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BendtheBar 02-21-2012 08:29 AM

How can I develop proper squat form?
"I was in the gym doing squats and some guy said I was doing them all wrong. He said I was going too deep and bending my back. What can I do to develop proper squat form?"

Pull14 02-21-2012 04:31 PM

The lifter must determine how they will setup and what "type" of squat they will perform, you have bar position, stance, flexibility, etc to take into consideration. From there watch successful lifters squat and pay very close attention to how they perform the lift - positions, timing, etc. Record your squats to see what your doing and what needs to be done. Seek advice from those who know what they're talking about and knows how to perform the lifts not someone with a big mouth and nothing to back his words up (look at his own lifts or people they have coached).

Specifics are often determined by the lifter's body and the style of squat they choose to perform but the few things that apply to all:

1 - Chest must remain high with the shoulder blades pulled back and very tight.
2 - Fill stomach with air and brace the abs hard for the entire lift.
3 - The lift always begins by pushing the hips back, first. Not bending at the knees.
4 - On the descent, actively push the knees out to the side so that they track over your feet which are angled slightly outward.
5 - On the descent and ascent, keep the weight over your mid-foot or your heels. Do not let the weight shift to the forefront.

On depth... this is something determined by the style of squat, flexibility, and purpose of the squat. Olympic lifters want to attempt to reach rock bottom whereas powerlifters may only prefer to focus on reaching at least parallel. For rec lifters, it doesn't matter as much as long as the squat reaches parallel, which is the point where the crease of the hips is inline with the top of the knees.

Squatting deep is no more "dangerous" than squatting to parallel as long as the lower back remains tight and flat. For the "lifter" in the original post the 5 suggestions above should help keep the back flat while getting low enough, should he wish to continue to squat deep. If it does not, the issue may be flexibility in the ankle joints in which getting a pair of olympic weightlifting shoes or increasing ankle flexibility through stretches can eliminate the issue. If neither are viable options, the lifter should only squat down to parallel or the lowest point in which he/she can maintain a rigid back. And as always, never sacrifice form over weight when LEARNING a movement.

bamazav 02-21-2012 07:32 PM

Great post Pull.

I recommend anyone starting new to learn goblet squats. They will assist with keeping the back straight, chest out and abs tight. IMHO, these are a great tool for working on form with newbs.

TitanWIP 02-23-2012 08:42 AM

Goblet squats helped me substantially. I took BTB's advice and kept my elbows in as I descended, trying to get them between my knees. My knees sort of naturally opened and my depth improved.

wesrman 02-23-2012 01:47 PM

Go to youtube and type in Rippetoe.

Corcioch 03-02-2013 06:49 AM

I watched an excellent video by Dave Tate a few days ago on the box squat . . . . .but was of benefit for all squatting. It was on Youtube.

The video was great because it emphasised the upper body - back - grip - arm position etc set up alot which if often overlooked by less experienced lifters . . .like myself . . . .

Bill 03-02-2013 08:10 AM

Go in the squat rack and set the bar to the appropriate height.

Grasp the bar a bit wider than shoulder width.

Squeeze the biceps hard and bring the bar to the height of upper chest.

Lower slowly and repeat

wvjon 03-17-2013 09:04 PM

There is a series of videos on YouTube called "you think you can squat"

BendtheBar 03-17-2013 10:33 PM


Originally Posted by wvjon (Post 337949)
There is a series of videos on YouTube called "you think you can squat"

stayaggro 04-08-2013 02:19 AM

My squat form was horrendous when I started doing them. I simply did a ton of squats. Tons of reps and small weight jumps when warming up. And a ton, ton, ton of air squats and sitting in the hole. Just on free time, at night, between sets, all the time. That's what helped me iron out my form. I'm helping a dude I know who wants to get strong and big, I had him do a ton of air squats and started him on goblet squats, moving the weight up each week. His form is looking really good after a few weeks of goblet and air squats. So I guess what I'm getting at is up the squat volume to iron out your technique, and it'll eventually come naturally to you.

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