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  • Squat Form Frustrations

    Hi all,
    Long time reader, first time poster.

    I’ve been lifting on and off for about 5 years now (mostly SSLP) but have been consistently training 4-5x per week for the past year (bar a few weeks in COVID lock-down). I’m a 32-year-old male 5’9” at ~174lbs, squatting 135kg (295lbs) for 5 reps.

    I’ve been hitting a bit of a plateau with my squats and decided form was suboptimal, so I submitted a form check video to the guys at Strength Club. Their assessment was that my upper back was too vertical, so my lower back was overextending, and my knees were sliding too far forward. To fix, I needed to focus on pushing my chest down and my knees back: https://youtu.be/-E2eGOoocfc?t=2923

    I spent weeks working on this, de-loading and focussing on form with higher-rep tempo / box variations, etc... I did what I was told – shoving my chest between my legs (figuratively) and forcing my hips (and therefore knees) further back, whilst keeping everything balanced over mid-foot. I then submitted a second form check: https://youtu.be/HqZVvk31SeQ?t=3784

    TL;DR: I’ve overcompensated. My knees are way too far back now. Whilst I agree with the assessments in the videos, to me, my form hasn’t changed THAT much, so I’m struggling to find the right balance between the two.

    I have a long torso and shorter femurs, so bending over more and pointing my chest at the floor is going to pull my knees back. Shoving my knees forward again results in a more vertical back angle, which tends to put my low back into overextension.

    I tried the front-squat advice but shoving my knees forward is not something I struggle to do (see 1st video), it’s putting the bar into the low-bar position whilst shoving my knees farther forward that causes issues with back angle/extension…

    What advice would you guys have for someone with my body type to correct this? Is it as simple as ‘go somewhere in-between’ with regards to form in each video? Is there another queue I’ve missed which might help?

    Thanks in advance,
    Thom

    P.S. Sorry for the long post!

  • #2
    In your original video you are indeed squatting in what looks like a high bar fashion with a low bar placement. Does this necessarily matter though?

    I'm far from expert in these matters but it looks to me like they're giving you what is effectively aesthetic advice on how your squats should look that may or may not improve your actual squat efficiency.

    Is it possible your plateau is due to programming or something else and your form is ok?

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    • #3
      Both these sets of squats look mostly fine to me. What I think matters is that you can stay balanced over midfoot and you don't change your back angle a ton coming out of the hole, there isn't much knee valgus, there isn't much hip shift, the bar stays in place pinned to your back, and you hit depth. I'm not completely sure about your balance in the first video because I can't see your feet. In the second video you wiggle you your toes a little and, I think your weight might be behind mid foot. Use whichever form most easily lets you meet the above criteria and feels most trainable and strongest.

      I really don't think your squat plateau has anything to do with form, I think your form is fine, but you adherence and programming has been poor. There are lots of good free programs out there (https://www.barbellmedicine.com/the-bridge/, https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets...#gid=802151775, https://www.strongerbyscience.com/average-to-savage/ ($5)) Choose one that looks interesting and fun so that you adhere better to it.

      What's your current programming and how long have you been plateaued?

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      • #4
        I agree with the above 2 posters--the amount of weight you'll add optimizing your squat form for your anthropometry pales in comparison to the amount of weight you'll add with appropriate programming/volume.

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        • #5
          Thanks so much for the replies, all. Some really useful feedback here.

          One of the reasons I'm focussed on form has a lot to do with injury prevention. I quite recently injured my low back whilst deadlifting, and whilst I believe I've corrected my form for that movement, I'm keen to ensure I don't make a similar mistake on the squat (I also enjoy squatting a lot more than any other lift, so it's one I'm keen to get right).

          I completed The Bridge some time ago, and I just finished the 10 week Hypertrophy I program (the logic being that a larger muscle has a greater capacity to be a stronger one), but I think I'm going to switch to a strength based program next and see where that gets me.

          Thanks again!

          Comment


          • #6
            One of the reasons I'm focussed on form has a lot to do with injury prevention.
            I think the perspective on this from BBM is that there is no evidence form has any bearing on injury prevention. Instead, appropriate load management (e.g. doubling your current volume one week to the next would be a bad idea) and warming up are probably the best preventative measures you can take to minimize risk of injury.

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