Check my form? Squat, RDL & Lat Pulldown [VIDEOS]

bribucks
bribucks Posts: 431 Member
edited February 2018 in Fitness and Exercise
Hello all! Husband and I are new to this whole lifting thing (or at least, new to taking it seriously) and want to check our forms before progressing in weight. Any advice or suggestions are welcome! Thanks.

PS - Hopefully this embeds the videos properly!

ETA - I am aware that the smith machine is not ideal. However that is all we have access to at our gym ... no other rack or even barbells. No heavier dumbbells either ...


Squats





Romanian Deadlifts





Front Lat Pulldowns



Replies

  • THeADHDTurnip
    THeADHDTurnip Posts: 413 Member
    edited February 2018
    I'm no expert here since I've been lifting for a little over a year:

    Squats seem ok since you're in a smith, hard to tell for me.

    Get out of the smith machine with those RDLs. You're both too far away from the bar, have the bar slightly graze your shins. It's turning it into a lower back exercise.

    Lat pull downs, it doesn't look like you both are getting full contraction. You really gotta squeeze and hold at the bottom of the rep. Hand grip too close, widen it up some. Pull your torso back a little and drive that bar into the chest.
  • bribucks
    bribucks Posts: 431 Member
    Get out of the smith machine with those RDLs. You're both too far away from the bar, have the bar slightly graze your shins. It's turning it into a lower back exercise.

    Unfortunately the smith machine is the only option at our gym, no other rack or barbells.

    Any fixes? Would stepping our feet forward more help?
  • THeADHDTurnip
    THeADHDTurnip Posts: 413 Member
    edited February 2018
    bribucks wrote: »

    Unfortunately the smith machine is the only option at our gym, no other rack or barbells.

    Any fixes? Would stepping our feet forward more help?

    Use Dumbbells for RDLs, they can be just as effective.

    The smith can be useful in some exercises, but that fixed bar can really throw off proper form. Stepping up closer COULD work, however it might compromise proper form in the torso.

    Perhaps someone on here with more knowledge might have a better answer on this one.
  • jessef593
    jessef593 Posts: 2,280 Member
    Get out of the Smith machine.
    Watching just the squat I noticed a couple things.

    You have a low bar setup. And the bar path is forcing your body upright which is counterintuitive to the low bar set up.

    You need to be able to allow your body to move as it chooses. The Smith machine completely prevents that along with also reducing all the stabilization required when using a barbell which will reduce progress.
  • Erik8484
    Erik8484 Posts: 460 Member
    I recommending looking at new gyms. Alternatively, squatting with heavy kettlebells or dumbbells until you find your new gym.
  • Cherimoose
    Cherimoose Posts: 5,210 Member
    I think front squats will be safer in a smith machine. You can also do split squats.
    But to answer your question.. You're not keeping your abs tight enough on the squat. Imagine a kid was about to punch you in the stomach. That's how tight your abs should be braced the entire time, to keep your back from arching too much.

    Don't look to the horizon on squats and DLs - it screws up form. Do what Tyler is doing and move your head in sync with your body, as if you're wearing a neck brace.

    On RDLs, keep your shoulders back.

    Tyler needs to go a lot deeper on the squat. Hopefully that doesn't set off the lunk alarm, heheh. B)
  • Azdak
    Azdak Posts: 8,281 Member
    Dont have time to address the squats and RDLs now.

    Lat Pulldowns—just no.

    You need wider grips—just outside of shoulder width. Sometimes it helps to lean back slightly. I often tell beginners to grab the bar, extend the arms and release the shoulders. Now try pulling your shoulders down without bending your elbows. You’ll move the weight stack just a couple of inches. Release the shouders again and repeat. If you don’t use your biceps at all, this will help guide you to the lats.

    To do the exercise you engage the lats and pull the shoulder blades down w/out bending the elbows; then pretend you are trying to pull the bar apart—this helps bring the elbows out to the side and keeps you from doing what you are doing, which is rotating the arms in and turning it into an arm, shoulder, chest exercise. (What you are doing is common—I’d say less than 50% of the people I see in the gym do a lat pull down properly—I could spend the entire day standing by that machine and never run out of people to correct).

    This might help:

    https://mnprime.com/lat-pulldown/
  • bribucks
    bribucks Posts: 431 Member
    jessef593 wrote: »
    You have a low bar setup. And the bar path is forcing your body upright which is counterintuitive to the low bar set up.

    Thanks. I tried the high bar setup the other day, but it practically bruised me! My neck/spine was tender for like 4 days! Sounds like I need to play with it a little more to find the correct positioning.
  • bribucks
    bribucks Posts: 431 Member
    Azdak wrote: »
    Dont have time to address the squats and RDLs now.

    Lat Pulldowns—just no.

    You need wider grips—just outside of shoulder width. Sometimes it helps to lean back slightly. I often tell beginners to grab the bar, extend the arms and release the shoulders. Now try pulling your shoulders down without bending your elbows. You’ll move the weight stack just a couple of inches. Release the shouders again and repeat. If you don’t use your biceps at all, this will help guide you to the lats.

    To do the exercise you engage the lats and pull the shoulder blades down w/out bending the elbows; then pretend you are trying to pull the bar apart—this helps bring the elbows out to the side and keeps you from doing what you are doing, which is rotating the arms in and turning it into an arm, shoulder, chest exercise. (What you are doing is common—I’d say less than 50% of the people I see in the gym do a lat pull down properly—I could spend the entire day standing by that machine and never run out of people to correct).

    This might help:

    https://mnprime.com/lat-pulldown/

    Thanks. You’re right, I haven’t really been feeling it in my lats at all. I don’t have full range of motion in my one shoulder but I will definitely try out your advice next time!
  • Maxxitt
    Maxxitt Posts: 1,281 Member
    I would suggest raising your chest more for both the squat and RDL, and bracing core more deliberately before you commence the RDL. Everyone's comments on the terribleness of the Smith are great. Using two dumbbells would be better than using the Smith.
  • Froggyh
    Froggyh Posts: 81 Member
    How heavy are the dumbbells you have access to? The weight distribution using dumbbells is different from a barbell (or, I imagine, a Smith machine), so you may be surprised by how little weight you actually need in comparison.

    For instance, I can conventional deadlift 135lb with a barbell for 5 reps. Heaviest pair of dumbbells I've used for RDLs was about 30lb, in comparison.
  • jessef593
    jessef593 Posts: 2,280 Member
    bribucks wrote: »
    jessef593 wrote: »
    You have a low bar setup. And the bar path is forcing your body upright which is counterintuitive to the low bar set up.

    Thanks. I tried the high bar setup the other day, but it practically bruised me! My neck/spine was tender for like 4 days! Sounds like I need to play with it a little more to find the correct positioning.

    Why not just squat in a squat rack and get out of the Smith machine?

    If it hurt your neck then you did it wrong. Don't put it on the home at the base of your neck. Place it just below along your traps
  • Davidsdottir
    Davidsdottir Posts: 1,295 Member
    jessef593 wrote: »
    bribucks wrote: »
    jessef593 wrote: »
    You have a low bar setup. And the bar path is forcing your body upright which is counterintuitive to the low bar set up.

    Thanks. I tried the high bar setup the other day, but it practically bruised me! My neck/spine was tender for like 4 days! Sounds like I need to play with it a little more to find the correct positioning.

    Why not just squat in a squat rack and get out of the Smith machine?

    If it hurt your neck then you did it wrong. Don't put it on the home at the base of your neck. Place it just below along your traps

    She already said they don't have a squat rack at their gym.

    OP, I'm in the get a new gym camp, sorry!
  • jessef593
    jessef593 Posts: 2,280 Member
    jessef593 wrote: »
    bribucks wrote: »
    jessef593 wrote: »
    You have a low bar setup. And the bar path is forcing your body upright which is counterintuitive to the low bar set up.

    Thanks. I tried the high bar setup the other day, but it practically bruised me! My neck/spine was tender for like 4 days! Sounds like I need to play with it a little more to find the correct positioning.

    Why not just squat in a squat rack and get out of the Smith machine?

    If it hurt your neck then you did it wrong. Don't put it on the home at the base of your neck. Place it just below along your traps

    She already said they don't have a squat rack at their gym.

    OP, I'm in the get a new gym camp, sorry!

    Oh my bad!

    Wait what gym doesn't have a squat rack!?!

    Get out of there OP before it's too late. You'll be amazed by the difference it makes
  • bribucks
    bribucks Posts: 431 Member
    @jessef593 The cheap kind lol - PF
  • jessef593
    jessef593 Posts: 2,280 Member
    bribucks wrote: »
    @jessef593 The cheap kind lol - PF

    Planet Fitness doesn't have a squat rack? First you can't deadlift. Now you can't squat?!