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Thread: Squat Check

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
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    Toronto, ON, CA
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    Default Squat Check

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    Hey all,

    Some time lurker, first time poster here. Well, second time. Tried to post this yesterday but it never showed up, so apologies if it ends up as a double post.

    First, my vitals are: 31 years old, 6", reasonably lean 185 lbs (probably ~15% BF), ~3000 kcal/day w/ a daily goal of ~200 g of protein

    Have some inconsistent barbell training in my history, mostly for lower body so my squats and deads are much stronger than my press and bench. First read SS years ago so that's always been what I've tried to base my technique on, but now that I have consistent barbell access I'm following the whole program in earnest for the first time and loving it.

    My progress has been consistent with the upper body lifts, although the press has slowed down to where I'm about to start 2.5 lbs jumps instead of 5 with my shiny new fractional plates. Deadlift seems to be going fine, although I may ask for a form check on that one in the future. Squats have gotten somewhat inconsistent though. Sometimes I can still add 5 lbs workout to workout, sometimes it takes me 3 or even 4 workouts to get 3x5 with a new weight. For example, 275 took me a few workouts, 280 took me one, and 285 stapled me on the fifth rep of my second set on Monday. That embarassing experience inspired me to reach out for any advice on my form. Unfortunately I only have a video from a couple of weeks ago when I was working on 275 and it's from a side angle because I was mostly curious about depth that day. I'll try to get a better angle soon if anyone is interested enough in helping me out to want it.



    Thanks in advance for any feedback!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
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    36

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    First buy some squat shoes, dont squay barefoot! Your knees are moving the entire rep. Set them forward earlier; by about 1/3 of the way down and keep them there. Also focus on driving them out hard. You also exhibit some low back flexion on some reps. Big breath and squeeze the shit out of your midsection.
    There is also no bounce in the bottom of the tight musculature.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
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    Toronto, ON, CA
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    Thanks! Yeah I'm not proud of the barefoot squatting, but I've been investing in gear a pay cheque at a time. Squat shoes are next up! Barefoot was better than any shoes I currently own. I think I've gotten better about breathing into my belt (which was pretty new at the time) to better control my low back, but I'll continue to focus on that, because I definitely saw that in this video too.

    Thanks for pointing out that my knees continue to move throughout the rep. I was forgetting about that part. I'll try to work on it. I think maybe it's because I've always found breaking at the hips first helps me set my lower back and focus on sitting back.

    I've always been a little unsure about how the bounce out of the bottom should feel. I thought I do a decent job of sitting back and shoving my knees out, with the fact that I tend to feel squats most in my glutes and adductors as evidence. Can you or anyone else elaborate a bit more on it? I just re-read that section in SS and it makes it sound almost like a natural result of a knees out and butt back squat and thinking "up" the whole time, but I thought I was doing that and apparently I'm still not getting any bounce.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
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    The bounce is not something I can explain, you have to learn to feel it. Don't confuse it with bouncing on the knees forcing them even more forward. You bounce off of the tight musculature in the bottom. Play around with it during your warmup. Also, gain about 40lbs, start drinking 1 gallon of milk on top of 3 solid meals and your progression wont stall out early. Make sure sleep, rest periods of at least 5+ mins and adequate food are dialed in.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2018
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    Might help to think about the Press, how squeezing your quads and shoving your hips forward helps create a bounce to get the bar going. The difference is this is on the posterior side. Instead of shoving the hips forward, you're shoving them back. And instead of it being at the beginning of the lift, it is in the middle.

    And, just like in the Press, you must bend at the hips, not at the back, because other than the potential for spinal injury, you don't create as much tension because the abs are not doing their job.

    Same thing in the squat - the low back helps create tension because if it flexes, i.e., the erectors are not doing their job, that means the hamstrings are just pulling the pelvis forward and they are thus slackened. The combination of knees out but stopped solid and the tight lumbar spine create the hamstring tension that becomes "the bounce".

  6. #6
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    Jun 2018
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    Thanks a lot guys! You've both given me lots to think about tonight. I'll be taking some weight off the bar and doing some extra sets to really focus on feeling that bounce and improving my hip drive. I'll also keep working on packing on those 40 lbs

    I'll get back with some more video from better angles at some point to see if there's any improvement.

    Thanks again!

  7. #7
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    Jun 2018
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    Alright so I hope everyone is still in a helpful mood. After my unpleasant first squat session with 285 I took a lighter session to try and work on everyone's suggestions, and today I took stef's recommendation to keep the weight on and do fewer reps per set. Today was 5x3 with 285. I was really focusing on getting more of an explosive bounce out of the hole, with what felt like some success. I also tried to break at the knees and hips more simultaneously, and I think from the side view it looks like my knees were set earlier. Yes, I'm still squatting barefoot for the time being.

    I took video of all 5 sets. First three from the back quarter, fourth from behind, fifth from the side once the rack beside me opened up.



    BONUS: If anyone's feeling extra helpful, I took video of my deadlifts at 320 as well. It's the first time I've seen video of myself deadlifting, and I wasn't too thrilled with what I saw. My biggest concern is how rounded my back seems. I'm somewhat kyphotic, and I've always thought my arms are a bit short for my height, so I struggle to get that nice flat back that I see so many other people deadlifting with even after I squeeze my chest up as far as I can. I've never been too worried about it as long as it feels set in the same position the whole time, but it's making it hard for me to tell if my lower back is set properly. It also looks like I'm extending my knees early causing the bar to drift away from my body a bit, especially on the last rep. The knees and the drift I think I can probably fix now that I'm aware of it, but is there anything I can do to achieve a flatter back and how concerned about it should I be?



    Thanks!

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