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Barbell Novice lifter looking for feedback - barbell back squats

Sandman.84

Level 1 Valued Member
Hi,
I'm a relatively novice lifter who is getting back into weights after a lower back injury. I started the StrongFirst Barbell Fundamentals course and am trying to focus on technique above everything else, so would value any feedback on my lifting technique.
A link to a video from my last set is posted here and when assessing myself, I could slow down the descent, go a little deeper and pause a little longer at the bottom. However, as I'm very new at this, I could be off base and there could be more valuable cues or ways to reduce injury, so any tips are appreciated!
Thanks in advance! If there is a separate forum/channel I should be posting this in, let me know.

https://youtu.be/r4M2R2o-Pig
 

Boris Bachmann

Level 7 Valued Member
It's kinda a very low camera angle so it's tough to see things - it looks very shallow. Are you working w. prior injuries? Is there a reason you might be shifting to the right?
 

Anna C

Level 9 Valued Member
Team Leader Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
Sinister
I agree, need WAY more depth (you appear to only be going halfway down) and a better camera angle. But it's a good start! Your setup looks correct, though also from this angle I can't see the bar placement. Are you intending low bar position, or high bar? Low bar would be on the rear delts. High bar sits on the traps. I believe in the StrongFirst Barbell Fundamentals course it is high bar.

Your stance, grip, and bracing all look good.

It seems like you are trying hard to keep an upright torso. You will need to lean forward somewhat as you lower down, so that is expected. Here is a set of high bar squats I did earlier this week, if it helps for reference.

Can you film one with just the empty bar, and as much depth as you are comfortable with?
 

Steve Freides

Staff
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
I try to position a camera at or very close to what my "breaks parallel" height is for a competition. I sometimes practice squatting to a box at this height, which for me is 11-1/2 inches, and my camera here is positioned on a 12 inch box. These are from yesterday, 175 lb x 4. I am 66 years young and compete as a raw (and no belt) 67.5 (148 lb) lifter in the USPA.



-S-
 

Wyanokie

Level 3 Valued Member
@Sandman.84 I agree with the great advice that you have gotten so far. I might be imagining it but it also looks like you have too much curvature in your lumbar spine but then again that's just from my perspective from the angle you filmed it.

Here's a recommendation from me:

1) Start with the 45 lb bar only, do all of your form corrections with it and develop impeccable technique. Revert back to kettlebell goblet squats if necessary as a corrective.

2) Add 10 lb only after you have nailed the empty bar (at least a week or so). Develop impeccable technique.

3) Add 10 lb and repeat. Keep at it for a week before adding more weight.

Here's my rationale: it is often said on here that strength is a skill. That becomes clearly evident when you consider that every time you load the bar, it will offset your form slightly and you will have to work through those subtle corrections, so jumping from light to heavy weights too quickly will cause issues with form that will lead to problems down the road.

If this progress (10 lb every week or so) seems glacial to you, remember that if you add only 5 lb per week, you are adding 20 lb per month. That's 240 lb per year, so if you begin this journey today and add 20 lb/month, at this time next year you would hypothetically be squatting 285 lb with perfect technique.

Of course, not all of your progress will be linear. There may be deloads, periods of active rest, a slowing down of progress from time to time, etc. but even with those things factored in, a squat in the mid-200's in January 2023 is easily doable if you stay consistent and disciplined. That's not shabby at all, especially for someone who recently suffered a back injury.

Imagine where you will be in 4 years if you stay on that path?

The pursuit of strength is a lifelong endeavor-you've got time. Take your time, post your videos, enjoy the journey and trust the process. Good luck.
 
Last edited:

Sandman.84

Level 1 Valued Member
It's kinda a very low camera angle so it's tough to see things - it looks very shallow. Are you working w. prior injuries? Is there a reason you might be shifting to the right?
Hi Boris, thanks for the feedback. Definitely looks like I need to work on my depth.
I’m working with a lower back injury and am recovering from it. Not sure why I would be shifting to the right, so something for me to focus on
 

Sandman.84

Level 1 Valued Member
I agree, need WAY more depth (you appear to only be going halfway down) and a better camera angle. But it's a good start! Your setup looks correct, though also from this angle I can't see the bar placement. Are you intending low bar position, or high bar? Low bar would be on the rear delts. High bar sits on the traps. I believe in the StrongFirst Barbell Fundamentals course it is high bar.

Your stance, grip, and bracing all look good.

It seems like you are trying hard to keep an upright torso. You will need to lean forward somewhat as you lower down, so that is expected. Here is a set of high bar squats I did earlier this week, if it helps for reference.

Can you film one with just the empty bar, and as much depth as you are comfortable with?
Hi Anna,

Thanks for taking time to provide your valuable feedback. I’m intending to do a high bar squat and it looks like I’m doing something in the middle. Thank you for your reference set of squats!

I’ll look to film another set with just an Rory bar and a better camera angle.

Thanks again!
 

Sandman.84

Level 1 Valued Member
I try to position a camera at or very close to what my "breaks parallel" height is for a competition. I sometimes practice squatting to a box at this height, which for me is 11-1/2 inches, and my camera here is positioned on a 12 inch box. These are from yesterday, 175 lb x 4. I am 66 years young and compete as a raw (and no belt) 67.5 (148 lb) lifter in the USPA.



-S-
Thanks for sharing Steve- appreciate the tips! Good luck on your competitions!
 

Sandman.84

Level 1 Valued Member
@Sandman.84 I agree with the great advice that you have gotten so far. I might be imagining it but it also looks like you have too much curvature in your lumbar spine but then again that's just from my perspective from the angle you filmed it.

Here's a recommendation from me:

1) Start with the 45 lb bar only, do all of your form corrections with it and develop impeccable technique. Revert back to kettlebell goblet squats if necessary as a corrective.

2) Add 10 lb only after you have nailed the empty bar (at least a week or so). Develop impeccable technique.

3) Add 10 lb and repeat. Keep at it for a week before adding more weight.

Here's my rationale: it is often said on here that strength is a skill. That becomes clearly evident when you consider that every time you load the bar, it will offset your form slightly and you will have to work through those subtle corrections, so jumping from light to heavy weights too quickly will cause issues with form that will lead to problems down the road.

If this progress (10 lb every week or so) seems glacial to you, remember that if you add only 5 lb per week, you are adding 20 lb per month. That's 240 lb per year, so if you begin this journey today and add 20 lb/month, at this time next year you would hypothetically be squatting 285 lb with perfect technique.

Of course, not all of your progress will be linear. There may be deloads, periods of active rest, a slowing down of progress from time to time, etc. but even with those things factored in, a squat in the mid-200's in January 2023 is easily doable if you stay consistent and disciplined. That's not shabby at all, especially for someone who recently suffered a back injury.

Imagine where you will be in 4 years if you stay on that path?

The pursuit of strength is a lifelong endeavor-you've got time. Take your time, post your videos, enjoy the journey and trust the process. Good luck.
Thanks @Wyanokie, I appreciate the sound advice. You are spot on about the curvature in my back- that's how I hurt my back initially and have been using the McGill Method to work on it. I like your logic about strength being a skill and that working on impeccable technique can pay dividends down the road and that it's a marathon, not a sprint. Thanks again for your feedback and support!
 

Sandman.84

Level 1 Valued Member
@Anna C , thanks for your help here. I've taken another video from a better angle (my home gym is narrow, so the options for filming are a bit limited unfortunately- I can't move my rack the other way due to the bulk head) and have a video of an empty bar and one with some modest weight on it.

No weight

Modest weight

Focusing on depth- my proprioception is so off as it feels like I'm going much deeper than I really am!
 

Sandman.84

Level 1 Valued Member
I try to position a camera at or very close to what my "breaks parallel" height is for a competition. I sometimes practice squatting to a box at this height, which for me is 11-1/2 inches, and my camera here is positioned on a 12 inch box. These are from yesterday, 175 lb x 4. I am 66 years young and compete as a raw (and no belt) 67.5 (148 lb) lifter in the USPA.



-S-
@Steve Freides - thanks again for sharing your videos.

I set up my camera to the side (45 degrees from the front is tough given how narrow my workout space is), and have tried to focus on depth.



 

Mark Limbaga

Level 8 Valued Member
Elite Certified Instructor
Video yourself regularly and learn to get a feel of what acceptable depth signals your body when attained so you can repeat it each rep, each set
 

Steve Freides

Staff
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
@Sandman.84, as everyone else has said, these look much better.

One thing you might try to sort out for yourself is the combination of bar position on your back and your squat mechanics. The bar looks like a high bar position but your mechanics look like low bar - to me. There are good reasons high bar and low bar squats look differently, so it's good to pay attention to which you're trying to do.

-S-
 
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