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Old 09-13-2009, 07:44 AM   #1
Brian Ho
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Location: Fremont  CA
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Squat and DL form check

Hey guys,

First time posting here. Thanks for the help.

Could you please look over my squat form? In both videos I'm doing 200lb back squats (which is very difficult for me) and I think my form is breaking down.
I manage 4 reps, but I feel my back is rounding on all the reps especially the last one. I think my depth is good.
The camera angle is worse on this one, but I feel my back is still rounding slightly. Also, my knees track out in front of my toes on the last two reps.

Is it ok for the knees to go out in front of the toes like that? I mainly focus on keeping my back as tight as I can (I still round though) and my butt tight. I haven't been feeling any pain. If you do not feel pain and you're doing "heavy" weight does that mean your technique is sound. I've completely relaxed my back before (on accident) and it hurt a LOT.


Here's some background if helpful. I weigh 140lbs and started SS about a month ago. My squat started at 135 and right now it is at 200. I've been increasing 5 lbs per workout, but I will probably reset soon because that 200lb squat was killer.


Here is my deadlift. It's at 115lbs. Basically I've been greedy and I tried to start off doing 135lb deadlifts, but my technique was terrible and it would just hurt my back and I obtained no gains. It sucks cuz I started SS a month ago and I still can't deadlift I've started over and hopefully this time my form is good.

I'm not very flexible (can't touch my toes) so deadlifts are hard for me. Also, I find I have to lean very far forward in order to keep my scapula in front of the bar. Is this good form?

Thanks guys. Sorry it was so long. I appreciate it.
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Old 09-13-2009, 09:06 AM   #2
Duey Lai
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Re: Squat and DL form check

ya your back is definetly rounding on your first squat video. dont start to lower into the hole until you have SET YOUR BACK! it also might be a flexibility issue so try some hamstring stretches
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Old 09-15-2009, 12:59 AM   #3
Johnny Miglino
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Re: Squat and DL form check

Your form looks good except for your back rounding and as a result, it looks like you might be rolling onto your toes a little bit. I would cut the load increase in half, drop down 20lbs and focus very carefully on keeping that lumbar curve tight. Imagine pushing your chest up and out and butt back, resulting in the super tight lower back lumbar curve. Your butt should go out first on the way down and on the way back up (almost like a stripper move). Also imagine doing a squat against an imaginary wall, so that your upper back and butt are moving up and down the wall, against it at all times. DRIVE through the heels. You should be able to wiggle your toes at all times throughout the workout. Your knees look fine, but it's hard to see how far apart they are. Just make sure that, from a vertical standpoint, they are right above or even a little bit outside your feet.

In the future, it would help if you recorded a 3/4 view. Have your cameraman stand at between 10 and 11 o'clock (if you're looking forward), so he's recording you diagonally.

I'll study the deadlift tomorrow, I'm falling asleep.

Hope this helped buddy, keep up the good work!

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Old 09-15-2009, 01:29 PM   #4
Robert Callahan
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Re: Squat and DL form check

The bar looks too high on your back. If you are doing SS you need to move that bar down off your traps and onto your shoulders.

To be honest your squats don't look half bad. I think you could stand to shove your knees out harder, try to split the ground apart with your feet while squatting. Some lifting shoes would help also. Reading the active hip article in the CF Journal may help keep that lower back a bit tighter also.

There is no reason you should be Deadlifting that light. If you can Squat 200 you can easily DL that unless you have a history of back problems? Seems to me you are way over thinking things.

Also you could benefit from gaining 20-30lbs. Eat more and keep working hard and you will get there
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Old 09-16-2009, 09:14 AM   #5
Brandon Tullos
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Re: Squat and DL form check

Okay first let me say your form is not as bad as some i have seen that is for sure. However, a couple of things that you need to try and work on. For one low bar technique. This is tought in olympic certs basically the bar rests across the shoulder blades and when you are lifting the upper body is bent over with the back and core staying tight the whole time. It may feel tight on your shoulders but that means your wedged in their tight.
Your weight also goes forward a little on some lifts. A couple of things to try to fix this. First, try lifting without shoes. Most shoes are built with large air pockets or springs in the heel which makes the weight go forward. Second get against a wall and place your toes 3-4 inches from the wall and place your hands stretched out above your head on the wall and try to squat. This will keep your weight from going forward because your knees will hit the wall. Practice on reaching your butt back first. Try these and then make another video when you feel more comfortable. If you need i can make you a video with low bar technique and show you.
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Old 09-16-2009, 09:05 PM   #6
Marie Poukalova
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Re: Squat and DL form check

I am most worried about your lower back. There is no need to worry about high bar vs. low bar and your shoes when your back is rounding. Lumbar curve is most important, so address that before you do anything else. To answer your question- no, just because you aren't in pain does not mean you are doing it right. People squat improperly and deadlift with rounded back for years- but then they wonder why they have back issues down the road.

You have to fix your squat from square one. Go back to your air squat and tape that. You need to stay tight, actively push the hips back first and keep your chest up. Don't let your shoulders round- pretend someone is pulling you by a string from your upper back. If you are still rounding, go ahead and raise your arms and keep them up throughout your squat. Only when you have a solid squat with a nice arch in your back should you load the bar.

Once you do decide to load the bar- make sure you pick the bar off the rack with an arched back and your chest up. In your video, you picked the back up off the rack with your chest sagging and your back lazy. After than, focus on the same points as your air squat. Chest up, back tight, tight midsection, heels, knees over feet, below parallel, ect.

It might seem like I am blowing it out of proportion, but the heavier you go the worse your back will get. So fix it now before progressing to heavier weights.
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