Sunday, March 27, 2011

In pursuit of the perfect squat technique

It's almost 2am and I am obsessing about how in hell to improve my squats. The only lift I am decently good at is the deadlift. My squats and my benchpress are extremely weak. I don't really care about the benchpress but I really, REALLY want to improve my squat technique and numbers.

On a good day (i.e. when I am eating well - which I'm afraid I'm having some trouble doing) I can squat 3 sets of 5 reps of 43kg squats. Which is okay. But can be better. Much better. Much much better. Psychological reasons aside, I know that there is something off about my technique.

Vince Lombardi once said, "Practice doesn't make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect."

How true. The squat, to me, is highly technical. It doesn't matter if you're practicing often. If you're using the wrong technique, you won't be impriving anytime soon. You may even risk knee injury.

So in pursuit of improving technique, I revisited this clip again.

I don't know about you, but Coach Rippetoe's way of squatting looks a bit weird. But I might wanna try it anyway just to experiment whether it'll improve my squat numbers. Will experiment tomorrow... oops. I mean later today.


KevL said...

The link above, along with some explanations in detail, is where I truly learned the low-bar squat. The lifter in the video has one of the best techniques I've ever come across. If you think that your technique still needs improvement (I'm not sure in which areas), perhaps you should start looking at the hips first - the hips are afterall what bridge the legs and the lower back.

About the hips, it's good to remember 2 tips: at the top of the movement on the way down, you break at the hips first; at the bottom of the movement on the way up, you start with the hips as well, hence the hip drive upwards - the focus here is the *hips* (eccentric - break hips first, concentric - drive hips up first).

Perhaps by doing it in a step-by-step approach can you solve the technical issues you face:

1.) chest up, lower back tight and arched, move *just* your hips out and backwards as much as possible (without straining yourself),

2.) lower your hips while *attempting* to keep your knees as close and as parallel to your toes (keep your lower back and legs tight); it's okay even if you have your knees just slightly forward, just so as long as you're not thrown off balance - the idea of keeping the knees as far back as you can while keeping the balance is to engage as much of the hamstrings,

3.) With all muscles tight, move *only* the hips upwards - you'll go back to the "move *just* your hips out and backwards as much as possible" stated in "1.)",

4.) Drive your hips forward until you're back to the original position. You should probably try this without a bar to get the idea of it, and then proceeding to the bar as things will change somewhat under the weight.

You should notice that most of the move is done by the hips as it leads other muscle groups most of the time during the movement. The hips should be the main focus in the exercise, not the legs.

Aizan Suhaira said...

Very good feedback, Kev. This was how I originally squat before. But later did a lot of tweaking. Maybe have to go back to the way I did my squats before.

KevL said...

Let me know how it works out for you :)

Mitchell said...


At least I know I'm not the only one staying up late while pondering how to improve my squat technique.

Here's to you're success.


Aizan Suhaira said...

Thanks for dropping by Mitchell. Good to know there are other restless souls out there ;)