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squat form check
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Thread replies: 19
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fuck im so frustrated.

how come I cant even squat close to depth, even standing on plates? are my ankles that inflexible? ive been trying for so long and i feel like ive watched every video on how to squat and I can't seem to progress beyond this point, I can't tell what I'm doing wrong. even at this shitty depth, I find myself falling backwards, totally off balanced. please critique and advise, I just want to get the fucking technique down already so I can lift.

also -- are my elbows too bent backwards? I can't get them any tighter.

Hey I went to robinson high school too, what year did you graduate?
You've got your weight on your toes rather than in your heels, I can see your heel wanting to rise as you get lower.

You're pretty tall so I'd maybe suggest high bar squat rather than low, so you can sit a little bit more upright, and keep the weight back.

Try a slightly wider stance.
You probably have super tight hamstrings. Try some active stretching before you start squatting.

Sorry to disappoint, never heard of the place


Thanks for the tip on the heels! I just tried and that did help quite a bit. But the problem is coming out of the hole with the heel drive will cause me to lose my balance and fall backward if my hole was too low. As for a wider stance, it just made my knees buckle in a bit, idk if it'll help. I can't seem to find anything about height when determining high or low bar squat -- I originally had a high bar squat but I changed to lower since it seems overall better if you're not an olympic lifter.


Thanks, I will try that. But could it just be my ankle flexibility? When I try to squat without plates underneath my heels, I can't even make it near parallel. I think I'm falling backwards because my ankles can't handle well enough of an angle to put my center of mass over my forefoot at depth, though. Should I just keep squatting like this for now until I develop ankle flexibility?

btw I'm 6'2 and a long distance runner who will be running 40-50mi/week for the next three months (could running be the cause of ankle inflexibility and/or hamstring inflexibility?)

tyvm for all posts
You've got to fix your butt wink.

damn. never heard of that before. will research and try to fix though. thanks
aww shit i have the same problem
my hips are really inflexible so i blame it on that
so what should I be doing to increase hip/ankle flexibility, and with the way my squats are now, are they worth doing or should I focus on the other SS lifts until I've developed the sufficient flexibility for ass to grass?

anyone else been down this road before? how long is it gonna take me to be able to perform a decent squat, anyhow? SS made it seem like you could learn the five initial major lifts in two workouts no problem.
You seem to just be dropping yourself down into the squat. Tense all your muscles and go slower, focusing on tightness.
Make sure you do a lot of quad and hammy stretching before you squat, and I recommend stretching every day (twice a day is ideal) til you develop this flexiblity. The more often you stretch the faster it will happen. I recommend watching multiple squat for videos to supplement your knowledge and for. Just keep lifting anon. We're all gonna make it.

Thanks, will do. Going to look up some decent stretches for this purpose and start right away
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Mid / upper back looks straight, but you've got a bit of a buttwink at the bottom of the squat, which may be related to lack of flexibility. Generally you shouldn't see buttwink until below parallel.
Stretch hamstrings and quads once or twice a day. Stretching glutes and calves aren't a bad idea, either, but aren't as critical in this case as hams and quads.
Do a warmup to get blood flowing before your workout - maybe bodyweight squats or something. Hold out on static stretching until the end of your workout.

Can't tell from the angle, but make sure your knees are traveling forward in the same exact direction as your toes are pointing.
Squatting with toes outward, and knees straight forward causes a twist in the leg that's hard on the joints and makes it harder to squat deeper.

As for elbows, just find whatever's most comfortable for wherever you're keeping the bar on your back. As a taller guy, you might find a wider grip more comfortable.

Bring your head a little further down, so its more aligned with the rest of your spine.

You might want to just try it with a little more weight. I always find I can't balance properly if it's just the bar. Personally, I load it up with a 45 on each side to warm up with, but you might only need a 25's or something for now. How much do you weigh? You mentioned being 6'2", and a distance runner, so you should have at least a little strength already going for you.
For just practicing, I'd suggest enough weight that it is definitely pushing down on you, but light enough that you can pretty effortlessly do a lot of reps while you try to work on form.
Oh, and please rotate the video for us next time.
Makes it easier for me to analyze.
Also, this might be informative for you.

First of all thanks so much for taking all that time to respond. I've been looking up ways to gain hip/ankle flexibility and everything I've seen so far has encouraged getting in the hole, pushing your knees apart with your elbows, rocking back and forth, and just getting used to movement and stabilizing at that depth/position twice a day. ( http://www.allthingsgym.com/hip-and-ankle-stretches-for-olympic-weightlifting/ and Elliot Hulse's https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C-0Qe80fUaU )

My knees are moving directly over my toes, and when I take a wider stance they cave in, so I think I've got a decent stance.

The grip is really confusing for me and I spent a while earlier researching that, I'm not sure what feels right. Keeping a barbell on my back, at best, is still very painful for me, I'm guessing because of my inexperience. It's also hard to know when I've got a correct bar position as I can't see my back to compare with the pictures and videos of ideal resting barbell positions. The grip is also something of a mystery to me. I only just started using thumbless grip after reading SS and I find that even with the unloaded bar, there's a huge amount of pressure right below my thumb. I'm not sure if this is because the bar is too low on my back or if there's not a sufficient ridge being formed by my rear delts, either way causing the bar to want to roll down my back, forcing my hands to have to support it... which makes squatting actual weights pretty scary.

For now, I'm going to chalk any back rounding/butt winking to ankle/hip inflexibility and do some preemptive strengthening/stretching anyways and will cross that bridge when I get to it, unless anyone recommends otherwise.

For an idea of my general strength, I'm 170lb/6'2 and bench 1rm is 195lb, OHP 1rm 115lb, and about a year and a half ago I did 12 BS halfreps at 285 on squat for a laughable weights class. Still learning deadlift, the few times I've done it I've just done practice sets at 185lb.

Yeah sorry about that, I uploaded the unedited file, thanks for putting up with it.

And I saw that Candito video earlier, but I'd like to do low bar squats rather than high. I watched his low bar squat guide along with rippetoe's/hulse's/alan thrall's among others.

Again, thanks so much for taking the time to do all this, I really appreciate it.

There are many things to correct.

1. DON'T squat on plates. People do this to get a heel. This is only for people who need extra mobility for highbar squats. Lowbar should be done flat footed.

2. You're not flexing your back at all. You need to squeeze your shoulder blades together really tight to create a shelf of musculature so that the bar rather than resting on your bones rests on muscle.

3. You're not tight at all throughout the entire lift. Search up the valsalva manuver. You should be using this to keep your core tight. A core thats not tight is causing you to break extremely easily at the bottom of the lift.

4. You're upperbody is coming far foward. This is happening for 2 reasons. First is #1: you're on the plates so you need to come foward to compensate. The second reason is you're not trying to keep your chest up. Pause at 0:34. Youre back is completely broken. Lower back isn't flat because no core stability because no valsva. Upper back rounded because you should be keeping your chest up more at the bottom.

5. You mentioned that you're hands are awkward. Move them farther out on the bar if they feel like your wrists are breaking. You say that the bar feels like its rolling down, which could be solved by upperback tightness try tip #2.
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