Information on how to run faster, lift stronger and think deeper

How to ensure good form for benching, squatting & deadlifting

Posted by Pascal Landshoeft

Mar 30, 2015 4:00:00 AM


How to ensure good form for benching, squatting & deadlifting

I have been lifting for a year now and I am far from perfect. I went up to 137.5 kg on the squat with a cheat squat. I realized a bit late that the form was weak and did not provide me with the gains I wanted. Proof was my weak performances on the thruster, where I just could not build up speed. A squat of 137.5 kg and that I had to scale Fran at the same time just did not add up and  I went back down to grind my way back up from 80kg with great results. My squat felt never more powerful at 102.5kg.

New Call-to-action

Make sure you use full range of motion

My major mistake on the squat was, that I did not go below parallel. This was due to inflexibility and laziness. Don't be that guy. If execution is not by the book, do yourself a favor and do not count the rep and do not increase the weight. This is due to the principle greasing the groove. Go beyond the range of motion you can currently go to expand and kill it. Not until your tendons snap, but push it. If you are to inflexible for the moves, work on that first until a sufficient level of mobility is reached.

Scale up slowly

Ego, especially in men, sneaks up on you from behind and you scale the weight up way to quick. Scale slowly up and do not cut corners. Plateaus will hit you quicker, if you do this. I am currently stuck at a 150kg deadlift and roughly 110kg squat with proper form. I doubt that I would have the problem if I had paid more attention to proper form, as I can bench 100kg 5x5 with no problems, which indicates for me that I am string enough for better deadlifts and squats, but just not have proper technique. To break the movements down again and rebuild them is annoying and time consuming. Get it right the first time around.

Use looped loading

Rather than staying at your plateau and break your will and motivation, scale back after failing your sets in three session by 10 - 20%. With the new, lower load, get explosive and rip the exercise apart. Explode, give it your all and come back to the plateau to crush through.

Have a spotter

Spotters are not for weaklings, even though i thought along those lines for a long time. Have someone shout at you to get up out of the hole for your highest loads. Just the fact that I had someone watching me and cheering me on brought me from 2 - 4 reps at 150kg deadlift. A good spotter can also tell you the things you do not see where your technique needs work. Be open to the feedback, discard or implement it, depending on who gives it and how valid you think it is.

Stay tight and do not be lazy

Connect your mind with the muscles you want to activate. Try to make them as hard as steel and as explosive as possible. Flex them to deliberately at the right time and stay focused. Do not let sloppiness creep in. Keep your reps tight.

Use 3 2 1 explode

When I bench and squat I count on the way down 3 2 1 until I am in the lowest position and then try to get back to the starting position as fast and powerful as I can. This will make you more explsive and build power for you for the heavier lifts. Does not really work with maximum load, but do try to stay as close as possible to this template for good gains in strength.

Watch and learn about good form

Go to YouTube, watch the forums, read the blog posts and books on the topic. soak up as much information as possible from the people who lift more than you and imitate them while thinking about how their principles can be adapted and applied to your physique. Everyone is different, but you can avoid a lot of mistakes and be the best you can be by gathering information.

Be patient with yourself

Don't rush it. Good lifting takes years, not days or months. The better your form the more and longer you will lift.


Further reading

On the bench press

On the squat

One the deadlift


Topics: Bench Press, Deadlift, Squat, Powerlifting, Bodybuilding, Strongman