Squats Feel a Little Clunky?
Here's a quick and easy fix to try: Pump up your hamstrings BEFORE you start squatting.
Yes, you read that right. Isolate your hamstrings and chase a pump before you start your first set of heavy squats. Banded hamstring curls work great:
Grab a band and loop it around something solid. The band should be around ankle to mid-shin height. Hook your feet into the band the way I'm doing in the video. If you don't you'll end up rolling over and the band will slip off.
Move far enough away so there's no slack in the band, but also the resistance is appropriate as you flex your knees. Of course, choosing the right band is key here too.
Laying on a foam pad is optional. You can also roll up a towel. This helps with back and pelvic positioning and prevents unwanted movement coming from your lumbar region.
Once you're in place it's pretty simple. Just pull your heels into your butt, flexing your hamstrings hard. Your goal is to get as much blood in there as you can. Do 2-3 sets of 20-25 reps.
Here's What Happens
Any squatting pattern will instantly feel smoother. You'll hit depth easier, meaning more efficiency and less wasted energy. Any clunky hips or knees you might've had before will feel significantly better. And because of all this, you'll build more muscle and have better longevity in your lifts.
Now, I'm not saying this works for everyone. If you're an elite-level squatter and grooving that pattern regularly, it'll likely not make much of a difference.
It also doesn't have as much of an effect on low-bar versus high-bar squats. If you're a more hip-dominant squatter then the hamstring fatigue will likely negate all other benefits. Just remember, this is more of a hypertrophy and longevity technique.
If you're not barbell squatting, these still work great for most heavy knee-dominant exercises.