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View Full Version : Squat form help - hips shifting laterally



Jorge Sanchez
12-21-2008, 10:48 AM
As you can see my hips shift slightly to the left towards the bottom of the lift.

A little bit of background: I broke my left ankle about 4-5 years ago and haven't regained complete flexibility. I also had a bad fall which left a tennis ball sized lump on my right glute - a doctor has told me that it's scarring on the muscle. I have no feeling in the area.

I think it started out as a flexibility issue, but since I haven't addressed it's become a serious muscle imbalance. My right leg is noticeably larger than the left (although this is improving) and my left spinal erector is noticeably larger than the right.

Any fixes/suggestions about this problem would be more than appreciated. General critiques are also welcome.

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Another video will follow.

Reko
12-21-2008, 10:55 AM
Not gonna lie man I'm not seeing it.

Jorge Sanchez
12-21-2008, 11:30 AM
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Watch my hips/knees at the bottom of the lift. You can also see that the bar isn't level. I think it's worse in the heavier sets.

Reko
12-21-2008, 11:36 AM
That is incredibly subtle. I think with heavier sets, as much as we try to keep form it never is perfect and some slight imbalance will cause the form we use to shift to where we are strongest. So, that being said, I don't really know what could help fix that other than just mental queues to try to not let it happen. That's all I've got.

Notorious
12-21-2008, 12:42 PM
It looks like the bar might be slightly uneven on your back (look at 48 seconds, 2nd vid in first post). When you walk it out it looks like the bar is a little unbalanced, but that might be the camera angle.

CleverName
12-21-2008, 01:51 PM
Squatting in better shoes/barefoot might help a bit. What you can do is try to just put more focus on your right foot but still trying to push evenly, if that makes sense. For me I have an uneven shrug so when I have a barbell over my head my left side sinks down a bit, so I have to shift my left shoulder upward to correct the imbalance, and it takes a conscious effort each time. So practice doing that, maybe even weightless, and see if you can maybe correct it.

Also the weight on that last set is very heavy; it's pushing your back down and you're almost GMing the squat. Lower that weight and lift with better form! Other than that your back looks pretty tight and you have pretty good depth!

Ben Moore
12-21-2008, 02:43 PM
Get out of the cross trainers/basketball shoes. Even if they feel ok, your feet are shifting because of the cushioning. Get some flat soled shoes (sambas or chucks) where you can actually push out on your feet and not shift. I think it will help with your hips.

View 1
12-21-2008, 02:48 PM
It was most notable on the last video, I have to agree that ever since I started to squat and deadlift in my socks, I feel alot more balanced than I did in shoes.

The other alternative is to just give up squating and just leg press instead!!!!:D:D:D

mikesbench
12-21-2008, 04:38 PM
I'd also recommend trying to loosen up that scar tissue you mentioned on your glute. Try some foam rolling and rolling on a tennis ball to break up that scar tissue and of course try to stretch the area out and gain some flexibility. If you can get equal ROM on both sides it's more likely that the tight side won't pull and force your hips to shift.

Notorious
12-21-2008, 04:46 PM
Oh, and weightlifting shoes (with a heel) help tremendously with flexibility.

Jorge Sanchez
12-21-2008, 05:08 PM
That is incredibly subtle. I think with heavier sets, as much as we try to keep form it never is perfect and some slight imbalance will cause the form we use to shift to where we are strongest. So, that being said, I don't really know what could help fix that other than just mental queues to try to not let it happen. That's all I've got.

That's what I've been telling myself so far, but I'd like to correct the issue if possible. I think it may be more obvious in person. I was training with Sidior from this site and he noticed it right away.


It looks like the bar might be slightly uneven on your back (look at 48 seconds, 2nd vid in first post). When you walk it out it looks like the bar is a little unbalanced, but that might be the camera angle.

I think the bar is usually pretty centred when I unrack, but I think it has a tendency to shift when I squat. I meant to put a bright piece of tape on the middle as a reference point for the video but I forgot to bring it with me. I'll try to keep that in mind though.


Squatting in better shoes/barefoot might help a bit. What you can do is try to just put more focus on your right foot but still trying to push evenly, if that makes sense. For me I have an uneven shrug so when I have a barbell over my head my left side sinks down a bit, so I have to shift my left shoulder upward to correct the imbalance, and it takes a conscious effort each time. So practice doing that, maybe even weightless, and see if you can maybe correct it.

Also the weight on that last set is very heavy; it's pushing your back down and you're almost GMing the squat. Lower that weight and lift with better form! Other than that your back looks pretty tight and you have pretty good depth!

What's weird is that it feels like I'm actually pushing more with my right leg (maybe pushing my body to the left?). I'm definitely going to try to concentrate more now that I'm aware of it.

You're right about dropping the weight. I just reset my squats actually, but I wanted to get some heavier sets on video to see how badly my hips shift.


Get out of the cross trainers/basketball shoes. Even if they feel ok, your feet are shifting because of the cushioning. Get some flat soled shoes (sambas or chucks) where you can actually push out on your feet and not shift. I think it will help with your hips.

You're right. I didn't realize how bad the shoes were until I saw those videos.


I'd also recommend trying to loosen up that scar tissue you mentioned on your glute. Try some foam rolling and rolling on a tennis ball to break up that scar tissue and of course try to stretch the area out and gain some flexibility. If you can get equal ROM on both sides it's more likely that the tight side won't pull and force your hips to shift.

Good advice. I've tried before but it feels incredibly weird since I have no feeling. I'll try it again.


It was most notable on the last video, I have to agree that ever since I started to squat and deadlift in my socks, I feel alot more balanced than I did in shoes.

The other alternative is to just give up squating and just leg press instead!!!!:D:D:D

Leg press it is :thumbup:


Oh, and weightlifting shoes (with a heel) help tremendously with flexibility.

Yeah, I've been looking for some squat shoes but I'm hesitant to order off the internet because sizing might be off. I'll have to see if I can find a store nearby. That said, I'd like to correct any flexibility issues rather than relying on shoes as a crutch.

CleverName
12-21-2008, 05:19 PM
What kind of squat shoes? If you're going with Olympic lifting shoes with the raised heel just go with whatever your dress shoe size is; worked for me!

Jorge Sanchez
12-21-2008, 05:28 PM
What kind of squat shoes? If you're going with Olympic lifting shoes with the raised heel just go with whatever your dress shoe size is; worked for me!

What brand did you go with?

littleman19
12-21-2008, 05:34 PM
i know what you're talking about and i can see it in the video. i have the same issue from time to time. for me, it's because my left abductor area is less flexible than my right side so i just work on stretching it by doing deep squats without weight and focusing on pushing my knees out evenly. if you have the same problem as me, you probably feel like at the bottom your right side can go deeper but your left side can't so you have to shift a little left to compensate which makes the bottom of the lift difficult.

CleverName
12-21-2008, 08:33 PM
What brand did you go with?

I went with Adistars: http://www.dynamic-eleiko.com/products/adiStarFRS.html

Fuzzy doesn't like them though! I have nothing to compare them to though.

Jorge Sanchez
12-22-2008, 08:41 AM
i know what you're talking about and i can see it in the video. i have the same issue from time to time. for me, it's because my left abductor area is less flexible than my right side so i just work on stretching it by doing deep squats without weight and focusing on pushing my knees out evenly. if you have the same problem as me, you probably feel like at the bottom your right side can go deeper but your left side can't so you have to shift a little left to compensate which makes the bottom of the lift difficult.

I'm definitely going to work on my flexibility a lot more. Thanks for your experience with it.


I went with Adistars: http://www.dynamic-eleiko.com/products/adiStarFRS.html

Fuzzy doesn't like them though! I have nothing to compare them to though.

I'll definitely check those out. Thanks.





I posted my videos on Rippetoe's Q&A and he told me that I need to go see a therapist to deal with the injury on my glute (which I was planning to do in the new year anyways). He seems to think that is the primary cause.

Keep the input coming guys. I've got lots of good pointers so far, and I always want to work on perfecting my form.

Ben Moore
12-22-2008, 09:22 AM
Also check bsolympicgym.com for the do winn shoes - less expensive and a good shoe.

Travis Bell
12-22-2008, 10:01 AM
Acutally looks pretty good to me.

On some of the lighter sets your knees do come in a little, but the basketball shoes is the first thing I noticed. Get rid of those. Along with the cushioning, they'll also just get in the way of your ankle flexibility because of the higher top on them and thick material (chucks are high, but don't have thick material)

On a side note, if you sit up a little more instead of bending over so far, you'll find it easier to get deeper as well as being able to use your glutes and hams earlier in the lift

Jorge Sanchez
12-22-2008, 10:12 AM
On a side note, if you sit up a little more instead of bending over so far, you'll find it easier to get deeper as well as being able to use your glutes and hams earlier in the lift

You mean use less forward lean? I do have a bad habit of bending too far forward, especially on heavier sets.

Progress
12-22-2008, 10:25 AM
I squat in high top chucks and I have a very similar problem when squatting. I think I go deeper than you, but I definitely shift laterally when I'm at about parallel on the way up. It doesn't bother me that much and unless it prevents me from progressing I'm not going to do anything about it, FWIW.

Also, when I first started training squats my knees would buckle on my way up. I've made the conscious effort to keep them out and maybe that is where my problem (and possibly yours) lies.

Jorge Sanchez
12-22-2008, 10:32 AM
I squat in high top chucks and I have a very similar problem when squatting. I think I go deeper than you, but I definitely shift laterally when I'm at about parallel on the way up. It doesn't bother me that much and unless it prevents me from progressing I'm not going to do anything about it, FWIW.

Also, when I first started training squats my knees would buckle on my way up. I've made the conscious effort to keep them out and maybe that is where my problem (and possibly yours) lies.

Depth is an issue I struggle with. I always thought I was going deeper, but it looks like I'm just barely hitting parallel, if not a little high. I really can't get any deeper with that stance, so I'm going to try bringing it in slightly because I know I can get deeper if I do (I just lose some power out of my hips).

It's also much easier for me to push my knees out with a narrower stance. With a wider stance, I find it's difficult to sit back properly when I force my knees out too hard.

Thanks for the pointer.

Painzer
12-23-2008, 12:12 AM
Jorge, I think they look good but I noticed a few things. 1. the shoes, but they've already covered that. 2. Like someone else says, you are bending too much at the waist on the way up... try to look up and push your chest up and out of the hole. keep your elbows back and drive it upwards. The last thing was something you've already recognized as well, your depth. You could definitely use a few more inches... some were at parallel but a bunch were just above it.

Other than that, I think everyone has small stability issues with heavier weights. Knees tend to bend inward and get a little wobbly. Nothing too wrong with that... I had a hard time noticing what you called an imbalance...

Sensei
12-23-2008, 08:12 PM
I didn't read all of the replies, but some of the suggestions sounded good.

Your hips shift to the right as you descend. You are favoring your right leg and that's why it's bigger. Probably because of the ankle issue you mentioned.

I'd work on flexibility and maybe try some unilateral work - not to replace your squat work, just as accessory work for a while until you feel more secure putting stress on your left side.

Chalky Palms
12-23-2008, 08:31 PM
Didn't see much but if your knees are moving in then you probably have weak adductors. Your muscles will shift to find the strongest support system to extend with, sometimes your knees will move in to incorporate more of your quads into the lift. Do some bad girls.

Also try pointing your toes straight ahead if you can, and push out the sides of your shoes.

bill
12-29-2008, 12:42 PM
I didn't read all of the replies, but some of the suggestions sounded good.

Your hips shift to the right as you descend. You are favoring your right leg and that's why it's bigger. Probably because of the ankle issue you mentioned.

I'd work on flexibility and maybe try some unilateral work - not to replace your squat work, just as accessory work for a while until you feel more secure putting stress on your left side.

This and new shoes maybe just boots or chucks,
Matt Rhodes talks about staying tight in the hole and I think that would help you a lot.

Maybe some pause squats with lighter wt, you have to stay tight on those.

Good luck with it, just keep squating and mentally working on the form and it will get better.

Jorge Sanchez
12-29-2008, 12:46 PM
Thanks for all the tips, guys. I'm going to drop the weight and really work on my form for the next few workouts, while working my way back up.

I went to what I thought was a weightlifting store (they had kettlebells in the window) to pick up some squat shoes, but it turns out it was a boxing store. It looks like I'll have to order some shoes over the internet - I'm still a little hesitant about sizing. If anyone has a 12-13 shoe size and wears Olympic shoes, I'd appreciate it if you could let me know what size and brand you're using.

ELmx479
12-29-2008, 03:54 PM
I know when I squat my hips are not centered between my feet when i'm in the hole, i'm over to the right slightly. I noticed this just by doing squats with no weight to warm up and stretch. I think its due to my left leg being longer than my right. I can't even notice on a video so there isn't much I can do.

Jorge Sanchez
12-29-2008, 04:33 PM
If it's due to a difference in the length of your legs you can simply raise the shoe on your shorter leg.

ELmx479
12-29-2008, 04:37 PM
If it's due to a difference in the length of your legs you can simply raise the shoe on your shorter leg.

Ya, that is true. I started doing squats bare foot and I like that much better. I will have to try putting a mat under that foot.

Jorge Sanchez
12-29-2008, 04:40 PM
I wouldn't recommend that. You don't want something soft and slippery under your feet when you're squatting.

ZenMonkey
12-29-2008, 09:30 PM
http://www.pendlaybarbell.com/shoes.html

http://www.gwenweightlifting.blogspot.com/

The Do Wins are a bit wider and I went 2 sizes down. From a 43 to a 41

The Ristos are really high quality and a bit narrower than the DoWins but not as narrow as adidas. I am 2 sizes down in those as well- 43-41. You can also have them custom made for no extra cost.

Notorious
12-29-2008, 09:45 PM
People say to get your weightlifting shoes the same size as your dress shoes.

Also no biggie if they are slightly too big. You can just out on an extra pair of socks and they'll tighten up.

ZenMonkey
12-29-2008, 09:59 PM
People say to get your weightlifting shoes the same size as your dress shoes.

Also no biggie if they are slightly too big. You can just out on an extra pair of socks and they'll tighten up.

And you can always crank down the velcro.