo, why I can’t deadlift 300+ for working sets right now. Grip strength takes a whole lot longer to improve.

The only way to improve your grip is, obviously, working on them. Lots of ways to do that, but probably the most practical one is doing DB rows. Do perfect form DB rows where you’re not hitching anything and using entirely your back. Then do really heavy DB rows where you have to throw your body (within limit) into it. You’ll know whether the weight is too heavy or not by whether your shoulder suddenly feels anything. If your shoulder feels even mildly uncomfortable, then the weight is too much and as such your form is breaking down terribly. You’re still using your back to pull the weight up, but you’re also using your body to force out power that wouldn’t exist otherwise.

I tried doing static holds at the top and lots of lower weight deadlift to absolutely no avail for improving grip strength. My grip only improved (a 2 reps of 250 with a double overhand was the best I got) after getting to doing 95lb DB rows as described above.

Weighted chin/pull-ups and being able to do chin/pull-ups for a number of reps (14+) will also help considerably.

To underscore the grip suggestion, CT had grip work as the first phase on his Keep Your Chin-Up article.

Edit: my vocabulary sucks when I’m tired.