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  1. #1
    Registered User pyaarawala's Avatar
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    Squat form check from before and after

    Before (August 2012) 255 lbs 1x5 PR:



    Now (December 2013) 235 lbs 1x5:


    Is my form better? Worse? Mostly the same? Problem is, from 3 months ago, I haven't gotten stronger in my squat. If anything I'm slightly weaker. 3 months ago I was 170, now I'm 180. Weight has always been steadily rising, but nothing went up except for deadlift since then. A friend mentioned getting a belt, but I'm afraid a belt will only give me a false sense of security when my form isn't good yet.
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  2. #2
    back with half the reps SDFlip's Avatar
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    better. you could go deeper. i like that you're driving through your heels more now. torso started pitching forward the last few reps but that's expected as you fatigue and you're using maximal loads.

    one thing you could fix is the way you take it out of the rack. instead of using your lower back to take it out, squat it out of the rack
    Aye, infractions and I may behave. Ban, and I won't post... at least a while. And dying in my bed, many years from now, would I be willin' to trade ALL the days, from this day to that, for one chance, just one chance, to come back here and tell the mods that they may take my reps, but they'll never take... OUR RANT!
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  3. #3
    Registered User pyaarawala's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by SDFlip View Post
    better. you could go deeper. i like that you're driving through your heels more now. torso started pitching forward the last few reps but that's expected as you fatigue and you're using maximal loads.

    one thing you could fix is the way you take it out of the rack. instead of using your lower back to take it out, squat it out of the rack
    Yeah I realized I wasn't going deeper after watching the video. About unracking the bar, I'm trying my best to focus on Matt Wenning's advice of keeping a nice lumbar arch ever since unracking the bar, squatting, and putting it back. When I unrack, it's easy to keep the arch, but the minute I walk back I can't keep the arch. So I think it's pointless.
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  4. #4
    Registered User pyaarawala's Avatar
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    And I'm a bit confused about head positioning. Matt Wenning in 'So you think you can squat' says to look 25-30 degrees up throughout the entire squat because the head is like the body's compass. But Rippetoe says to look down several feet ahead of you. Looking down apparantly lightens the load on your spine, while looking up guides your core up and keeps your back tight. Which one is correct?

    Also Rippetoe says to focus on hip drive, and if the angle of the body changes a bit, it's fine. Meaning if the chest slightly drops while focusing on hip drive, it's okay. But then Wenning, as well as many other people on the forum state that this is NOT okay. I don't mean to turn it into a good morning. All I know is that the concentric portion of the squat should be initiated by the hips while trying my best to keep an upright chest, but not making it more upright than it already was on the eccentric.
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  5. #5
    back with half the reps SDFlip's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by pyaarawala View Post
    Yeah I realized I wasn't going deeper after watching the video. About unracking the bar, I'm trying my best to focus on Matt Wenning's advice of keeping a nice lumbar arch ever since unracking the bar, squatting, and putting it back. When I unrack, it's easy to keep the arch, but the minute I walk back I can't keep the arch. So I think it's pointless.
    i'm not familiar with wenning's advice..... but use the legs to take the bar out of the rack, not the lower back.

    Originally Posted by pyaarawala View Post
    And I'm a bit confused about head positioning. Matt Wenning in 'So you think you can squat' says to look 25-30 degrees up throughout the entire squat because the head is like the body's compass. But Rippetoe says to look down several feet ahead of you. Looking down apparantly lightens the load on your spine, while looking up guides your core up and keeps your back tight. Which one is correct?

    Also Rippetoe says to focus on hip drive, and if the angle of the body changes a bit, it's fine. Meaning if the chest slightly drops while focusing on hip drive, it's okay. But then Wenning, as well as many other people on the forum state that this is NOT okay. I don't mean to turn it into a good morning. All I know is that the concentric portion of the squat should be initiated by the hips while trying my best to keep an upright chest, but not making it more upright than it already was on the eccentric.
    i use and teach a neutral head position similar to rippetoe. it's not really looking down though. i have people stand up straight and look forward. i have them pay attention to their natural head position while standing there..... then i don't let them change this position during squats or deadlifts. that's a neutral spine. so it looks like you're looking down when you're in the hole of a squat depending on your torso angle and at the start of the dead, but at the top, your head is neutral. make sense?

    you have the right idea in terms of hip drive and torso angle. that last line you typed is correct, in my opinion. just do a better job at doing it.
    Aye, infractions and I may behave. Ban, and I won't post... at least a while. And dying in my bed, many years from now, would I be willin' to trade ALL the days, from this day to that, for one chance, just one chance, to come back here and tell the mods that they may take my reps, but they'll never take... OUR RANT!
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  6. #6
    Registered User pyaarawala's Avatar
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    I see. Thanks for the input!
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  7. #7
    O.G. (Original Guido) Jasonk282's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by pyaarawala View Post
    And I'm a bit confused about head positioning. Matt Wenning in 'So you think you can squat' says to look 25-30 degrees up throughout the entire squat because the head is like the body's compass. But Rippetoe says to look down several feet ahead of you. Looking down apparantly lightens the load on your spine, while looking up guides your core up and keeps your back tight. Which one is correct?

    Also Rippetoe says to focus on hip drive, and if the angle of the body changes a bit, it's fine. Meaning if the chest slightly drops while focusing on hip drive, it's okay. But then Wenning, as well as many other people on the forum state that this is NOT okay. I don't mean to turn it into a good morning. All I know is that the concentric portion of the squat should be initiated by the hips while trying my best to keep an upright chest, but not making it more upright than it already was on the eccentric.
    From what I can tell Wenning is teaching high bar and Rip teaches low bar...again, that more my view point and I am by no means an expert.
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  8. #8
    Registered User TBU720's Avatar
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    If you wanna move up heavier you're gonna need to do some serious work on your walk out. You're at a point now where you are like 1.5x bodyweight squats and to be honest this is where a vast majority of average gym-goers get stuck and then give up.

    When you walk back you are dancing around with the bar like a little girl. Your goal should be to pick up the bar, step back left, step back right, and then squat. NO MORE FOOT MOVEMENT THAN THAT. NO shifting of your weight, nothing. Also to keep your back tension while walking, hold your breath and focus on clenching your abs and back as hard as humanly possible. If you focus on that and making your foot technique more efficient, then you will surely be able to keep nice and tight. Start with 4 steps if you need to, but getting down to 2 steps is ideal. Again after you take your steps, dont rotate your feet, dont shift them, nothing. As soon as you take your last step you should be ready to squat. Practice your walk outs alone if you need to.

    Also, if you haven't been making progress on your squats then its time for a new program. Are you still on Starting strength? Its probably time to stop doing heavy ass sets of 5 every workout.
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  9. #9
    Registered User pyaarawala's Avatar
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    Jasonk,

    Yeah I just noticed that too. Maybe I can try low bar if I don't progress again. I just felt like low bar would be difficult for me because my shoulder flexibility isn't too great. But then again I've never actually properly tried it.

    TBU,

    Well actually 1.5x body weight for me now would be around 270 lbs, and I'd be pretty happy if I got to that weight on SS at least. The main reason I haven't progressed on squats I think is because I got off SS and went onto JasonDB's Novice 5x5 and ended up doing more sets of squats with less rest time. I just started SS again and I really want to run it again for a few months and see if I can progress a bit further before switching programs again.

    About the walk out, do you mean to take 2-3 LARGE steps back? Because if I take small steps then I have this mental fear of the bar or the plates hitting the front of the rack where I unrack the bar. So I kind of take a few small steps back so I get to the middle of the rack. And then that last moving around is me adjusting my foot angle and making sure my feet are aligned properly. I couldn't imagine getting all this just right in just 2-4 steps. But I guess I just gotta practice. Is it okay if I look down to check my feet alignment?

    Thanks for the help on pretty much all my lifts, dude.
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  10. #10
    Registered User TBU720's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by pyaarawala View Post

    TBU,

    Well actually 1.5x body weight for me now would be around 270 lbs, and I'd be pretty happy if I got to that weight on SS at least. The main reason I haven't progressed on squats I think is because I got off SS and went onto JasonDB's Novice 5x5 and ended up doing more sets of squats with less rest time. I just started SS again and I really want to run it again for a few months and see if I can progress a bit further before switching programs again.

    About the walk out, do you mean to take 2-3 LARGE steps back? Because if I take small steps then I have this mental fear of the bar or the plates hitting the front of the rack where I unrack the bar. So I kind of take a few small steps back so I get to the middle of the rack. And then that last moving around is me adjusting my foot angle and making sure my feet are aligned properly. I couldn't imagine getting all this just right in just 2-4 steps. But I guess I just gotta practice. Is it okay if I look down to check my feet alignment?

    Thanks for the help on pretty much all my lifts, dude.
    Review your second video again. You cover pretty much ALL your distance in only 3 steps. You step back right, step back left, then your right foot goes pretty much even with your left foot. If you wanna do it like that, thats okay. I still feel most comfortable doing 2 steps but if you get it to only 3, thats fine.

    You can look at your feet if you need to at first but really dude theres no reason to ever look at any part of your body while doing an exercise. Learn a movement by feeling and then have faith in your body.

    The main point is that too many people start to "focus" AFTER they walk the bar out. Don't think of your exercise as starting after the walkout, the exercise starts the second you touch the bar. You know all the hard work you put in to correct your form DURING the squat? Well put just as much work into your walkout. Having a consistent and stable walkout pattern is going to help conserve energy, maintain mental focus, and maintain muscular tightness.

    Just do ONE walkout where you take only 3 steps and then have your feet completely set without trying to look at your feet or in a mirror or anything. Just focus mentally on being in a stable squat position as soon as your 3rd step touches. After you get there, THEN look down and see how you did. If its not a good walk out, then re rack the bar and try again. The goal is consistency.
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  11. #11
    Registered User pyaarawala's Avatar
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    ^^I never even thought about the walkout, lol. And it makes sense when you say it'll help conserve energy, focus and tightness. Thanks for the tips!
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  12. #12
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    Originally Posted by pyaarawala View Post
    Now (December 2013) 235 lbs 1x5:
    It's gotten worse -- I don't mean compared to the August video, I mean compared to this video from a few weeks ago:



    Keep your chest up, core tight, lower back tight, drive your hips through the bar. As for head position, just do whatever is comfortable for you and don't sweat it. Slightly up, slightly down, straight ahead -- it really doesn't matter that much.
    Last edited by tidnab; 01-01-2013 at 08:25 PM.
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  13. #13
    Registered User pyaarawala's Avatar
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    Tidnab,

    In that video where I do 225 lbs, my grip is much narrower (pinkys on the rings) and I have a regular grip and squeeze the bar really tight. I find that it helps with keeping the back tight. But it also causes pain in my left arm. After watching this video:



    I used a wider grip (pointers on the rings) in the newest video. Although in theory what he's saying is correct, and that my back can stay tight when I increase/decrease my grip width and tightness of my arms. But it seems like I can't keep it as tight during the actual squat w/ actual weight compared to with my grip really narrow.

    So I'm not sure what to do. Either grip width wide + false grip = little to no arm (elbow) pain, looser back
    OR
    grip width narrow + regular grip squeeze tight = more arm pain, tighter back.
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  14. #14
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    Your grip width shouldn't make that much of a difference in your form. I'm also not sure why you'd want to use a false grip for a high bar squat -- that probably isn't helping. For a high bar squat you should use a regular grip and your hands should be relatively close, but not so close that it's uncomfortable for you. You also should not be "cocking" your elbows up. The elbows ideally should be more pointed down than up (really they should just hang naturally). I noticed in the video that you are trying really hard to keep your wrists straight like Rippetoe teaches. That is NOT right for a high bar squat, so you need to stop doing that.

    Please also note that that LiftRunBang video again is meant for a low bar squat. In general, you'd be better off trying not to internalize technique cues meant for low bar squats (false grip, look down, wrists straight etc.) because they can really mess you up. In your case you are making it very hard for yourself to keep your chest up.
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  15. #15
    Registered User pyaarawala's Avatar
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    I have new videos of today. Went back to a narrow grip (pinkys on rings) and regular grip. I even included my warmup sets to see if it's a weight issue or not. And I practiced my walkout. I believe it's much shorter now.

    SQUAT:

    Warmup set 1:


    Warmup set 2:


    Warmup set 3:


    Working set 1 (240 lbs) - Side View:


    Working set 3 (240 lbs) - Rear View:
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  16. #16
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    You're doing a better job of keeping your chest up, but your back is rounding ("buttwinking") again. It's apparent on your warmups so it's not a "weight" issue.
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  17. #17
    Registered User pyaarawala's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by tidnab View Post
    You're doing a better job of keeping your chest up, but your back is rounding ("buttwinking") again. It's apparent on your warmups so it's not a "weight" issue.
    Yeah I noticed that too. I've been working on hip mobility on the side. Foam rolling, dynamic stretches, etc. I can just hope it gets better in the long term. But I somehow didn't round my back in the video I showed you a couple weeks ago where you said this:

    It's gotten worse -- I don't mean compared to the August video, I mean compared to this video from a few weeks ago:
    I'll go back and check in that thread what advice was given and see what I changed then.
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  18. #18
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    Originally Posted by pyaarawala View Post
    Yeah I noticed that too. I've been working on hip mobility on the side. Foam rolling, dynamic stretches, etc. I can just hope it gets better in the long term. But I somehow didn't round my back in the video I showed you a couple weeks ago where you said this:



    I'll go back and check in that thread what advice was given and see what I changed then.
    You don't need any foam rolling or mobility work from what I can tell, you just need to use active trunk stabilization. Keep your abs braced and then also actively keep your lower back tight as you sit into the hole. And please also see the post I made 2 days ago in this thread about grip width.
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  19. #19
    Registered User pyaarawala's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by tidnab View Post
    You don't need any foam rolling or mobility work from what I can tell, you just need to use active trunk stabilization. Keep your abs braced and then also actively keep your lower back tight as you sit into the hole. And please also see the post I made 2 days ago in this thread about grip width.
    What if no matter what I do this just doesn't seem to happen? In my warmup set as you can see, there's barely any weight on my back so I can 100% focus on keeping my core tight, but that damn lower back doesn't want to stay arched once I get about halfway to parallel. My chest stays upright the whole time and I hold my breath, using valsalva. Abs are braced like hell. Y'know what, I think I'm gonna make a video sometime today or tomorrow of me just talking into the camera and show exactly what I'm doing.

    Back is still rounding on today's squats. I have no idea how I was able to pull off a straight back last time in my other thread:
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  20. #20
    Registered User pyaarawala's Avatar
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    Here's a video I made at home with me actually explaining exactly what I'm feeling when I squat. Last time when I was having problems with my deadlift I had a much better experience getting advice from others when I made a video like this. Hopefully this'll help me a bit.

    You can even see how out of breath I am so you know I'm really trying to keep my core tight.



    Thanks for your time. I really appreciate it.
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  21. #21
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    Originally Posted by pyaarawala View Post
    What if no matter what I do this just doesn't seem to happen? In my warmup set as you can see, there's barely any weight on my back so I can 100% focus on keeping my core tight, but that damn lower back doesn't want to stay arched once I get about halfway to parallel. My chest stays upright the whole time and I hold my breath, using valsalva. Abs are braced like hell. Y'know what, I think I'm gonna make a video sometime today or tomorrow of me just talking into the camera and show exactly what I'm doing.

    Back is still rounding on today's squats. I have no idea how I was able to pull off a straight back last time in my other thread:
    By "keeping core tight" are you including _"lower back"_ when you say "core"? Because you need to actively keep the lower back arched in addition to engaging the abs in order to keep it from rounding. If you can't do this through the full ROM of a squat then you may have weak spinal erectors and you may want to try strengthening them directly -- try doing some supermans for instance. But it kind of sounds like you aren't thinking about using your lower back, so that sounds like the most obvious solution here.
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    The other thing you can try, if you're still having trouble actively stabilizing your trunk, is to imagine literally trying to squat down to take a dump. This should naturally make you try to keep your ******* (the place where the poop comes out) as far away from you and as close to the ground as possible. If you do this right you should naturally sit back into the perfect squat position, as you'll be keeping your back straight in order to project the poop away from you. Sounds silly but I'm dead serious here.
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