squat form question

EvanKeel
EvanKeel Posts: 1,904 Member
After having watched multiple videos (including Mehdi's) on how to perform squats, I'm having a tiny issue with my back.

I'm also having an issue with balance, but i assume that will get better with more practice. I find that right about when I'm breaking the parallel, I'm getting a sharp pinching feeling in my upper back. It feels like it's kind of under the shoulder blade (the right side today), but fairly close to the center of my back. It doesn't last long and it really only happens at that one point. I don't feel pain in that area after the workout or anything.

I do try to make sure I stretch a fair bit before lifting, and this usually entails foam rolling my scapula. So I'm not sure if this common or something to be concerned with, or perhaps my form is off? Anyone else experience this?

Replies

  • UponThisRock
    UponThisRock Posts: 4,522 Member
    what are you doing with your head?
  • EvanKeel
    EvanKeel Posts: 1,904 Member
    what are you doing with your head?

    Looking forward, usually...I think.

    EDIT Thinking about it, I find it easier to maintain my balance if I focus on something in the distance ahead of me.
  • DaveRCF
    DaveRCF Posts: 266
    After having watched multiple videos (including Mehdi's) on how to perform squats, I'm having a tiny issue with my back.

    I'm also having an issue with balance, but i assume that will get better with more practice. I find that right about when I'm breaking the parallel, I'm getting a sharp pinching feeling in my upper back. It feels like it's kind of under the shoulder blade (the right side today), but fairly close to the center of my back. It doesn't last long and it really only happens at that one point. I don't feel pain in that area after the workout or anything.

    I do try to make sure I stretch a fair bit before lifting, and this usually entails foam rolling my scapula. So I'm not sure if this common or something to be concerned with, or perhaps my form is off? Anyone else experience this?

    Believe it or not, try widening your grip. Mehdi has a very narrow, full grip. Try a wider grip and just use an overhand grip. I had the same problem. And look about 5 feet in front of you at the floor. Mehdi's grip isn't for everyone.
  • UponThisRock
    UponThisRock Posts: 4,522 Member
    Maybe try widening your grip a little.

    I'm wondering if you pinched a nerve back there.
  • EvanKeel
    EvanKeel Posts: 1,904 Member
    Ahh, thank you both. I'll give that a try next time.
  • kazzari
    kazzari Posts: 473 Member
    Ahh, thank you both. I'll give that a try next time.

    Since I am better acquainted with Starting Strength than I was with SL, that is how I learned to squat. After reading the 3 editions of the book, I bought the Starting Strength DVD. The squat section was long...in it Rippetoe coaches a variety of trainees doing multiple sets at increasing loads. As much as I thought I knew from reading the books, watching the DVD brought even more to light and made a difference in my squat. Then, for the first time, I saw Mehdi squat and was instantly annoyed. I noticed little things he was doing that were Rippetoe don't. Not major things, but enough that I wouldn't rely on Mehdi for form advice even if it is "his" program.
  • LiftBigtoGetFit
    LiftBigtoGetFit Posts: 3,399 Member
    Ahh, thank you both. I'll give that a try next time.

    Since I am better acquainted with Starting Strength than I was with SL, that is how I learned to squat. After reading the 3 editions of the book, I bought the Starting Strength DVD. The squat section was long...in it Rippetoe coaches a variety of trainees doing multiple sets at increasing loads. As much as I thought I knew from reading the books, watching the DVD brought even more to light and made a difference in my squat. Then, for the first time, I saw Mehdi squat and was instantly annoyed. I noticed little things he was doing that were Rippetoe don't. Not major things, but enough that I wouldn't rely on Mehdi for form advice even if it is "his" program.

    any quick things from Mehdi that you didn't like. I am new to lifting and not done much research beyond his Ebook and some of his videos.
    Thanks :smile:
  • DaveRCF
    DaveRCF Posts: 266
    Ahh, thank you both. I'll give that a try next time.

    Since I am better acquainted with Starting Strength than I was with SL, that is how I learned to squat. After reading the 3 editions of the book, I bought the Starting Strength DVD. The squat section was long...in it Rippetoe coaches a variety of trainees doing multiple sets at increasing loads. As much as I thought I knew from reading the books, watching the DVD brought even more to light and made a difference in my squat. Then, for the first time, I saw Mehdi squat and was instantly annoyed. I noticed little things he was doing that were Rippetoe don't. Not major things, but enough that I wouldn't rely on Mehdi for form advice even if it is "his" program.

    any quick things from Mehdi that you didn't like. I am new to lifting and not done much research beyond his Ebook and some of his videos.
    Thanks :smile:

    I am going a bit from memory here but besides the narrow grip and not using an overhand grip, he "dives into the hole" which Rippetoe does not recommend. He also looks straight forward instead of slightly down and does not point his toes out.

    But seriously, what do I know. The guy squats 400lbs so it clearly works for him.
    Ebook version of Starting Strength is the best 10 bucks you will ever spend.
  • LiftBigtoGetFit
    LiftBigtoGetFit Posts: 3,399 Member
    thanks, i have done that anyway (wider grip, chin down slightly, toes pointed out slightly) just felt more comfortable for me.
  • EvanKeel
    EvanKeel Posts: 1,904 Member
    No pinching with the wider grip, so yay!
  • sjohnny
    sjohnny Posts: 56,142 Member
    I'm confused. I've seen instructions to look down (like your holding a tennis ball under your chin) and instructions saying to look up.
  • DaveRCF
    DaveRCF Posts: 266
    I'm confused. I've seen instructions to look down (like your holding a tennis ball under your chin) and instructions saying to look up.

    Looking down is correct.
  • sjohnny
    sjohnny Posts: 56,142 Member
    I'm confused. I've seen instructions to look down (like your holding a tennis ball under your chin) and instructions saying to look up.

    Looking down is correct.

    Thanks. I had seen where Mehdi, I think, said the tennis ball thing. Then the "so you think you can squat" guy said to look up. But what really threw me off was I could have sworn I had seen Rippetoe videos where he advocated both. Now I can't seem to find the video where Rippetoe said to look up. It may have been a mushroom flashback or something.
  • UponThisRock
    UponThisRock Posts: 4,522 Member
    I'm confused. I've seen instructions to look down (like your holding a tennis ball under your chin) and instructions saying to look up.

    Looking down is correct.

    Thanks. I had seen where Mehdi, I think, said the tennis ball thing. Then the "so you think you can squat" guy said to look up. But what really threw me off was I could have sworn I had seen Rippetoe videos where he advocated both. Now I can't seem to find the video where Rippetoe said to look up. It may have been a mushroom flashback or something.

    There are a few lines of thinking on head position. You'll see a lot of powerlifters look up. The thinking here is that it it helps you keep your chest up and back straight. Mark Rippetoe says (I think) to look "6 to ten feet in front of you," which would but your head in a slightly down position.

    I've done it both ways and looking up did help me think about keeping my back straight, it also caused some issues with the muscles in my neck.
  • sjohnny
    sjohnny Posts: 56,142 Member
    I'm only about 4 weeks in to Stronglifts so the weights are still light enough that it probably doesn't make a difference. I just don't want to do something that's going to fck me up down the road.
  • kazzari
    kazzari Posts: 473 Member
    I'm confused. I've seen instructions to look down (like your holding a tennis ball under your chin) and instructions saying to look up.

    Looking down is correct.

    My squat improved immensely the moment I started looking down. I have always known not to look up...that is very outdated advice, but I used to look straight ahead and I think Rip might have recently added the "look down" advice to the tennis ball under the chin description to further clarify the correct position, as I don't recall that in the first book. I can't find the first addition, to confirm, however. I should probably clean my room.
  • UponThisRock
    UponThisRock Posts: 4,522 Member
    I'm only about 4 weeks in to Stronglifts so the weights are still light enough that it probably doesn't make a difference. I just don't want to do something that's going to fck me up down the road.

    I don't think it's a huge deal either way, as long as your chose method is comfortable, and your form is otherwise solid
  • sjohnny
    sjohnny Posts: 56,142 Member
    I'm more comfortable looking down so I'll just do it that way. So far I think my form is okay.

    Thanks everyone