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Old 03-28-2009, 09:44 PM   #1
Michael Whities
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Squat Form Check

Not a good video or squat at all. I see I'm going to have issues of trying to keep the bar on my back. It's high too. I see that I'm leaning forward a lot and I guess it's due to not being able to hold the bar right.

Tell me what you all think.

Video is work and family safe:

Squat Form Check

Michael
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Old 03-28-2009, 11:06 PM   #2
Justin Lascek
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Re: Squat Form Check

Michael, I respectfully want to tell you that you need a coach. This is not any kind of put-down, but a (good) coach will teach you the movement properly and will help improve the squat over time.

Buuuuuut, in the mean time, it looks like you are trying to blend two different styles of squatting. If you are going to keep the bar where it currently is on your traps, then you must understand you'll be using less musculature. This is an Olympic high bar squat, and the positioning of the bar dictates the mechanics that you will need to use to keep the bar over the mid-foot.

In order to do this short-term, here's what you can do:
- Stand up straight in between your reps instead of hinging your hip awkwardly.
- This will make your torso more vertical than it currently is while standing. It will need to stay vertical so that the bar maintains a position over the mid-foot during your descent and ascent.
- The bottom position of any squat is when the hips are below the knees. You will still need to shove your knees out to help you achieve this depth anatomically.

I don't know what your goals are, but you weigh 290 (if that is recent). Your inexperience with the squat inherently tells me you could improve your strength more than it currently is. Whatever your goal is, squatting is and should be a part of it. Your job is to find a way to improve this squat, and there is no better way to improve it than with a coach.

The next thing is that you (and your coach) should consider is where you place the bar. Regardless of your goal, using more musculature with a different bar position can help make you stronger or help you lose weight or bodyfat more efficiently.

Anyway, good luck, and keep working!
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Old 03-29-2009, 12:17 PM   #3
Gabriel desGarennes
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Re: Squat Form Check

Justin you do realize he is squatting with ONE arm right? I think his torso angle is determined by him not wanting the bar to slide off his back sicne he cannot grab it with his left arm
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Old 03-29-2009, 12:49 PM   #4
Kevin Thomas
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Re: Squat Form Check

It doesn't look that bad to me for a starting effort. I know some of your issues may be a result of only having one arm to balance the bar. I imagine this will result in your needing to hold the bar more firmly and have more involvement with your hand than most people would. Hopefully Glenn or someone who really knows what they are talking about will chime in, but until then here is what I see - for what its worth.

It looks like you are trying for a high bar squat. Assuming that is the case, you will want to keep a more upright back angle if possible. One idea for helping you get this upright angle is one of those manta ray things. I don't have any personal experience using these things, but I have seen people use them and they seem to do what they are supposed to and hold up well. That may help you better balance the bar and get more vertical at the end of the rep. It may be worth a shot trying something like this.

http://www.amazon.com/Manta-Ray-Squa.../dp/B0017DGBY8 w/f/s


The good.
your knees seem to stay over your feet and your foot placement seems good. Also, it appears that your back isn't rounding too much which is good. So you have a lot of positives to work with. You're already doing a better job than most of the few people out there who squat.

Things to work on.
If you can look down more that will help. It looks like you may be looking in a mirror which is not going to do you any favors.

You don't come all the way down on every rep. Work on going just a couple inches deeper. Like was already mentioned, concentrate on shoving your knees out and you should be able to get a little deeper.

Likewise, you don't come all the way up. I realize that you have some bar balancing issues that may require you not get completely vertical, but you should try to get your hips and knees fully extended if possible.

It also appears that the bar comes forward near the end of each rep. This may be a result of your trying not to stand all the way up due to balance issues. You will want to stop doing sliding forward though even if you don't stand all the way up. You are already putting a lot of strain on your lower back by not going all vertical. Sliding forward is only going to increase the leverage and strain on your back.
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Old 03-29-2009, 01:06 PM   #5
David Gray
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Re: Squat Form Check

Michael, I'm going to double up with Justin and say Get a coach, if at all possible. You might want to send this video to Rippetoe at his board (under forums) at www.************. (WFS) He knows coaches everywhere and perhaps could find you the right one. He also knows more than I do, and if he contradicts anything I say, ignore me and listen to him.

It may sound and feel counter-instinctive, but I actually think that once you had a little confidence with a low-bar position, you would a) feel more comfortable than you think with it, since the more horizontal torso will help balance the bar for you, b) would let you engage your left arm more since you need to push it back elbow up, hence balancing the load and work, and c) just plain give you more return for the effort. I think the coach would help you get that confidence.

For self-taught, this is a good effort. Trying to figure out all the pieces by yourself, though, is a real challenge, hence the coach. Keep at it.
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Old 03-30-2009, 07:50 AM   #6
Michael Whities
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Re: Squat Form Check

Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin Lascek View Post
Michael, I respectfully want to tell you that you need a coach. This is not any kind of put-down, but a (good) coach will teach you the movement properly and will help improve the squat over time.

Buuuuuut, in the mean time, it looks like you are trying to blend two different styles of squatting. If you are going to keep the bar where it currently is on your traps, then you must understand you'll be using less musculature. This is an Olympic high bar squat, and the positioning of the bar dictates the mechanics that you will need to use to keep the bar over the mid-foot.

In order to do this short-term, here's what you can do:
- Stand up straight in between your reps instead of hinging your hip awkwardly.
- This will make your torso more vertical than it currently is while standing. It will need to stay vertical so that the bar maintains a position over the mid-foot during your descent and ascent.
- The bottom position of any squat is when the hips are below the knees. You will still need to shove your knees out to help you achieve this depth anatomically.

I don't know what your goals are, but you weigh 290 (if that is recent). Your inexperience with the squat inherently tells me you could improve your strength more than it currently is. Whatever your goal is, squatting is and should be a part of it. Your job is to find a way to improve this squat, and there is no better way to improve it than with a coach.

The next thing is that you (and your coach) should consider is where you place the bar. Regardless of your goal, using more musculature with a different bar position can help make you stronger or help you lose weight or bodyfat more efficiently.

Anyway, good luck, and keep working!
Justin,

I'd never take it that way. I posted it here for honest feedback. I appreciate it.

You may not have noticed but, I only have one-arm so, it's hard for me to stand up straight and keep the bar on my back. I notice I am leaning a lot more than I should. I might be able to stand up straighter. At least with the bar only, I felt I was standing straighter. I'll try again soon with no weights and film it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gabriel desGarennes View Post
Justin you do realize he is squatting with ONE arm right? I think his torso angle is determined by him not wanting the bar to slide off his back sicne he cannot grab it with his left arm
Gabriel,

Thanks for pointing that out. I might try it at a different angle next time so it shows more. I figured a few people might already knew I only had one-arm.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Thomas View Post
It doesn't look that bad to me for a starting effort. I know some of your issues may be a result of only having one arm to balance the bar. I imagine this will result in your needing to hold the bar more firmly and have more involvement with your hand than most people would. Hopefully Glenn or someone who really knows what they are talking about will chime in, but until then here is what I see - for what its worth.

It looks like you are trying for a high bar squat. Assuming that is the case, you will want to keep a more upright back angle if possible. One idea for helping you get this upright angle is one of those manta ray things. I don't have any personal experience using these things, but I have seen people use them and they seem to do what they are supposed to and hold up well. That may help you better balance the bar and get more vertical at the end of the rep. It may be worth a shot trying something like this.

http://www.amazon.com/Manta-Ray-Squa.../dp/B0017DGBY8 w/f/s


The good.
your knees seem to stay over your feet and your foot placement seems good. Also, it appears that your back isn't rounding too much which is good. So you have a lot of positives to work with. You're already doing a better job than most of the few people out there who squat.

Things to work on.
If you can look down more that will help. It looks like you may be looking in a mirror which is not going to do you any favors.

You don't come all the way down on every rep. Work on going just a couple inches deeper. Like was already mentioned, concentrate on shoving your knees out and you should be able to get a little deeper.

Likewise, you don't come all the way up. I realize that you have some bar balancing issues that may require you not get completely vertical, but you should try to get your hips and knees fully extended if possible.

It also appears that the bar comes forward near the end of each rep. This may be a result of your trying not to stand all the way up due to balance issues. You will want to stop doing sliding forward though even if you don't stand all the way up. You are already putting a lot of strain on your lower back by not going all vertical. Sliding forward is only going to increase the leverage and strain on your back.
Kevin,

I appreciate that. I'll try to find out more about the Manta Ray too and I'll work on getting lower. Not sure if it's my legs or my belly but, I'll dig deeper to get deeper next time.

I'm glad I'm doing a few things right, I'll take your suggestions and work on them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Gray View Post
Michael, I'm going to double up with Justin and say Get a coach, if at all possible. You might want to send this video to Rippetoe at his board (under forums) at www.************. (WFS) He knows coaches everywhere and perhaps could find you the right one. He also knows more than I do, and if he contradicts anything I say, ignore me and listen to him.

It may sound and feel counter-instinctive, but I actually think that once you had a little confidence with a low-bar position, you would a) feel more comfortable than you think with it, since the more horizontal torso will help balance the bar for you, b) would let you engage your left arm more since you need to push it back elbow up, hence balancing the load and work, and c) just plain give you more return for the effort. I think the coach would help you get that confidence.

For self-taught, this is a good effort. Trying to figure out all the pieces by yourself, though, is a real challenge, hence the coach. Keep at it.
David,

I agree. I need a coach for a lot of things, it's just currently not an option unless someone wants to mentor me. I'll see about finding someone that does/has oly lifted before.

On your suggestion B: I don't have a left arm, otherwise I would be more vertical. I just don't want the bar and weights to slide off my back.

--

Thank you all for your comments and suggestions. I'll take them all noted to my next session and see about fixing what I can and try to see if I can actually stand more upright. (I had replied more in depth to everyone but, my system locked up and I closed out Mozilla on accident. So I'm sorry that I didn't reply to everything everyone stated or suggested. I'm at work and don't have to much time to reply in depth again. Please understand I appreciate everyone's post.)

Michael
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Old 03-30-2009, 11:23 AM   #7
Jonah Scott
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Re: Squat Form Check

As a newb myself, I am always trying to learn by watching videos and trying to figure out what the expert's critique would be. The responses in this thread confused me though.

If I hadn't seen them, I would have said that Michael needed to get a few inches more depth, shove his knees out a bit more, and remember to look down. But my overall impression was that it was a decent squat -- far better than many of the newb vids posted in the Rippetoe squat check compilation. Obviously the bar is too high, but that is clearly a compensation for having only one arm, and so that's a different issue.

But I see that 2 veteran responders said he needed to get a coach, which to me implies that he's missing almost all of the fundamentals of the squat, which (to my own newb eyes anyway) he clearly is not. What am I missing here? Or were you guys saying that he needed to get a coach specifically because he is squatting with one arm?

Thanks for any clarification,
Jonah
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Old 03-30-2009, 11:41 AM   #8
Jacob Cloud
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Re: Squat Form Check

Jonah - I think your advice would have been great, personally. I will say that the general uneasiness which Michael was portraying in the vid was probably one reason why a coach was suggested right off the bat. Generally, when you see someone squatting feeling VERY uncomfortable, you worry that they might hurt themselves and a coach could be helpful. Michael isn't locking out between reps, shakes a bit, and is obviously uneasy. But, as Gabe said, the dude has one arm! I'm damn proud of the guy for getting under the bar, learning to squat, and then posting it up on here. I seriously think that's more than I could do if I tried a one armed BB BS.

Michael - doing good, man. I think all the advice in this thread is useful so far. It will certainly take some time to get the right groove for your particular situation, but I think if you stick with it, you'll find squats very fulfilling. Patience is key - do what you need to do to squat safely and then worry about getting strong at it.

I think deep air squats will be an excellent tool for you as well. Also, you might want to spend some time in the third world squat position a few times a day.
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Old 03-30-2009, 12:31 PM   #9
David Gray
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Re: Squat Form Check

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Whities View Post
On your suggestion B: I don't have a left arm, otherwise I would be more vertical. I just don't want the bar and weights to slide off my back.
Mike, copy, it's hard to tell from the videos how much arm you have and how much control you have of it. My thinking is that in the low-bar position your back is more horizontal for most of the movement, and the bar rests in a natural pocket on your back--if you can extend your left arm to the rear. If you can't, I'm barking up the wrong tree.

There are various devices available for lifters that hold the bar on the shoulders, meant for specialized training and for those with injured shoulders. One of those might be ideal for you if it gives you the stability you need. Granted, your shoulder girdle won't get quite as much out of the squat, but your trunk and and legs will still have to carry the burden, and that's 90% of the gain. Others more knowledgable than me might be able to provide a link to one of those rigs.

Good luck and keep at it, between your will and the guys on the board much smarter than me, a way will be found.
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Old 03-30-2009, 12:51 PM   #10
Michael Whities
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Re: Squat Form Check

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Thomas View Post
It looks like you are trying for a high bar squat. Assuming that is the case, you will want to keep a more upright back angle if possible. One idea for helping you get this upright angle is one of those manta ray things. I don't have any personal experience using these things, but I have seen people use them and they seem to do what they are supposed to and hold up well. That may help you better balance the bar and get more vertical at the end of the rep. It may be worth a shot trying something like this.

http://www.amazon.com/Manta-Ray-Squa.../dp/B0017DGBY8 w/f/s
I've found a few videos on youtube and the manta ray device doesn't really look like it'd be something that's help 'hold' the bar on my back. It appears that it would be a high bar too. I guess the worst thing that would happen if I bought it, is I'd waste 40 bucks on it (I've done worse. :P).

Manta Ray Squat(WFS)

I'll call around and see if any gyms have one that I could try out and see how it works. I'll keep you posted on what I find out.

Michael
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