T Nation

Struggling with Squats and Deadlifts

Hi guys, I’m new to weight lifting, started doing stronglifts 5x5.
Ive been struggling with the squat and deadlift for a few months now, I can not seem to do either without hurting my lower back. I was told it may be a good idea to record a video and post the link online to get some advice and feedback on my form and technique.
Any help would be greatly appreciated.



You haven’t learned how to maintain a neutral spine and body tension yet.

Concerning both your Deadlift and your Squat: Stop looking at the ground. When you look at the ground, your body tends to want to bend foward, putting some pressure on your spine. Find a spot on the wall in front of you and look at it. That should be a decent start.

Watch the entire series of this:

And this:

Even this:

Ok buddy imma a bit on the tired side bit gonna try and help you out.
Your Deadlift actually looks pretty nice but the weight was so light we really wouldn’t see much break down but, all in all looked pretty solid.

As for your Squat no offense meant here but, it looks pretty terrible. First cue you really need to try and not chicken wing your arms so bad bring them down a bit. This will help let you stick your chest up which is gonna help you maintain a higher upright position with a stronger spine position. Next STOP STARRING AT THE GROUND. Find a spot about eye level or slightly above and don’t take your eyes off of it. Your leaning over very far even for a low bar squat when you actually add weight to the bar your either going to turn your squats into a Good Morning or worse actually dump the bar over head. Either way ot goes all the above until fixed are going to add quite a bit a additional stress to your lower back making it hurt.

Stand 4-6 inches away from a wall and squat with your chest high while breaking at the hips and sit back keeping shins vertical. I guarantee doing what your doing right now you will drag your fore head up and down that wall until you fix it… After a few head bangs you will figure ot out. Do a few before and after each of your Squat sets and then mimick that movement with the Barbell.

Get a cheap ass pair of Chuck Taylors the shoes your Squatting and Deadlifting in are shit.

Work on these things for a month once figured out we can really focus on Screwing the floor and Using your hips to really blast through sticking points. Lastly Deadlifts especially Conventional Deadlifts are going to stress, fatigue, and make your lower back sore learn to love it.

Just make sure it’s soreness and not pain…

I can’t really beat Reed’s recommendations other than “Push your elbows down and forward” while keeping your chest up. That should fix the problem of your elbows being so far back, and should lock the bar/upper back in place. Also, look slightly up instead of down. Looking a tiny bit down while forward is okay for sumo deadlifts, but that is only for a somewhat advanced lifter who’s form is burnt very deeply in.

@The Anchor: thank you mate for those videos, I watched them all and they where really really helpful :slight_smile:

@Reed: Thank you mate for your detailed breakdown of my squat, you have no idea how helpful that was to me. I implemented the things you said today at the gym and I have to admit my squat while still on light weights, has never felt better! I will keep practicing and adding a small amount of weight to the bar each session and post another vid in a few weeks to see how I have come along!

Thanks again mate, really appreciate the time you’ve taken to help me.


No problem man glad to hear we could help man. Look forward to seeing the progress.

Great advice Reed. X2 on the squat looking almost like a good morning. The way you initiate the squat makes it look like you’re going to do a good morning. Your squat shouldn’t begin with a forward lean. You’re losing lower back tension immediately (or maybe you never have it). Watch yourself from :14-:16 to see what I’m talking about. That’s a superfluous/dangerous movement for you that should simply be eliminated. Reed’s advice, incidentally, may have fixed this anyway, since looking down might be causing you to do this.

I didn’t get anything out of the deadlift video.