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Form check videos

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lwoodroff
lwoodroff Posts: 1,431 Member
I thought it might be nice to collect these in one place, so they are easier to refer back to than disappearing down the list...
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  • PitBullMom_Liz
    PitBullMom_Liz Posts: 339 Member
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    Great idea.
  • lwoodroff
    lwoodroff Posts: 1,431 Member
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    sorry that these are a bit all over the place, I started by propping it on the next rack over for the 40kg ones, then someone started using it so I propped it on the grab rail for the second set, and finally got someone else to take the third set (both at 50kg) although my request to get head and feet in obviously fell on deaf ears.. *sigh*

    instant thought is that I'm squatting too low! this isn't just below parallel, it's getting towards ATG.. which might explain why it's harder to get out of the hole at heavy weights.. other thoughts very welcome :)

    thanks

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fgl4biHzQlE 40kg
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HlovHDC7TzY 50kg set one
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fZOw3QihEFw 50kg set two
  • bumblebums
    bumblebums Posts: 2,181 Member
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    It might be useful to add some suggestions for filming these videos. High on my list would be:

    * Head and feet are visible, and camera is level. Knees are also visible. If you are asking for form critiques on the press, the entire bar path should be visible, so put the camera far enough away.

    * Lighting is sufficiently good to see all body parts. If you are wearing dark pants against a dark background, choose some with stripes, otherwise it is hard to see if you are hitting depth.

    * The camera is not at the level of the foot, but rather at hip level or higher. Otherwise depth in squats is hard to see.

    * Show your set-up--the way you unrack and re-rack the bar are important. Do not show the time it takes you to psych yourself up for the lift; the video should be reasonably short because some of us need to replay it to see details, and ain't nobody got the patience for a 10 minute form video. Either film a new video or edit it.

    * For squats, show a side view and a back view if you can; if you can only show one view, 45 degrees from the back would be ideal. For deadlifts, a front view at 45 degrees would be more useful. For bench, a full front or back view is useful for forearm position, as is a side view.

    * Check your form yourself first--if you see obvious glaring problems, like not hitting depth on squats or a seriously non-vertical path on the press, it probably isn't worth posting here, as we'll just tell you what you already know.

    * The weight should be challenging but not your 5 RM max (certainly not 1 RM max). At too light a weight, problems will not be as apparent, and nobody can lift 1 RM with perfect form--if you are doing that, it's not really a max for you.
  • bumblebums
    bumblebums Posts: 2,181 Member
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    Lydia, your squats look pretty good--the main problem I see in your squats is a knee slide, which is affecting your bar path. The bar path looks best in the last set. In the second set, you can see a sort of inverted J path. There are several things that could be affecting it, but the knee slide is the easiest and most important to fix first. TUBOW is your friend :) It will also help you hit proper depth, because it's hard to keep knees in place when you squat as deep as you do.

    Shoving the knees hard out and trying to keep them in the same place during the bottom 2/3rds of the movement (both on the way down and up) helps me with this.

    [EDIT: decyphering things for newer people reading this] A knee slide happens when the knees travel forward at the bottom of the squat, and this can be especially problematic if they move beyond the toes. The Terribly Useful Block of Wood prop is something you use to prevent yourself from doing this--put a block of wood that's about 2.5 feet long in front of your toes, touching the toes of one of the feet. Aim to touch the block with your knee but not tip it over. The contact should happen in the first half to 1/3rd of the movement, and the knees stay there until you rise back up 2/3rds of the way.
  • lwoodroff
    lwoodroff Posts: 1,431 Member
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    Ooh thank you! I know there is a foam thingy for the bar at the gym, might try your trick of standing that upright although the setup might be challenging! I don't think the good morning ing happened as much, maybe because being filmed you are that much more focused!
  • bumblebums
    bumblebums Posts: 2,181 Member
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    Ooh thank you! I know there is a foam thingy for the bar at the gym, might try your trick of standing that upright although the setup might be challenging! I don't think the good morning ing happened as much, maybe because being filmed you are that much more focused!

    I thought it would be hard to work around TUBOW, too, but it turned out to be pretty straightforward. (And yes, mine is more of a TUBOF, since I use the foam cylinder thingy that's already at the gym. It works well.) What I do is set it in position where my feet will be when I squat, and after unracking, I walk back to it. Since I squat with my toes out, I don't even have to worry too much about knocking it over--it's slightly to the side of where my feet are when I unrack.
  • PitBullMom_Liz
    PitBullMom_Liz Posts: 339 Member
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    First time deadlifting with the big girl plates. My form got sloppy on the last rep as I was tired, so I bounced the bar up and down my legs. You can't see my feet, but they are shoulder-width apart, and about 2" from the bar. I know they should only be about 1" from the bar but I feel like my form gets set up better like this.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=31SSvfNrV1k
  • bumblebums
    bumblebums Posts: 2,181 Member
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    First time deadlifting with the big girl plates. My form got sloppy on the last rep as I was tired, so I bounced the bar up and down my legs. You can't see my feet, but they are shoulder-width apart, and about 2" from the bar. I know they should only be about 1" from the bar but I feel like my form gets set up better like this.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=31SSvfNrV1k

    Yay, congrats on moving to 135!

    I can't see everything I would like to see, but here are some things I noticed. Your arms are comparatively short--I think we are the same height (5'9"), and my gorilla arms reach the middle of my femur, halfway down to the knees. Yours do not extend much below your hip crease. So for you it will be especially important to take a sufficiently narrow grip--your hands should be just outside your shins in the bottom position. I cannot see this feature of your lift in the video, but make sure to pay attention to that when you set up.

    The biggest issue I see right now is back rounding. It isn't too bad, but it's there on some reps, so try to be more conscious of it.

    From about rep 3 onward, the back angle is too horizontal. You have long legs, so you would use a more horizontal back position than I would, but I don't think it needs to be quite as horizontal as it is right now. Lift your chest up at the beginning of each rep--the cue is to point your chest at the wall in front of you. This is hard to do with a rounded back, too, but it will also make the angle slightly less horizontal. But overall, it's pretty good, at least to my eye.
  • PitBullMom_Liz
    PitBullMom_Liz Posts: 339 Member
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    Yes, I have short little T-Rex arms and long legs. Very disproportionate, LOL.

    Thank you for the tips - I'll definitely focus on chest up. That's becoming a common theme for me to work on with each move, LOL. And regarding grip width, my hands touch the outside of my thighs when I'm upright. Is that right?

    Thanks!
  • bumblebums
    bumblebums Posts: 2,181 Member
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    Yes, I have short little T-Rex arms and long legs. Very disproportionate, LOL.

    Thank you for the tips - I'll definitely focus on chest up. That's becoming a common theme for me to work on with each move, LOL. And regarding grip width, my hands touch the outside of my thighs when I'm upright. Is that right?

    Thanks!

    Shorter arms are an asset for pressing and pull-ups/chins, so I wouldn't knock 'em.

    Sounds like the hand position is fine (see fig. 4-38 of Starting Strength)--as long as the arms are upright, you are using the most efficient arm position.

    For attaining a less horizontal back angle with longer legs, it can help to point your toes and knees out more. That would be fig. 4-40 in SS and associated discussion.
  • PitBullMom_Liz
    PitBullMom_Liz Posts: 339 Member
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    Thanks for the image references in SS. I love that book.
  • lwoodroff
    lwoodroff Posts: 1,431 Member
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    A couple of things from my non expert standpoint.. the back rounding has been mentioned, but I also believe that if you had a bar running from your head to your butt it would touch at 3 points. I think your head might be a bit high rather than in line? I'd also suggest thinking of driving your hips up and forward as the main source of impetus. Hope that helps, sure someone will point out if I'm wrong! :-)

    Edited for Fricking tiny keyboard issues!
  • PitBullMom_Liz
    PitBullMom_Liz Posts: 339 Member
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    I was also noticing that my head isn't in a straight line. Wasn't sure how critical that is for the DL?
  • bumblebums
    bumblebums Posts: 2,181 Member
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    I was also noticing that my head isn't in a straight line. Wasn't sure how critical that is for the DL?

    I generally try to keep the neck neutral, and there is an argument for not extending the cervical spine since the traps are connected to the vertebrae and are under considerable load. As long as you are looking forward and slightly down, you should be okay. If you look at Fig. 4-30, you'll see that the more horizontal the back angle of the lifter, the more acute the neck angle to the rest of the spine. Although that could be an accident of the pics they chose. Anyway, your head/neck position didn't look extreme to me.

    The one thing I definitely wouldn't do is turn my neck either during the ascent or at the top of the lift--that's asking for a neck injury. (It has nothing to do with your video--I just thought I'd mention it while we're on necks and deadlifts.)
  • PitBullMom_Liz
    PitBullMom_Liz Posts: 339 Member
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    The one thing I definitely wouldn't do is turn my neck either during the ascent or at the top of the lift--that's asking for a neck injury. (It has nothing to do with your video--I just thought I'd mention it while we're on necks and deadlifts.)

    That's honestly good to know. You don't really think about things like that.
  • MonsterToBe
    MonsterToBe Posts: 244 Member
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    Lydia, I do see a couple of things in your squats that could be addressed, but overall it looks good. :o)

    As bumblebums was saying, your knees are very far forward. They're also too far in, which is why they're sliding forward.

    Get down into your bottom-of-the-squat position, stick your elbows into the insides of your knees, and force them as far apart as you can. That is where they need to be in the bottom of the squat (or as close as possible, anyway). Spend a few minutes hanging out in this position to get the feel for where your knees need to go. This will protect your knees!! Under heavy load, with your knees so far forward, there is a lot of strain on the ligaments of the inside edges of your knees, and you definitely don't want that.


    Try this while doing an air squat:

    1) Position your toes pointing nearly straight forward. Don't let them point out more than about 10 degress.
    2) Tighten your glutes as hard as you can.
    3) Screw your feet into the ground -- this should feel like you're trying to force your toes to point out even though they stay pointing forward. You should feel torque from your feet all the way to your hips. The twist should make your feet arch a bit, too.
    4) Hold your hands at about shoulder height with your thumbs a few inches apart, shoulders pulled back and down.
    5) Think about your rib cage and its alignment with your pelvis. Most people at this point will have their rib cage tilted back slightly, and need to pull the front of the rib cage down so that it is aligned with the pelvis.
    6) Lock everything into place by tightening your abs. At this point you should feel really solid from shoulders to hips, and you should still feel that twist from floor to hips.
    7) All those muscles you feel in that twist? Twist them even harder as you use them, your glutes, and your hamstrings to pull yourself down into the squat. Do it slowly so you can control how far you go -- don't go down so far that you lose tightness in the hole. Take video from a 45 degree angle to the front so you can see what's happening with your knees. If you're maintaining that torque, your knees will go out instead of forward. Your shin angle should also be much more vertical. Best of all, when you get the hang of it, your squat will feel stronger and more solid.
    8) All that tension you've built up twisting and pulling into the bottom of the squat? Unleash it to come back up, finishing with your glutes tight again (like the lockout of a deadlift). You may be surprised at how much power you feel coming up out of the hole if you didn't go too deep.


    The "too deep" part is related to individual hip mobility. Past a certain point, the hips can't flex anymore and additional depth is achieved only by changing the angle of the lumbar spine... it rounds forward (the infamous "butt wink") to get the extra depth. You never want the amount of flexion or extension in any part of your spine to change during the lift! When that happens, your back is doing some of the work of the lift, which it shouldn't be. Its job is purely isometric -- all it should be doing is maintaining position. Bottom line is that if your spine changes flexion or extension under load, especially a load like a heavy squat or deadlift, it makes you susceptible to injury.

    Practice doing air squats until the whole sequence of setting up like this doesn't seem like SO MUCH anymore. (Because for awhile, it totally does feel like oh, so very much! lol) Then get under the empty bar. You want to get all that tightness and torque in place BEFORE lifting the bar out. Once you're under load, it's much harder to establish tension. You need to be tight before lifting out the bar and then maintain it till the lift is done.

    It's a lot of work, but when I reworked my squat form this way a few months ago after an injury, I was absolutely amazed at how much better my squat began to feel. Also, I strongly recommend Kelly Starrett's site and book (mobilitywod.com and Becoming a Supple Leopard, respectively) for learning more about this technique. One of my training partners, a competitive powerlifter, had stalled on his squat for over a year. His PR is 395 (IIRC he weighs about 155). He took a couple of months to rework his squat and is currently running a cycle of Smolov (very intense program he's run a couple of times during the stall) and based on his progress it looks like he's finally going to break 400 when he tests after the cycle. He'd been squatting with an arch in his back till he read in the Supple Leopard book about exactly how and why that was making his squat less efficient.

    I hope this helps!
  • lwoodroff
    lwoodroff Posts: 1,431 Member
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    Wow. Thank you for taking the time and trouble to go into such amazing detail!!

    I will print this off, and work to comprehend and put into practice. I am sure I can squat more, and it is the form holding me back. :)

    Thank you!
  • MonsterToBe
    MonsterToBe Posts: 244 Member
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    You can absolutely squat more!! It is NOT strength holding you back. That is very clear from your videos. :o)
  • MonsterToBe
    MonsterToBe Posts: 244 Member
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    First time deadlifting with the big girl plates. My form got sloppy on the last rep as I was tired, so I bounced the bar up and down my legs. You can't see my feet, but they are shoulder-width apart, and about 2" from the bar. I know they should only be about 1" from the bar but I feel like my form gets set up better like this.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=31SSvfNrV1k

    Yay, congrats on moving to 135!

    [snip]

    The biggest issue I see right now is back rounding. It isn't too bad, but it's there on some reps, so try to be more conscious of it.

    From about rep 3 onward, the back angle is too horizontal. You have long legs, so you would use a more horizontal back position than I would, but I don't think it needs to be quite as horizontal as it is right now. Lift your chest up at the beginning of each rep--the cue is to point your chest at the wall in front of you. This is hard to do with a rounded back, too, but it will also make the angle slightly less horizontal. But overall, it's pretty good, at least to my eye.

    Agreed. Here's a cue that might help... when you're setting up, before you pull, try to put your shoulder blades in your back pockets.

    Then move your weight back to your heels and drive your heels through the floor to stand up. We talk about deadlifts as pulls, but that leads some people to think they need to pull from their arms and shoulders and that will throw you off -- the arms only attach the weight to your body. Your legs and hips do all the work. At the top of the rep, pause for a second and fully lock out... knees straight, glutes tight as possible, shoulders back.

    Also, I know this is the stronglifts forum and it's all predicated on sets of 5, but for deadlift that's not really optimal. I'm a strong advocate for singles only for deadlift. To lift maximal weights, you need both strength and skill. Skill comes from practicing a motor pattern consistently and correctly many, many times. Since deadlifts are done for much less volume than the other lifts due to their taxing nature, you get less practice. If you do sets of deadlifts, even if they're not touch-and-go, you still only practice the setup once per set of five or however many you're doing. If you do singles (set up, lift, lower the bar, step away from the bar, repeat) for a "set" of five, you've practiced the entire lift five times instead of once, allowing you to develop skill more effectively than you can doing traditional sets. Additionally, each time you complete a rep and do not fully reset and set up all over again, the bar and your body will be in a slightly different position, which typically leads to form degrading through the set. This means you are practicing that motor pattern inconsistently. Skill development will be slower when you practice form correctly for one rep and slightly differently for 4 subsequent reps than when you practice it as close to the same as possible for 5 reps in a row.

    For anyone who's interested, SSPT (home of Matt Gary and Suzanne Hartwig-Gary, who are phenomenal powerlifters (she recently took bronze at IPF World's)) has a video explaining how to program for this approach. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-q3CTfHSBTg Or, if you prefer to stick to a stronglifts-style program and are worried you may not be increasing strength as much because of the 5-10 seconds of rest it takes to set up all over again between pulls (time under tension does matter, after all), just do 7 or 8 pulls instead of 5.

    Also, for you specifically, as your form tightens up, focus on making each rep (including warmups) as explosive as possible. This will help as the weights get heavier -- and feels awesome! Keep up the great work!
  • lwoodroff
    lwoodroff Posts: 1,431 Member
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    M2b, tried your suggestions tonight. Wow that was hard! And that was in the living room with the huz reading out the instructions! How wide apart for the feet facing forward step one? Also the first exercise has my knees much further apart than usual so lots to work on... Thank you again!