SL 5x5 Form Check

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sistrsprkl
sistrsprkl Posts: 1,013 Member
edited July 2015 in Fitness and Exercise
Any feedback on form would be greatly appreciated! I'm about 3 weeks into SL and I love it so far but am new to the barbell and everything I know is from you guys here and Mehdi @ SL. I used an unloaded bar bc I had just finished my workout. Also, please don't critique the setup as it's not my usual gym. Thanks!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6pJQTiU9Q9s
https://youtu.be/TkBmM13U-r4
https://youtu.be/F5IkdpKfqVI
https://youtu.be/PFEcnzjY15o
https://youtu.be/UKIekDhBhWU

eta, tried to embed but don't know how apparently...

Replies

  • Kr15by
    Kr15by Posts: 78 Member
    edited July 2015
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    Squats: leaning a little bit too far forward and losing balence during the last rep. Try it with bare foot as your trainers may be elevation your heels too much.

    Bench: too quick on the descent. Slow it down.

    Deadlifts: (I'm assuming these are normal deadlifts and not SLDL?) Bend legs more and drive the weight up with your legs, don't lift it with your back

    Overall your form isn't too bad for a beginner and will improve the more you get used to the lifts


  • sistrsprkl
    sistrsprkl Posts: 1,013 Member
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    @Kr15by, thank you!!
  • IsaackGMOON
    IsaackGMOON Posts: 3,358 Member
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    Not sure if I'm late or not but I'll chime in with what I've noticed;
    • Squats: It seems your heel is rising off the ground a little bit, I reckon it's to do with the shoes you are wearing. Try a trainer which is flat footed (i.e. converse) or a trainer with minimal heel drop. Your head is also at a weird angle (I did this on my first time), which can potentially put strain on your neck and spine. Mark Rippetoe has great advice on this; https://youtu.be/QhVC_AnZYYM?t=1m
    • Deadlift: I know there aren't any weights on the bar to make it rise from the ground but with this instance, it seems you are using your back more than your legs.
  • peachyfuzzle
    peachyfuzzle Posts: 1,122 Member
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    That deadlift is really going to need some work. It looks like you're doing it all with your back, and that spells huge trouble once you start putting any weight on the bar. Bend more at the knee, and make sure you start the motion by driving through your heels. Your chest should be outward, and your back should be concave in sort of the same manner like when you're at depth in the squat. Your back should never really change position, instead you should be pulling your hips forward in order to make the transition into vertical.

    Also, watch the arc of motion your head goes through during the lift. There is always going to be some arc just by virtue of the way a deadlift is performed, but it should be kept to a minimum. This is also a symptom of not keeping your neck in alignment with your back. Basically, pick a spot a few feet in front of you, stare at it, and then keep staring in the same vertical line as you move upward. Don't allow your neck to become misaligned with your spine. Your head is moving in a sweeping circular path, take a look at this video, what you're doing is the upper left incorrect motion at around the 1:40 mark:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4qRntuXBSc

    I would suggest starting the deadlift with bumper plates (the rubber ones that are the same diameter at all weights) at something really small like 10lbs a piece just so you're not having to reach all the way to the floor to grab the bar, and are not putting a lot of weight on. But, definitely bend at the knee more, and keep the back concave.

    Onto the row...

    The row is my favorite lift. I don't know why, it just suits me. My suggestions for your row are largely the same as my suggestions for your deadlift.

    Bend at the knee a little more, and make sure your back isn't as flat, and parallel to the ground. Of course, don't be as vertical as you would be for a squat, or a deadlift, but you should be at a small angle with the floor instead of parallel. Again, make sure your neck is in line with your spine. Pick the same spot on the floor as you did with your deadlift, stare at it, and fix your gaze. Since you're not moving through space with a row, you don't have to follow the path vertically. Just get into position at the bar, pick your spot to stare at, and complete the lift.

    It also looks like you're pulling the bar more into your stomach area when it should be going into your chest.

    I would suggest getting a feel for how your body should be positioned by starting with some mid-weight dumbells (a weight that isn't heavy for you, but something you're not going to lift with ease either). Straddle a weight bench with one of your knees, put your other leg straight out to the side of you with only enough bending at the knee to get a stable base, then put your the arm on the same side of your body that your knee is straddling the bench with straight down like you're at the top of a push up. This should force you into the correct positioning for your body, and you should notice that your back is bent with your butt is just above your heel on the leg with the knee straddling the bench.

    You should be able to reach down with your free arm to pick up the weight, and move it up to your chest to complete the lift. Don't forget to pick your staring spot a few feet in front of you to keep your neck/spine alignment. When completing the lift, you should not be engaging your shoulder, dipping your butt, or dipping your knee on the leg out to the side. The lift should be completed using only the arm, and the back muscles it activates. You should notice that the dumbbell naturally wants to follow a path directly into your chest.

    Then repeat on the other side. You should notice your back is probably in the ballpark of 25 - 30 degrees from parallel, and then translate that to the bar when you're ready.

    Here's a video for the dumbbell row:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-koP10y1qZI

    Now that I've written that whole book... lol. I would only suggest getting yourself a pair of flat bottomed shoes because you're not going to activate your stabalizing muscles as much if you're wearing either running shoes, or cross trainers since they're cushioned. A lot of people, including myself, like Chuck Taylor's, but other people lift barefoot, or get those super advanced $200 lifting shoes that will do nothing for you if you're not already at a high level.
  • cresyluna
    cresyluna Posts: 48 Member
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    Thanks for posting this! I've been doing SL for a few weeks and am frequently like "I... don't know if I'm doing this right??" Especially barbell row, while everything else feels RIGHT like I'm actually using the muscles I'm supposed to be using (I learned some from taking bodypump classes), the barbell row never seems to, and if you hadn't posted peachyfuzzle wouldn't have written the treatise on the barbell row!

    Also, I struggled to figure out how to do the barbell row before there was serious weight on the bar because yeah, you shouldn't be needing to bend/lift all the way to the ground! I use the squat rack with the holders at the lowest possible height, which at my gym is a little below my knees and that works fairly well. The other option is to set the bar on the bench and lift from there, although that requires a little balancing and isn't quite as secure - but if the squat rack doesn't go low enough isn't a bad option! Good luck!
  • sistrsprkl
    sistrsprkl Posts: 1,013 Member
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    Thank you so much, guys! This is super helpful. In regards to the shoes, I usually wear New Balance Minimus to lift which has very little sole. I took the video on vacation and didn't think about the shoes but in retrospect realize it probably really changed my squat stance. Thanks again!
  • CarlydogsMom
    CarlydogsMom Posts: 645 Member
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    So try watching your squat video and looking at the motion the bar makes. The proper squat should have the bar directly above the center of your foot, with that vertical line between foot-center and bar being the "fulcrum," almost like the middle of a see-saw. your backside and then your head/knees should move while always keeping that vertical line as your bar goes down, and then up. Yours makes almost like a funny little "s".

    You want to keep that bar directly along the line that goes straight up from the middle of your foot.

    I also need to follow my own advice.

    Deadlifts: As above, you're not bending down enough with your hips in the beginning of the lift. You don't go as deep as a squat, but you should go down a bit more, with your back/neck in alignment. Think about lifting a heavy box--what would you do. You bend down and LIFT WITH YOUR LEGS/butt/glutes/hams while essentially keeping your back in the same alignment in the beginning, then straightening as your butt pulls forward. While it's an intense lift, you should mostly feel it in your legs/glutes/hams as you move that bar through the hardest/first part of the lift.

    I am not a huge barbell row person, but it seems like your grip is more with your fingertips than with your entire hand. Grab that puppy and move the bar quickly--boom! up to about your rib cage.

    Bench: Bar should be on a straight up-and-down plane right about at your bra line. Yours seems like it's a little north of that, right about at them boobies. Bring your hands/arms out a little more, and lift / lower the bar vertical above your bra line.

    Overhead Press: Just make sure you're tight in your core, tucking in your glutes to help you strengthen that core, and don't let your back arch. Straight, unarched back with butt and legs helping you push that bar up.

    Keep it up, I'm really impressed at how you've taught yourself the basics.
  • rileyes
    rileyes Posts: 1,404 Member
    edited July 2015
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    I am pretty new to SL5x5 and have been reading and YouTub-ing a lot on form. @CarlydogsMom said it perfectly.

    Another thing that can help is to visualize that straight-line bar path when lifting.

    And, when lifting heavier with the row and deadlift, I pump out my chest (which pulls back my scapular region) to keep my back from rounding. And, for the row, think of thrusting that bar just below the rib cage with elbows to the sky.

    Also it may help to think of holding a ball between the chin and chest to keep the neck neutral.
  • sistrsprkl
    sistrsprkl Posts: 1,013 Member
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    Thank you, ladies! I hope I can remember all of this at the gym tomorrow!
  • Walter__
    Walter__ Posts: 518 Member
    edited July 2015
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    First and foremost it appears you don't know how to properly brace your core. I mention this first because this is absolutely crucial to keeping your spine safe. Watch and practice how to brace properly. This is the best video I've found so far because it is concise: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_StSjmX1BOg

    Squats - don't use running shoes. wear some flat shoes or go barefoot instead. You are not bracing your core properly because your lower back is flexing. And that is just with an empty bar - add enough weight to it and you will crumble. There should be no movement or rounding in your lower back; it must be stable.

    Bench - your back doesn't seem tight. when the weight gets heavier, if your back is not tight then it will collapse. you must learn to retract your shoulder blades, and then use leg drive to maintain stability. these two videos will explain the concept:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GIqcXj2pAPA
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JVBUgvsMNtk

    also, i can't tell for sure from the angle you took the video, but your bar placement seems too narrow. it appears that your forearms are caving in, as opposed to being vertical: bench-press-grip-width.jpg

    Deadlift - your mechanics are completely wrong. watch this video, it's the best guide i've ever seen on deadlifts: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K3izzg0RCTg

    Rows - once again, as in your squat, little to no core stability. your back is rounding.


    Once more I must stress core bracing. Please learn and practice this first. I feel the first video is adequate enough to teach you the technique, but in case you need a little bit more explanation watch this:

    from (1:00-6:45)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ibH_B0ZGvrU

    and this (from 3:20 and on)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zX73Kn_ZHD0

  • sistrsprkl
    sistrsprkl Posts: 1,013 Member
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    @walterc7, thank you so much! Incredibly helpful videos & tips.
  • rainbowbow
    rainbowbow Posts: 7,490 Member
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    I think everyone's given great advice. I'll just chime in with what i'm seeing.

    Squat, you are leaning too far forward. Not quite dropping your chest, but, it may just be the shoes you're wearing. Focus on sticking your butt out more, and if it helps you can look up ahead. Try and see if that helps you get the hang of the proper form. You definitely want to get the hang of having the bar moving directly up and down in a straight line, because once it's loaded down with weight you dont want to lose your balance.

    The bench, you need to slow down your descent (although i realize this bar was unloaded) and keep your elbows in. It looks like you might have either a too narrow grip or uneven grip just judging by the way that it's wobbling around. Either way, i'd start by focusing on the bar moving in a simple, straight line. More controlled. Focus on the chest while you're doing this.

    I'm okay with the OHP.

    But the two you really need to work on is the deadlift and row. Both of them you are putting a significant amount of the stress on your back. Deadlifts, keep your chest up and your butt out. Focus on the feeling in the hamstrings/glutes. Again, this may be due to the shoes youre wearing affecting your posture. But you're leaning too far forward i think. Legs should bend more, and your butt should be back more.

    The row, you are dropping your chest way too low. Focus on using your back in a slow and controlled movement. I like to imagine that i'm pulling the weight up into my belly button/waist.

    Overall, i'd say focus on the bar movement being fluid and solid. Slow and controlled. You should be actively focusing on using the intended muscles during the movement, and keeping a strong tight core and proper spine posture during the entire exercise. As i've said to some of the people i've trained, I want you to imagine that i'm taking a picture of you during the movement. You should be slow and controlled and the bar should be moving in the same line.
    8gm4zunr5c7j.png
  • sistrsprkl
    sistrsprkl Posts: 1,013 Member
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    @rainbowbow, thank you! My squat and bench felt a lot better today thanks to the advice & videos above. My rows still don't feel "right" though so I'm going to look up more videos on those. I'm doing something wrong!
  • limetree683
    limetree683 Posts: 51 Member
    edited July 2015
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    Not sure if I'm late or not but I'll chime in with what I've noticed;
    • Squats: It seems your heel is rising off the ground a little bit, I reckon it's to do with the shoes you are wearing. Try a trainer which is flat footed (i.e. converse) or a trainer with minimal heel drop. Your head is also at a weird angle (I did this on my first time), which can potentially put strain on your neck and spine. Mark Rippetoe has great advice on this; https://youtu.be/QhVC_AnZYYM?t=1m
    • Deadlift: I know there aren't any weights on the bar to make it rise from the ground but with this instance, it seems you are using your back more than your legs.

    That video was terrifying and informative, thank you :) I feel the best advice I've heard is Rippetoe's 'shove that thing up' - tried it today and it made an immediate difference to my squats, no knee collapse, no weird 'what's that niggling pain?' etc. Genuinely felt that today is the day I can progress with my squats and keep putting weight on the bars without injuring myself and being more confident in my form.