Building High-Performance Muscle™
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Squat Form Check
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Moltobasso
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Join date: Jul 2013
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After probably two weeks total of stretching this is where I've gotten. It will continue and probably be better now that I've learned more about it. Please critique my form or even mobility if anyone spots something


I think with the High Bar I could stay more upright. It still seems like my knees don't want to move very far forward at all..


It took me a couple sets to reach this depth, just because it felt really deep. I'm definitely lacking adductor/groin flexibility

I will be ordering a pair of WL shoes soon, so don't worry about the hockey stick xD

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Aragorn
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overall not bad at all. first video.is definitely deep and still good on the second vid. I notice that you have your hips.starting to rise first, especially in the second video, and you have some butt wink. I would look at those two issues, but your depth is really great in that first video. that is true olympic squat depth. I would also watch how far forward your balance moves on the second video (as evidenced by the more pronounced knees forward, which is probably why your depth wasnt as deep although it was still good). overall solid, nothing that getting stronger in your upper back/abs and hammering form and mobility won't fix.

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Moltobasso
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Sweet, thanks!


^^ Does that seem like a fine Squat until I can go deeper?

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alexus
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not really, no.

what happens if you get yourself a 5kg plate and you hold it out in front of you (look through the hole - so hold it head height). then as you descend think to yourself to 'sit into' your hip flexors. don't let your tail tuck.

do it as a mobility exercise. 3 perfect reps. 3 seconds descent. pause at the bottom. then power up using your ass fast as you can. as many breaths between reps as you feel you need to psychologically prepare yourself to not let your back alter its position. then go as low as you can without letting your tail tuck.

it took me a few weeks... but that is how i started out learning to squat. like the karate kid painting the fucking fence. squatting holding a 5kg plate out front (to make it easier than an air squat).

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alexus
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Moltobasso
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alexus wrote:
not really, no.

what happens if you get yourself a 5kg plate and you hold it out in front of you (look through the hole - so hold it head height). then as you descend think to yourself to 'sit into' your hip flexors. don't let your tail tuck.

do it as a mobility exercise. 3 perfect reps. 3 seconds descent. pause at the bottom. then power up using your ass fast as you can. as many breaths between reps as you feel you need to psychologically prepare yourself to not let your back alter its position. then go as low as you can without letting your tail tuck.

it took me a few weeks... but that is how i started out learning to squat. like the karate kid painting the fucking fence. squatting holding a 5kg plate out front (to make it easier than an air squat).



Does that have the same effect as Goblet Squat? Or would you say there's a good difference?

Also, do you have any suggestions on getting the Hip Flexors engaged or maybe a cure or something? That seems a bit confusing to me, sorry.

Thanks a bunch! I'll be uploading more videos

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Moltobasso
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Actually I think I just got it, about engaging the Hip Flexors. Never realized there was info at the end of the video xD

I can also tell the difference in the GS and holding the 10lb weight.

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Moltobasso
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Well here goes.


Definitely barely parallel, but I can progress down. These feel really good


Tried to Squat with the bar (115lbs)

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alexus
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look at that - HEAPS better already!!!

it is mostly a motor control thing. insofar as it is a muscular restriction, the best way to sort it is to... squat! but to squat properly. like you have finally sorted out to do - yay!

personally... i would like to see you working your plate loaded front squat. doing 5x5 with them (nice tempo, 3 second descent consciously trying to hold your lumbar position solid and really sit into it as low as you can to stretch yourself into a bit more depth in time). like your vid. because it is largely motor control what is going to fix it is REPETITION. the more perfect reps you do the more it will be automatic.

if you get over-excited about things and quit painting the fence in favor of practicing your jump kick... then every rep will look different and you might injure yourself and... at the very least do 5x5 plate loaded front squats EVERY DAY for 5 days. then take a vid of ALL your work sets. if you have reliably got lumbar arch and depth (you want that ingrained so you never have to wonder) then load.

at least... that is what i'd do. that was what i was made to do. but i was taught by an olympic lifter who was trying to teach me a PERFECT front squat. he could'nt even look at me for about a year my squat was so ugly to his eyes lolz.

or... at the very least do it as a warm-up.

i think holding the weight out front makes it easier than a goblet squat. the counterbalance gives you psychological security that you are NOT going to fall backwards. this gives you confidence to keep your chest up (don't need to cue that with this exercise, abdominals automatically engage). your head is up because you are looking at the plate. all you got to focus on is 'sitting into' your hip flexors. the 3 second descent gives you time to really consciously hold that arch / sit into the hip flexors 'tight' and the slow and deliberate nature of it actually allows you to stretch whatever needs to be stretched the way it needs to be stretched. there are a bunch of stretches... but i think this exercise shows the truth in 'best exercise for squat is squat'.

as the weight is closer to your gravity (e.g., clutched at your chest, racked on your delts for the front squat position) then the exercise becomes harder, yes.

if you have properly ingrained the front loaded plate squat... then your body tends to solve it the way it is supposed to, though. at least that is my experience.

i think that the goblet squat is extremely useful for teaching people to shove their knees out if they have trouble with the knee cave. it is easier to learn to engage to hold lumbar arch with the goblet between your legs than with a bar on your back - but nothing beats the front loaded plate squat for teaching lumbar control in my experience.

but i'm a young'un...

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Moltobasso
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With how much these helped I think it'd be silly for me to leave them out.

Are you suggesting 5x5 for 25 total perfect reps? Like I could do 8x3 and get the same effect. just curious

Could this also be used as a stretch? Like holding the bottom position for as long as possible, trying to get deeper without sacrificing the arch?

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Aragorn
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Nope, you're pretty much right alexus. excellent excellent advice!

imo I doesn't matter how many reps are in each set as long as they're perfect and you work up to more and more every time. you always drill technique first without massive fatigue because fatigue makes it harder to focus. but eventually you have to maintain good technique while super tired. you just want a loooong period of reinforced practice before doing that.

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Moltobasso
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These are from today's session.





I was thinking 25 perfect reps on Workout days and 25+ on off days, aim for 50.

Also, besides the butt wink, how does my form look for a high bar squat?

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alexus
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pretty good, yeah. in my opinion, pretty good enough. if you can reliably keep that up then pretty good enough to load - but ONLY LOAD INSOFAR AS YOU CAN MAINTAIN YOUR FORM.

i went with 5x5 for no other reason than that is what was recommended to me.

Ripptoe has some stuff near the back of starting strength about how 5x5 is a good trade-off for beginners. 5 reps is at the higher end of the strength training range and the higher reps help ingrain the movement. He thinks that 6 reps is a bit much, though, and that is where form really does start to break down.

Since then... I've trained a lot of 6x3 for Olympic Lifting to give me experience with higher weights (I can move more tonnage on 6x3 than on 5x5). Now when I do a set of 5 I do a fairly smooth triple (3 second descent, pause, power up. Around 1 second to top up breath). Then I huff and puff before rep 4. Then I huff and puff and curse 5x5 before getting the last one out.

I've been thinking something useful for me to do is to do 5x5 with the tempo scheme of my 3x3. In all honestly... I think my mental focus needs a bit of training to pull that off lolz.

doing squats properly requires a great deal of mental focus. i personally find with squats... doing an air squat properly (with good muscular tension and control) is about as hard as squatting around 80% my max. Don't under-estimate the power of the basics. (That being said, I think that possibly the best way to get a perfect air squat is to get a competent 100kg squat).

Pause at the bottom by all means.

Think of it as 'use the muscles, spare the joints'. The bottom of the (loaded) squat is meant to be a position of muscular tension. Your body naturally prefers not to do that (it is metabolically costly). It is easier to relax and allow ones lumbar position to shift. It is hard to learn how to use the muscles to keep the lumbar position tight. You should be able to bounce (from the muscle stretch reflex) lightly into and out of your bottom position just below parallel.

I'd say the most important thing for you is to really learn what that sensation feels like of your holding your lumbar arch tight and not allowing it to get pulled out. That is the precondition for anything else. HOLD YOUR LUMBAR ARCH TIGHT and play with a bunch of different strategies for getting the depth you want, by all means.

I'd suggest you figure out depth early on. Use that as precondition 2, even. In the sense that if you spend the time getting it right now then you are unlikely to have to worry about it later. I think that the thing that most people find hardest about squats is down the track... Taking enough weight off the bar to squat to depth. You will never have to worry about that if you never allow yourself to squat high.

(If it helps any, a little weight on the bar should actually help push you down which will help you sit into the squat. Don't be afraid to take a couple weeks more to work on your squat before getting serious about loading... I find that the 'sitting into the hip flexors' 3 second descent... Actually tears up my legs pretty good... LIke slow negatives on the pull-up bar... If you aren't used to it, it is an adaptive stimulus).

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Moltobasso
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Well man you've been an awful lot of help. Thanks.

I'll be doing the plate loaded squats daily and refrain from serious loading for a little bit. Will continue to stretch and foam roll every day as well. I'll update back with a 225lb ATG Squat with great form (Hopefully somewhat soon), and my 315lb ATG Squat with great form (I know, sweet goals) later on.

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Moltobasso
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Back Squats:I think these looked great today, last rep was as deep as possible, and actually seemed pretty good.


Front Squats: Awesome as well, a bit deeper and more comfortable than back. Same with last rep as well.


I tried Front Squats to see if the depth/form was any better, and I think it was, but not a whole lot. But anyways, do the Back Squats seem good? Still need improvement, but good enough to continue back squatting and not switch to front for a while?

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magick
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Since you're doing high bar squats, why not also focus on going deeper? If nothing else having the ability to go real deep is a good sign of mobility.

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Moltobasso
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All I'm trying to achieve right now is a full depth squat..

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magick
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Grab onto your squat rack (assuming that it can hold your weight as you pull back; otherwise use a door handle or a door frame), and squat down. Exaggerate the knee break and just sink down onto the ground. Hold the position for a while.

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Moltobasso
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I've tried that before, and just tried it again. It really doesn't feel like it stretches anything, like literally nothing.. Is it more meant for gettin used to the position or something?

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magick
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Huh, when I do it I feel where my muscles are tight and gives me a basic reading of how I feel.

Then I just sit in the position and sort of bounce (really really really small bounce) up and down and ease my way down more . Makes me feel much looser. That + a couple squats with me holding a 10lb weight in front of me allow me go from not being able to do body squats due to tightness to being able to do them.

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Moltobasso
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The plate loaded front squats definitely help a bunch

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