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Old 04-06-2012, 04:34   #1
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Form Check Thread

Hey guys,
My lower back has been killing me the days following squats. I made a vid and it looks like I might be rounding my upper back a bit, but I'm not sure as I have a bit of a hump there anyway. I thought I'd post it for the S & C regulars to critique my form.

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Old 04-06-2012, 20:22   #2
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Yes, you are rounding your back. Keep your head back and look more straight ahead rather than down. Positioning your feet should be automatic, and you should never have to look at anything other than your focus point from when you start to go under the bar until you have racked it and are stepping away.

Unrack the bar by arching your back, and stay arched throughout the movement. Rise out of the hole by arching your back, bringing your chest up, and finish by driving the hips forward. The lockout comes not from flexing the quads, but from arching the back and driving the hips. This will push the hips forward and the knees will go in line below them, locking out the legs.

Re-rack the weight by walking forward until the bar contacts the uprights and then lower it into the saddles. Do not turn your head while under the load and don't lean forward to re-rack.

Strenghten your upper back and spinal erectors with arched-back good mornings, back raises (hyperextensions) and rack pulls (deadlifts off the pins, probably from mid to top knee for where you need improvement).
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Old 04-07-2012, 04:25   #3
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Thanks for the tips, I'll try to digest all of that and get it fixed.
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Old 04-07-2012, 12:48   #4
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I'd listen to ateamer if I were you.
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Old 04-08-2012, 04:07   #5
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Originally Posted by California Jack View Post
I'd listen to ateamer if I were you.
I intend too. Much respect for ateamer and the indepth response.
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Old 04-08-2012, 12:13   #6
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You setup very loosely. You just kinda duck under the bar, put your hands on it, and stand up. You don't seem to take any steps to stay tight. Your upper back is rounding as you descend.

It looks like your belt is just sitting on you. It may just look that way on the video and it may not be the case. But when I tighten my belt and push out with my stomach the back part of my belt looks like it's cutting into my back it cinches up so tight.

I grab the bar in the same exact spot every time, while standing in front of the bar, then I move under it while still holding the same spot. I squeeze my shoulder blades together hard, flex the traps, and pull the elbows back and up, get my breath, and press out hard with my stomach against my belt, which helps to keep my back arched, before I actually take any weight on my back. And if I still feel loose after all that, I set the bar down, slide my hands in slightly to help tighten everything up, and start completely over from the start. I take probably 3 times longer than you do to setup, and that's if I get it right.

As I descend I keep my elbows up and back, as well as my shoulders blades. I focus just as much on keeping my upper back tight and still as I do on the actual squat itself.

I accidentally paused the video in mid-rep at 1:59. In this frame your right elbow is way up high behind your back, and your left elbow is way down low near your stomach and your upper body is twisted slightly. I tried to do a screen capture to show you what I'm talking about, but it didn't work. Your elbows and upper back twist and flail around slightly during your reps. You've gotta stay tight.

For the record, I squat looking down. I can't stand looking up, it makes me feel like I'm leaning back too much. I use the setup Mark Rippetoe teaches. And I manage not to round my upper back. So I don't think that's an issue. I think it's all in your setup.
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Old 04-08-2012, 13:12   #7
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Here you go.

Strength & Conditioning

Incidentally, I don't really think it matters where one looks as long as they're able to stay tight. You may have to use a cue like "look up" if you're looking too far down in order to remind yourself to tighten your upper back and keep your chest a little proud.
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Old 04-08-2012, 20:01   #8
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Wow that looks pretty crazy, ES. I dropped weight a little today and worked on form with a particular emphasis on looking ahead a bit more and raising my chest out of the hole. So far my back feels better so I think that might've been a big part of it. I don't really know how my form got all whack all of a sudden.
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Old 04-08-2012, 20:48   #9
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It's probably not terribly hard to train out, to be honest. Keep your back tight and lead with your ass coming up out of the hole.
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Old 04-09-2012, 04:59   #10
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My belt is a POS, SO. I probably need to buy a better one. I know what you mean about looking down it feels way better for me then looking up. I think adjusting my focus point like Ateamer and ES mentioned and using that to think chest up is probably going to help a lot. Or I could just be rambling pre-coffee.

Lots of stuff to work on for the next couple of weeks. Thanks for the tips.
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Old 04-09-2012, 12:08   #11
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If your belt is tapered so that it's wide in the back, simply turn it around. Gives your abs a better surface to push against than the way one is expected to wear it.
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Old 04-09-2012, 12:31   #12
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Lose the belt. I don't think you need it. Just take a huge ass breath to stabilize your core. I'd say get everything moving by sticking your butt out rather than bending your knees then drive your hips/butt up out of the hole

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Old 04-09-2012, 12:45   #13
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Don't use a belt until you have double bodyweight on the bar.
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