1 – Squat for Reps
Growing as a lifter means getting outside of your comfort zone. There's nothing more uncomfortable than squatting for high reps. High-rep squats conjoin the best of all worlds – hypertrophy, conditioning, and toughness training. Want to try them? Here's some in-depth plans:
2 – Shoe Up According to Stance
Squatting starts from the ground up – all other mechanics depend on your stance. How you set your feet also determines what you put on your feet. Squatting with a powerlifting stance requires flat-soled shoes (Chuck Taylors or indoor soccer shoes). The flat sole will let you push on the outside of your feet to spread the floor.
If you squat with an Olympic stance, wear weightlifting shoes.
They'll give you the ankle mobility you need to hit good depth.
3 – Create Tension in Your Hands and Feet
More tension equals more strength, so if you want to squat heavy, you have to create as much tension as possible. It starts at the top with your hands and at the bottom with your feet. Setting your grip hard on the bar creates tension that runs into your upper-back, solidifying a solid shelf for the bar to rest on. Squeezing the floor with your feet creates tension that's transferred through your legs and into the hips.
4 – Set Up Efficiently
Setting up to squat should use as little energy as possible. You're about to sit down with a considerable amount of metal on your back and that takes enough energy. Here's what an efficient set-up should look like:
- Take your grip (set it hard) and get underneath the bar so that your shoulders and upper-back are aligned to the position where you'll carry the bar. Your feet should be directly underneath your shoulders, not behind them. Your elbows should be under the bar.
- Tighten your upper-back by squeezing your scaps together and set an arch in your lower back while squeezing your lats tight.
- Fill your belly with air and un-rack the bar by tightening your back more and squatting the weight off of the hooks.
- Take one step back with each foot so that they're square and focus your eyes on an object directly in front of you. Your eyes should stay focused on that spot throughout your set.
- Reset your air and squat!
5 – Train to Squat 2.5 x Bodyweight
To be a strong squatter you need to squat two and a half times your bodyweight. And unless you are a world-class bench presser, you better be able to squat more than you bench. If you can't, start making the squat rack your church.