Squat Form Check

freeflowme

Triple-Digit Post Count
Hey all,

I've been contemplating starting to practice the barbell back squat, and thought I'd just try videoing a couple of reps with just the bar today just to see if what feels like parallel to me is indeed parallel.

Upon watching the first video back, I though "Uh oh... that looks like a lot of butt wink." So I took another from the side, and tried more of a high bar set up than low bar like the first video to see if changing my leverages helped keep my back more neutral. I'm not sure that it did.

Any feedback would be much appreciated.

Interestingly, goblet squats feel fantastic, but when I have to try to get my shoulders around the barbell (I have pretty bad t-spine and shoulder mobility) it feels like it throws everything out of whack.

Set 1: LBBS

Set 2: HBBS
 

Boris Bachmann

Double-Digit Post Count
They are both about the same. The lighting and angle aren't helpful in the second video.

You do have a butt wink, but it's not that bad. If you keep working at improving form while building strength, you'll probably be good.

That said, low bar and high bar squatting are different tools and different technique. Generally, high bar squatting = narrower stance, less hip backward travel

Don't overthink it, but this video may help.
 

Anna C

More than 5000 posts
Elite Certified Instructor
@freeflowme I think this looks OK, though it's hard to give a real form check with an empty bar. Also there are a lot of details that could be coached if you want to squat the Starting Strength way, but unless say that you want to follow that model, I'll leave those aside.

One thing I'll mention is that when you first start the squat you are reaching back with the hips/butt, resulting in sort of an arch in the back in the beginning of the movement. If you instead hinge at the hips, keep your torso intact, and lean forward, the spine will stay neutral throughout. Bracing the abs also helps to keep the back rigid all the way to the bottom.
 

freeflowme

Triple-Digit Post Count
@Boris Bachmann - thanks for the input and the vid. I recall seeing SquatRX probably 8 years ago now. Good to have it cross my radar again.

@Anna C - I've got Starting Strength, 3rd ed. and have definitely thought about the LBBS set up there. I have to say, I was trying some different bar heights / hand positions to see what felt the most comfortable, and really jacked my right shoulder up trying the LBBS set up. I've had really limited mobility in my right shoulder and quite a bit of chronic pain in it for 10+ years, and the LBBS aggravates it like no other. I also have really short humerus and long forearms, which makes the LBBS set up all the worse (and makes front racking a clean really difficult). I think if I were to squat as part of a program, it would have to be high bar.
 

Anna C

More than 5000 posts
Elite Certified Instructor
I've had really limited mobility in my right shoulder and quite a bit of chronic pain in it for 10+ years, and the LBBS aggravates it like no other. I also have really short humerus and long forearms, which makes the LBBS set up all the worse (and makes front racking a clean really difficult). I think if I were to squat as part of a program, it would have to be high bar.
Yeah, makes sense. A lot of people who initially have trouble with LBBS can get there with time and coaching, but on your own it may not be worth the aggravation. High bar should be fine, and you just don't lean over as much.

BTW, I watched that video above and he does the same thing that I mentioned you do ("reaching back with the hips/butt, resulting in sort of an arch in the back in the beginning of the movement"). So you're no worse than that guy ;) Some of what appears to be "butt wink" (not fond of the term, personally) is just the removal of the arch to a more neutral back as you approach the bottom of the squat. Ideally, your back stays neutral throughout, including at the top and the bottom, so there is as little change in spine position as possible. The movement should be in the hips and knees, not the back. Braced abs are often the best cue for this. They should be braced hard like someone's going to punch you in the stomach, all the way through the squat.
 

freeflowme

Triple-Digit Post Count
Yeah, makes sense. A lot of people who initially have trouble with LBBS can get there with time and coaching, but on your own it may not be worth the aggravation. High bar should be fine, and you just don't lean over as much.

BTW, I watched that video above and he does the same thing that I mentioned you do ("reaching back with the hips/butt, resulting in sort of an arch in the back in the beginning of the movement"). So you're no worse than that guy ;) Some of what appears to be "butt wink" (not fond of the term, personally) is just the removal of the arch to a more neutral back as you approach the bottom of the squat. Ideally, your back stays neutral throughout, including at the top and the bottom, so there is as little change in spine position as possible. The movement should be in the hips and knees, not the back. Braced abs are often the best cue for this. They should be braced hard like someone's going to punch you in the stomach, all the way through the squat.
Doesn't Rip say "present your butt to the wall?" ;)
 

Anna C

More than 5000 posts
Elite Certified Instructor
Doesn't Rip say "present your butt to the wall?" ;)
I don't think so, for the squat... maybe for the deadlift, to get what he calls lower back extension. Generally for the squat, reach back with the hips. But that's by sitting back and leaning over, not sticking your butt out independently. If that makes sense.
 

freeflowme

Triple-Digit Post Count
I don't think so, for the squat... maybe for the deadlift, to get what he calls lower back extension. Generally for the squat, reach back with the hips. But that's by sitting back and leaning over, not sticking your butt out independently. If that makes sense.
It does. I'm working on correcting my anterior pelvic tilt (the cue to "bring your ribs to your pelvis" in the deadlift has helped me a lot in keeping my core tight), but I have a tendency for my L-spine to go into hyper-extension, so it makes sense that I'd have a tendency to stick my butt out too much to initiate a squat.
 

Robert Noftz

Triple-Digit Post Count
Hey all,

I've been contemplating starting to practice the barbell back squat, and thought I'd just try videoing a couple of reps with just the bar today just to see if what feels like parallel to me is indeed parallel.

Upon watching the first video back, I though "Uh oh... that looks like a lot of butt wink." So I took another from the side, and tried more of a high bar set up than low bar like the first video to see if changing my leverages helped keep my back more neutral. I'm not sure that it did.

Any feedback would be much appreciated.

Interestingly, goblet squats feel fantastic, but when I have to try to get my shoulders around the barbell (I have pretty bad t-spine and shoulder mobility) it feels like it throws everything out of whack.

Set 1: LBBS

Set 2: HBBS
It would probably be a good idea to work with a Strongfirst Instructor at a seminar or with personal training. I just had my first lesson today with an instructor at a gym. I wish I would have done it from the beginning. I could tell after one lesson that her instruction will help me avoid strain on my lower back and also utilize my strength more efficiently. It was about an hour and twenty-minute drive one way, but it was worth it.
I spent time reading descriptions in books and watching videos, but it just wasn't enough. I was having some issues with lower back strain after I deadlifted and sometimes after squatting. Also, I thought my squat was more low bar than it really was. On a spectrum of high and low it was probably high by most standards. I thought I was demonstrating my low bar squat to the instructor and she said it was a nice looking high bar squat. She then proceeded to show me some things that I didn't know. There is only some much you can see on your own.
 
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