View Full Version : Squat form help

03-05-2009, 10:18 PM
I just watched a resonably good video of myself squatting for the first time and it was very very ugly. My lower back rounds almost right away and my upper back rounds at depth. Also I end up leaning forwards a ton. I have read over and over that I am supposed to sit back and keep a tight arch etc but I have no clue how to go about doing that. I have seen the squat Rx videos and know what I should be doing, I just have no idea how to make my body do it. If anyone has any suggestions I would greatly appreciate it.


The box is ~1 inch below parallel but the angle sucks, anyways I am sure you can all see how bad the form is. Any help would be great

03-05-2009, 11:24 PM
Not that I'm an expert by any means, but my understanding is that the lower back rounding is caused by either lack of hamstring flexibility or a weak lower back. Maybe the upper back rounding could be solved by looking up.

Maybe I'm wrong, but to me it looks like you loose tightness while you're walking the weight out, I'm guessing because you're trying to find the box.

03-06-2009, 12:25 AM
Your knees come really far forward too. I think that's causing some of your issues. You want to push your butt back 10-12", then break your knees and push your knees out as you sit back more. Your knees are going to want to move. Make sure you push them out instead of letting them go forward.

Try sitting on a box. Then move your feet out in front so your shins are angle back at you. Now try to squat up off the box. You can only do it if you fire your glutes first. If you fire your quads first, you won't be able to get up. Once you can fire off the box, you'll know how a squat should feel.

In general, I think everyone can benefit from training lower back, abs, glutes, and hamstrings. It's hard to tell which one is specifically your issue.

03-06-2009, 03:27 AM
K, that's a max attempt and form is never perfect on a max.. but you have to strive for it... that's the game.

Knees out a lot more.. sitting back is good when you're squatting really wide, but you don't have a monolift so you cant really squat that way, you want to sit back, but not exagerate it. squatting narrow the way you are, push your knees out hard.. try a higher bar placement to help keep you upright... if you're upper back is rounding real bad bring your hands in close and squeeze the shoulder blades together...

Whenn you squat narrow most peoples pelvis will rotate... I've seen one guy that doesn't rotate and everyone else does. I hear the russians are good at it too... but for the most part it happens so don't worry about it too much. I think Jack Reape even wrote an article on hitting depth where he recomended the pelvic tuck.

If you're going to box squat actually sit on the box, otherwise I'd ditch it.

I know most of the advice I'm giving goes against almost everything you read online... but keep in mind most of the squatting stuff you read is about how to squat wide. All this is what I've learned in person from IPF lifters and actually doing it. Give it a shot...

Most importantly, just that you've brought awareness to the problem if you focus on fixing it long enough... it'll just happen.

03-06-2009, 09:19 AM
Do you high bar squat? I can't tell from the video.

03-06-2009, 10:28 AM
my understanding is that the lower back rounding is caused by either lack of hamstring flexibility or a weak lower back.

I know that my lower back rounds because my hamstrings and glutes are incredibly inflexible. I have been stretching every day for 4 months now and I can barely touch my toes so that is part of the problem.

03-06-2009, 10:31 AM
Make sure you push them out instead of letting them go forward.

I was playing with this earlier and I think that it will really help. I could keep my shins much more vertical while trying this. I have read this before, but for some reason squatting for my is like trying to golf the more I try to think about what I should be doing the more I end up messing up and then I am lucky to hit the stupid ball.

03-06-2009, 10:34 AM
K, that's a max attempt and form is never perfect on a max.

The sad thing is that that isn't a max effort attempt. I was sort of going light because I have not been feeling well. It was ~90% of my current max and didn't really even feel heavy. The lift felt ok until I saw the video and saw how bad it looked.

03-06-2009, 10:36 AM
Do you high bar squat? I can't tell from the video.

On that attempt the bar was very low on my back (~ 1-2 inches below the top of my delts). Probably too low as someone mentioned which may have caused some of the forward lean. I usually only do high bar squats to warm up and have only done them with a very narrow stance olympic style. When I widen my stance I lower the bar to the top of my delts or lower ( I am still not sure what I like best)

Big o Boy
03-06-2009, 11:11 AM
sit back more... your hips and knees start down at the same time. Hips go first, and keep thinking knees out on the way down.

03-06-2009, 11:28 AM
try to pinch your shoulder blades together and get your elbows down more to get the upper back tighter

03-06-2009, 12:30 PM
That's why the key to learning is to break down the aspects of the squat. Then create exercises or drills that hit on each aspect of it. That way you only think about one thing during each drill. Then those motions become habit when you squat.

03-06-2009, 04:57 PM
A few thoughts as I have had similar problems in the past:
- Before you even start, your knees are locked. Try getting in position, unlocking your knees and then start the movement
- Try to focus on one thing to work on in each squat session. If you think about a million things, you are going to suck at all of them and not get done what you want to do which is squat.
- Look up when you are squatting and focus on throwing your head back into the bar
- As someone said, you want your first move, after you unlock your knees, to be back, not down

03-06-2009, 07:49 PM
Thanks for the responses so far. I think that for now I will work on looking up and keeping the shoulder blades together to try to fix the upper back issues, then for the rest I will try to force my knees apart more and sit back more (although I really do always try to sit back, for some reason the how of sitting back hasn't quite clicked yet for me. I tell myself to sit back and you can see how well that is working so far). I know there is lots more, but if I can stay more upright I think things will be a lot better. I will try to post a video next week to see if there is any improvement. Thanks everyone.

03-06-2009, 07:59 PM
There are a lot of things to work on, but as pointed out already, you can only focus on so much at once.

Work on your hamstring flexibility.

Work on your set-up: Head back, chest out, stomach tight, go.

Keep your weight in your heels. You are riding onto the balls of your feet which could be caused by a lot of things, but it means that you're not using your hips and hamstrings as effectively as you could.

03-06-2009, 08:59 PM
but if I can stay more upright I think things will be a lot better.

I'm not sure about that comment. From my understanding, if you have low bar placement, and you "sit back" more like people suggested, you shouldn't be all that upright with your upper body ( because you still need to have the weight balanced over your feet ). Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't think not being upright is your issue, especially since you said you were squatting low bar position and your stance isn't all that wide ( but maybe you're using "upright" to mean keeping your back from rounding ). Personally, I think your main issue is not keeping your core tight, and hamstring flexibility. I think if you work on those, the other things will eventually come around ( ie knees moving forward ).

You really should consider squatting with us on Monday night. I video everything, so you could have immediate feedback, and I bet the guys that are usually there would have some really good advice for your squats. If nothing else, it's really good motivation squatting with a group. ( IMHO, Mr CJ is going to be one really strong squatter, and bencher for that matter )