Squat and press form check
I would really appreciate a critique of my squat and press form.
I recently posted a thread on the Mark Rippetoe Q&A forum and got some advice but the thread later disappeared. I wanted to follow up so thought I would try here.
Here is the original video:
* Squat 145kg. Rip pointed out that my knees are coming in and my depth is high (both of which I could see), but he pointed out that this is caused by my stance being too wide.
* Press 47.5kg. Doing a push press using my knees - funnily I never really noticed I was doing it until seeing the video. Mark also said I'm not using my hips.
Here is a newer video of the next session (with about two weeks off squatting in between due to hurting my back):
* For the squat I tried narrowing my stance so that my heels are roughly shoulder width. I've only squatted twice with this change and it has enabled me to get better depth (below parallel) and felt ok. However even at around 100kg (not shown) I had to work hard to keep my knees from coming in, and at 120kg (shown in video) I can clearly see my knees still coming in as I come out of the hole.
* For the press I am trying to keep my forearms vertical, keep my knees locked (no push press), lean back before pressing rather than during, and keep my wrists straight (I have a bad habit of having my wrists bend back on press and bench press).
1. Am I on the right track here?
2. For the squat, with my knees collapsing in, should I drop the weight down until it doesn't happen (~100kg), and slowly work up from there?
3. For the squat, I used to have the bar too low down my back and it caused a lot of elbow/arm/shoulder pain. Is it now ok or too high? I know the angles in the video are not the best to see this.
Squats are improved, good work. However, you initiate the squat by sticking your butt back and breaking at the hips, and THEN you break at the knees. These two events should happen together, meaning at the same time. Hips and knees bend, as you descend, knees find their position about 1/3 of the way down, crease of the hips drop below the patella, then the reverse. Your squat appears to start with almost a backward motion of the knees...this is not good.
Your press has two immediate issues that I see from this video. First, your "lay back" is from the spine (or rather, it appears to be from this video) and not your hips. This is best corrected by the very hard contraction of your abs in concert with your back. Your entire middle section has needs to be rigid as you rotate back about the hip joint. Second, the movement is initiated from the hips, not the the arms. I have found that this is an exceptionally difficult and complex movement to learn.
I may be incorrect about your back/hip part, very hard to see on a video. Do you notice lower back soreness after or during a pressing session? When properly done, I have found that I do not have lower back soreness. However, when bending at the L4/L5/S1 area, I'm sore as crap.
Hope this helps.
yeah your knees are jumping forward at the bottom. watch that beautiful blue wall behind as a reference and you can see them slide forward right when you're in the hole. keep those hamstrings tight and those fuckers will stay back
Thanks very much for the replies guys.
Mac, thanks, I never noticed about my hips unlocking before my knees. You are right that in the press I was leaning back using my low back not my hips. Today I tried to lean back using my hips; I am still getting used to it and some reps felt good while others were very hard. A few times I accidentally unlocked my knees instead by mistake too.
Also thanks Tiburon for pointing out that my knees are coming forward at the bottom of the squat - I never noticed that.
I will work on these aspects and post a follow up video soon. Thanks.
Originally Posted by philip.h
Hi again. I reread the squat chapter, particularly the part about the knees, and watched squat section of the DVD again. I'm focusing on 4 things:
1) get good depth (below parallel).
2) on the descent, break knees and hips simultaneously (rather than hips first).
3) on the descent, get knees forward to where they should be early on, and then keep them there, rather than too far back and then have them slide forward at the bottom.
4) stop knees from collapsing inwards as I come out of the bottom.
A video from my last session is here: . I did quite a few squat sets to work on the technique. The video shows a set at 100kg (side view) and 110kg (rear quarter view). It looks like I'm a little high on the 110kg set in the video, but I'm pretty sure I was actually going deep enough... On some reps my knees still do come forward a little at the bottom, and on they still collapse in a bit, but I think it's better than before. Some reps were better than others as I adjusted. It certainly felt better.
On the bench press I also focused on really tucking my shoulder blades together, which I wasn't doing before, and it felt a lot more stable and easier.
Again I would appreciate any feedback.
Last edited by philip.h; 04-21-2012 at 08:16 AM.
Squats look heaps better.
When you bench press, it looks like your butt is lifting up - it should be anchored to the bench. You could get a lot tighter by arching your back more and bringing your heels in closer to your body, but keeping the same distance between your feet. This would put your legs under more tension and make a solid and active connection with the floor. Squeeze your butt as hard as you can. Your current setup just seems a bit too loose.
Thanks bamzi. A long time ago I somehow developed an awful tendency to bridge my butt way off the bench when the weight got heavy. When I try not to bridge, I feel overly relaxed/loose and struggle with much lighter weights. I will keep my shoulder blades together and try what you said - feet closer to butt but still wide, butt tight, arched back but keep butt on bench.
Originally Posted by bamzi
Any feedback on my squat?
Here's a video of yesterday's session (squat, press, power clean):
I think my squat is improved, but as I add weight my knees still collapse inwards again a little. I guess I just need to keep focusing on it as I increase the weight.
For the press I am trying to get the layback at the start using my hips not my spine (as suggested by Mac Ward).
Would appreciate any critique. Thanks!
Last edited by philip.h; 04-23-2012 at 08:15 PM.
Reason: fixed link to video
Squats look better, nice job. Tough to tell from video, however your second to last set your heels appear to be closer than your final set of squats. In both instances, I believe your toes are a little too wide, wide enough that your knees are not going to track over your feet. Your heels should be under your shoulders (shoulder width) and your toes should be about about 30 degrees out, give or take based on individual anthropometry. Tweek that a little, continue to think knees out and I believe you will be pleased with the results.
On the press, watch the knees, some of the reps you bend the knees. This is a difficult move to learn...don't get me wrong. However, your hip thrust never really happens. You appear to be laying back (rotating about the hips is better), but you do not appear to be initiating the movement with your hip thrust, and more or less use your knees slightly to get the bar started, then move your hips as the bar clears your head. Lay back, hips are forward, thrust hips. As the bar gets heavier you may find a second lay back occurs naturally. This is OK, however, don't try to do it, let it occur naturally.
PC is tough to "teach" on the internet. However, it's not a train wreck. Your setup could be better, you never really get super tight on the floor, you seem to go from 0 to 100 instantly. On the floor, the setup is essentially the same as the deadlift, you appear to be back on your heals, again hard to tell from one angle of three reps. Get in the position, and raise your chest, without lower your butt, until there is tension on the bar through your arms as you squeeze up your chest. This is a lot of work down at the bottom. A better set up will translate to a better transition higher up in the movement. Get this set up right first, and I believe you will move more weight, more quickly.
Hope this helps.
Again, nice job on your squats...