Three tips to help you squat more- Anyone looking to improve their squat numbers might benefit from giving one or all of these three tips a try in their training. These simple tips and tricks have helped us get out of plateaus with our squat so perhaps they can help you.
Three Tips To Help You Squat More
These tips to help you squat more are simple yet effective ways of squatting more, but before you try any of these tips make sure that your squat technique and form are solid before implementing any of these methods to boost your squat. In fact one of the most important factors in squatting more is mobility work to get the most out of your body so make sure you are taking care of this and these tips will be even more effective.
Pause squats are a fantastic method of increasing how much you can squat and if you used correctly will completely humble you in the gym. If you are all about lifting as much as you can right now and every workout maybe these aren't for you, but if you are looking to put in solid work to build your squat from the ground up over the long term then pause squats take a serious beating! When we do resistance training we use something called the stretch reflex to help us move more explosively, such as from the bottome position of a squat. This explosive reflex helps us move more weight in total but reduces the overall quality and control over the movement. This is something we need to improve in order for our maximum overall squat strength to improve. i.e Increase the amount of weight we can move without utilising the stretch reflex= Increased overall squatting numbers.
Enter pause squats the ultimate way to remove the help of the stretch reflex when we squat. All you have to do is squat like normal (with good form) and pause for a 1-3 count in the bottome position of your squat before exploding from the static bottome position to complete the squat. This is a pause squat and nothing will expose, and iron out technical faults and mobility issues quicker as well as building the composure to get comfortable with the bar on your back in the bottom position.
Try replacing your current squat work with pause squats or simply add on a day of pause squats on top of more traditional explosive strength work but take caution, you will not be able to squat as much with pause squats as you do with normal squats so start light. Try this 6 week rotation:
Week 1- 3x8@50-60% 1Rep Max (RM)
Week 2- 3x6@55-65% 1RM
Week 3- 3x5@60-70% 1RM
Week 4- 3x5@65-75% 1RM
Week 5- 3x8@55-65% 1RM
Week 6- 3x3@75-85% 1RM
Remember to pause for a solid 1-3 seconds between reps and rest for 2-3 minutes between sets.
Build Up 'Supporting Cast' Muscles
Buiilding a big squat is a lot more than just a big push with your legs, if you want to maximise what you can squat you are going to need a strong core, and back. Make sure these muscle groups are strong enough to support the kind of weight you want to be squatting. A strong core is going to help you keep tight and stay in neutral spine keeping all of your power going up and protecting your back from injury. By also building a bigger, stronger back you create a solid platform to power out of a heavy squat which cannot be underestimated once you start getting up to your own personal maximal weights.
You can't afford for there to be a weakness in the chain when trying to increase how much you can squat so take the time to strengthen and build the back and core, here are a couple of ways To strengthen the 'supporting cast':
- Heavy Farmers walks both double arm and single arm are a fantastic strength exercise for the trunk/core and stabilising back muscles which will cross over perfectly heavy squatting. Try 2-3 sets of heavy farmers walks for as far as you can go to build a strong back, core, and the added bonus of an iron grip! (Ahem deadlift strength)
- Master all variations of plank! Traditional, long arm, RKC Plank, and side plank, it is worth practising and mastering these to build a rigid core to support that heavy weight on your shoulders and reduce the risk of back injury. Nothing will make you weaker than an injury so take our advice and work on your functional core strength for a solid squat!
- Use back hypertrophy work to build a bigger stronger back using exercises like pull downs, dumbell rows, and anything which stimulates the lats, rhomboids and rear deltoid muscles. We recommend adding in 3-4 sets of 12-15 reps using some of these back exercises to get the stronger, thicker back needed to squat more weight.
Practice, Practice, Practice!
Even though squatting heavier weights requires an intensity and aggression to drive yourself to lift the weight you also need a solid and sound technique to get the most efficiency out of your body that you can. This can only be honed with practice and not just a few warm up sets we mean quality practice where you keep the load low-moderate and focus on making your squat as efficient, solid, and controlled as possible. This constant practice of the movement will increase your neural efficiency making your body 'better' at the movement and hopefully able to move more weight! Don't overlook this point because all of the strength in the world isn't going to mean much if your technique leads to power leaks, unnecessary fatigue, or worst case injuries. Practice, practice, practice!
We suggest simply increasing your squatting volume a little either by adding an extra day of squatting or the amount of quality technical work your are doing in your sessions. The best squatters in the world will squat several times a week and not always at maximal intensity, technique too!
Go get it
Ok, it's time to give some of our tips to help you squat more and let us know how you get on! We really help these small tweaks and additions to your squat training will yield as positive results for you as they did us! Be patient, consistent, and enjoy the process and dedication it requires to get stronger- It makes it even more satisfying when you reach your goals!