Bad form for Squats and DLs?

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    Bad form for Squats and DLs?


    Hey guys. I'm doing Doggcrapp's training right now and I'm doing real well gains-wise.

    I do have a few problems though. I'm really scared that my form is bad on my deadlift and squat, but especially on my deadlift. Sometime it's a little hard to tell if its pain or just the muscles being sore. I used to squat wide (ala Westside) and didn't have any problems, trained myself using box squats for a while. Now I'm moving my feet a little closer and I feel my form is suffering. Should I switch it back? What's better for gains?

    For deadlifts, I used to sumo deadlift. My PR is 405 for 2. Now I'm trying to traditional DL and I feel I have too much bend in my back. I'm doing 225x10 as a straight set and I've done 275x8. I REALLY do not want to have an injury (my dad has a bad back from improper DLing when he was young). Should I seek help from a powerlifter? I'm a senior in college and my gym is terrible so I don't have a large selection of equip so I'm limited for legs (no leg press). Thanks for any help bros.


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    I recently ran into this problem, I think. I hadn't done DLs for a long time and recntly started again. I think I may have pulled something or tried pulling to much weight to soon or not properly warming up. I only got 295lbs for 5-6 reps. The next week I felt it during my leg workout (squats). I had serious lower back pain and tightness. It's been a week now and yesterday while box squating, it felt better....still a bit tight, but no pain. Today was the first time I tried box squats and I like'em.

    I would just say try warming up properly.....use lighter weight to practice good form. Mirrors can also be used for this purpose. when you feel comfortable with form, add more weight. I hardly ever injur myself (thank God) but it does happen from time to time. I think the box squat really help with developing squat form. Using a belt, keeping your back straight and driving through with your heels helps with dls. These are some of the things that have helped me.

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    Thanks bro. I just did DLs today. I'm trying to keep the weight low just to work on my form now. Did 135x15, 185x12, 225x10. But even on the set of 225, I think my form started to suffer. I didn't feel anything bad in my lower back after the first two sets.

    I'm not really 'injuring' myself, but my lower back feels REALLY tight and sore. I have to do some back stretches for like 5 minutes or my walk outta the gym would take about 2 hours. I have a belt lying around and might use it next time. I'll also try to think "Drive with my heels" next time.

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    I think if it's THAT sore, you've injured yourself. Just make SURE the pain is GONE before training again. This could be a SLIGHT hernia and believe you me you don't want to make THAT grow... :-(

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    I'm also in the process of learning my form so I'm not in a position to really give anybody advice..but one thing I have noticed that makes a significant difference on squat form is what type of shoe I'm wearing. If I wear running style shoes that are thick in the heel/thin in the toe it makes me drive with my toes/forefoot. I switched to a more even heeled hiking shoe and it seemed to help. This is probably common knowledge to the majority of you but oh well, lol.

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    All I can say is Chuck Taylor's All Stars, best training shoe around IMO!

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    I'm older than you at 43, but I noticed my lower back was having difficulty recovering enough deadlifting and squatting every week, week in and week out..... had that chronic tired, achey worn out feeling.

    I'm now deadlifting every other week, alternating power cleans instead in the off week. It's really helped tremendously, and my lower back feels great. My reps/weight have been increasing each week over the past 7 weeks or so, so I know it's working for me. And while power cleans do put some stress on the lower back, they work middle and upper more directly than do deadlifts.

    For me, definately a more balanced approach.

    Good luck.

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    Doing deads and squats in the same week can be too much for the lower back...I would do deadlifts every other week. The week that you do deads, replace squats with the leg press. On the week you do squats, do hyperextensions. (or no low back exercise if its still sore)

    I believe the key to avoiding the back injury is to keep the back straight as a board. I see too many people arching the spine when they do deads or squats...its just an accident waiting to happen. Having all that weight across the shoulders with their ass pushed out and their spine arched in a convex curve, you can see where the pressure would build up on the lower vertebrae.

    With deads, make sure your knees are over the bar, grip should width apart (or a bit wider). Pull up on the weight with your legs and as you straighten your legs to a standing position, use your back to bring the weight up the rest of the way. When you go back down, you'll probably scuff your shins on the bar. This a sign that you're not leaning too far foward, which is good. Ideally, you want to bar to just clear your shins and end up in the starting position.

    Never lift with an arched back. Never.

    The lower back is the muscle group that takes the longest to heal. As much as 14 days for some. Unless you're getting 10-12 hours of sleep a day and eating like a freak, heavy squats and deads in the same week can be too much.

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    Originally posted by BigVrunga
    Doing deads and squats in the same week can be too much for the lower back...I would do deadlifts every other week. The week that you do deads, replace squats with the leg press. On the week you do squats, do hyperextensions. (or no low back exercise if its still sore)

    I believe the key to avoiding the back injury is to keep the back straight as a board. I see too many people arching the spine when they do deads or squats...its just an accident waiting to happen. Having all that weight across the shoulders with their ass pushed out and their spine arched in a convex curve, you can see where the pressure would build up on the lower vertebrae.

    With deads, make sure your knees are over the bar, grip should width apart (or a bit wider). Pull up on the weight with your legs and as you straighten your legs to a standing position, use your back to bring the weight up the rest of the way. When you go back down, you'll probably scuff your shins on the bar. This a sign that you're not leaning too far foward, which is good. Ideally, you want to bar to just clear your shins and end up in the starting position.

    Never lift with an arched back. Never.

    The lower back is the muscle group that takes the longest to heal. As much as 14 days for some. Unless you're getting 10-12 hours of sleep a day and eating like a freak, heavy squats and deads in the same week can be too much.
    hmm, I always thought that bad form usually resulted from arching the back in a concave manner, ie bending over at the spine. I am always trying to improve my from on both squats and deads, as I did suffer a back injury several months back. Now am extra cautious, also being a taller guy, i find in general it makes squats put more strain on your lower back.

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    Either way ZenLifter, keep that back straight. Arched in or out, its a bad idea. Think about it - convex or concave - put a lot of weight across your shoulders and the apex of that curve in your spine is going to be where the most stress occurs. You see guys doing squats with their ass jutting out and the back convex - accident waiting to happen.

    I hear you on the squats - Im 6' tall. I went to doing full squats(ass to the floor) a while back - I couldnt do more than 265 with out incrdible strain on my lower back - I can deadlift a good amount, too. Thighs parallel is low enough for me, with a light set of 225x10 to the floor just to get full range of motion at the end of the set.

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    BigV is right on with the form tips. I would also do the dl one week squat the next. If you think about it, as far as your lower back is concerned, convential style dl's and squats are essentially the same mov't. Give direct lower back some time to heal and you'll benefit a lot more as far as feeling good and not injuring/overtraining.

    Edit:
    One other thing, as far as which style you do, depends on what you want. I personally think that sumo style is strictly for trying to move more weight by decreasing the range of motion, as the extra wide stance allows. IMO, to build a bigger stronger back, stick with conventional style.

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    The wide stance used with the 'sumo style' might put more emphasis on the inner part of the leg, but other than that I agree with tubbs - conventional style deadlifts involve more muscles, take more work, and will result in bigger and better gains.

    On my leg day during deadlift week, I do hack squats (on the sled) and leg presses. On the 'off deadlift' week, Ill do squats and straight leg deads (which dont work your lower back as much as you'd think - if you use good form - a straight back and pull with your hamstrings) Its a great workout and if you use good form on the hacks your glutes and hams get a decent pump, too. In Arnold's 'Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding' - he even states that for him, squats were a great low back exercise.

    BigV

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    Uhhhh no. Your lower back should be arched HARD. Ask any elite powerlifter. As far as deadlifting goes, check this great article by Dave Tate: The Top 10 Deadlifting Mistakes and How to Fix Them

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    Ceaze -
    When you stand up straight (when your back is straight) there is somewhat of a slight convex arch to the lower back. In everything Ive read, keeping your back straight in this manner is the proper form.
    If you arch your back convex so hard that your ass sticks way out(so that the spine is at its max convex curvature), I dont believe that is good form. Im not a powerlifter by any means, though.
    BigV

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    From Dave Tate's article "Squat 900 Pounds":

    Secret #2: Get a tight arch!

    You must learn to develop the strength to keep a tight arch in the lower back. This arch must be kept throughout the entire movement. The moment you begin to lose this arch, the bar will begin to drift forward and out of the natural barbell path. When the bar starts to drift toward the toes, you'll lose the squat and end up stapled to the floor. The bar must stay close to the hip joint and away from the toes.

    You must also keep the shoulder blades pulled together with your elbows pulled forward. This will create the much needed upper back tightness to keep the barbell in proper position. Remember, the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, so you must keep the barbell in the proper path.

    When your elbows turn out toward the back, the bar will drift forward again and end up stapling you to the floor as well as ripping your head off. This is one common mistake I see in all my seminars. When I ask attendees who taught them to squat with their elbows back, nine out of ten times they say, "My coach." This is another example of those who think they know how to squat not knowingsquat!

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    So does 'tight arch' mean to flex the spine to its max curvature, or to keep the slight arch of a 'straight back' taut and controlled?

    Everything ive read (including your post above) would mean a 'tight, slight arch to the back.' (a lordotic curve)

    http://www.sportfit.com/sportfitglos...tic_curve.html
    http://www.fatdog.ca/features/strength/2000/squat.php

    http://www.joeskopec.com/squatform.html
    http://www.poppasdungeon.com/article...ym_jargon.html
    http://www.bbhighway.com/Talk/Coachi..._exercises.asp
    http://www.bodybuildingbyfrank.com/legwork.html
    http://members.aol.com/usamuscle/routine7.html

    BigV

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    Once again, I think it has to do with what he wants to get out of his lifting. Dave Tate and Westside lifters are all great POWERlifters, which no one will argue. But all of the form techniques are for lifting the most weight, and I'll quote it from them:

    "(as well as set the bar in a position to use your quads instead of your hips and hamstrings.)

    Arch the bar out, then push with your legs to get the bar off the racks. Keep the arch. Step back with one leg, then the other. You want to maintain your tightness and set your stance as wide as possible. I believe in using a wide stance when squatting because it'll shorten the distance the bar will have to travel and will place the stress more on the glutes, hips, hamstrings and back. I've figured out over time that the quads aren't that important for squatting maximal weights. Instead, it's the hips, back and hamstrings. If your quads were really doing all the work, then why wouldn't you be able to squat as much as you could leg press? So, set up in a wide stance.

    From this position, pull all the air back into your belly and try to make your back and abs tighter than before. You should also be forcing your knees out to the sides. You'll know you're doing this right if your hips feel tight. This will place the stress on the hips as well as increase the leverage in the bottom of the squat. The closer you can keep your knee, ankle, shoulder and hip joints in a straight line, the greater the mechanical advantage. This is why you can quarter squat much more than you can full squat. "

    Most all powerlifters look for techniques to shorten distance (sumo style deads, wide stance squats) and maximize equipment (squat/dead suits) or mechanical advantage. Not that its a bad thing for some, but it isn't the best technique for hypertrophy, but again it depends on Ibench's goals. If he is working on leg size, their techniques aren't going to do much for him. As far as pulling the elbows down, It kind of rough on the shoulders if you ask me, unless your using a buffalo bar.

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    Actually Big V the form I found that he's talking about is pretty extreme. I guess you would have to do it to keep with their goals and not fall on your ass with a lot of weight. Looks pretty painful to me.

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    Tubbs,

    Most all powerlifters look for techniques to shorten distance (sumo style deads, wide stance squats) and maximize equipment (squat/dead suits) or mechanical advantage. Not that its a bad thing for some, but it isn't the best technique for hypertrophy, but again it depends on Ibench's goals. If he is working on leg size, their techniques aren't going to do much for him. As far as pulling the elbows down, It kind of rough on the shoulders if you ask me, unless your using a buffalo bar.
    I would agree 100%. I would never perform a squat like the guy in the above picture, however. It may be key for mechanical advantage and moving more weight, but like you said, dosent do much for hypertrophy/bodybuilding. That's what my goals are, though. Im giving advice based on my perspective. (Sorry to hijack your thread, Ibench).
    Id rather work up to big poundages using a more traditional form. In most cases, that results in muscle growth. That's the whole point of squats and deads for the bodybuilder, though. They involve so many muscle groups in order to perform the movement correctly with heavy weight, that overall mass is increased as a result. (assuming all other factors, like diet, rest, are fully realized as well).

    It all comes down to the old saying:
    "Its not how much weight you lift, its how you lift it"

    BigV

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    Thanks for the good info guys! I'v always had the hobgoblin of doubt hovering over me as I try to learn squats. Since squats are a great excercise and a great way to hurt one's self I'm taking my time with poundages.

    I'm waiting to see the guy in picture's L5 disc go shooting across the room. --BOING!!

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