Ultimate Guide To Build Your Squat!

If you’d like to check out my video series on these tips, my video above goes over the first 3. I’ll be releasing the other two parts in the following weeks so definitely consider subscribing and hit that notification bell so you don’t miss out on all my future content!

The barbell squat is considered the top dog when it comes to building brutal strength. Look at any high-level athlete and I guarantee they can squat a couple of hundred lbs, and if they can’t they’d improve their athletic ability like crazy if they could!

Most people think squatting is just something to build your leg strength, but nothing could be further from the truth. The amount of strength you need in your entire body to squat big weights is something most people shy away from.

From your quads, glutes, and hamstrings; to your low back, abs, and spinal erectors. Every muscle in your body contributes to barbell squatting. With that in mind, let’s get into my top 10 tips now!

#1 Warm Up Properly

When warming up to Squat big weights it’s really important to consider a couple things. The first is we really don’t want to be static stretching beforehand, and the second is we need to make sure we’re moving our body through a full range of motion before we add weight. If you aren’t even squatting to depth than why are you adding weight? Big mistake, however, it’s something that people do wrong all the time!

A proper warmup for lower body consists of dynamic effort, explosive movements, and of course warming up with the movement you’re going to perform that day! More on that soon.

Before doing anything I always recommend warming up your shoulders before any workout, no matter if it’s the lower body or upper body. To do this I have my clients use band pull aparts and band dislocates. These two basic band movements have actually completely fixed multiple clients shoulder issues within a month.

Warmup Demo

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bv2FKIMFnxu/

Here’s a comical example of what this warmup looks like in full. Don’t worry, no feelings were hurt in the making of these videos.

Another reason this is so important is that when squatting, your shoulders are externally rotated and need to be addressed early on before you even grab the bar. Try 10-20 reps of the pull aparts and dislocates before every workout. Let me know if it helped you in the comment section!

General Movement

When warming up before any workout you should start with some general movement. Performing some type of squatting, some type of pushing, and some type of pulling is the best way I’ve found that covers the whole body fast. For me, this boils down to bodyweight pause squats or paused lunges, dips or pushups, and pull-ups or inverted rows. These 3 movement patterns increase flexibility, build strength/muscle while also ensuring the entire body is warmed up and ready to perform. I recommend 10-20 reps of each before moving onto your explosive movements.

The other thing I recommend for this portion is to stretch out your calves. This is the only time I recommend static stretching but it’s vitally important! The number of people I’ve seen that have tight calves affecting their squat depth is insane. All you have to do is pick a calf stretch that works for you, and do 1-2 sets of 10-30 seconds each. As long as your depth is on point you’re good to go!

Explosive Movements For Strength And Power

For explosive movements, I recommend any kind of jumping; such as broad or box jumps. If you’re doing higher reps for the day, do 5-10 total jumps. If you’re doing heavier reps you can do 10-20 total jumps. This will prime your Central Nervous System for increased power output and honestly, it wakes you up for the training session! After I do a couple jumps I immediately feel ready to train! But first, we need to finish our warm up. And to do that we use…

The Main Movement!

For any workout, you’re going to be using the main movement itself as part of the warmup. It’s pretty basic and something many people do already but priming your body for the session with the main movement is vitally important! Every single rep you should be controlling the eccentric and moving as explosively as possible on the concentric.

If you don’t know what these terms are that’s okay! Basically the eccentric is the lowering phase of a movement, squatting down is considered this phase of the exercise. That means the concentric is the opposite; when you’re actually lifting the weight. The concentric phase is where you should be trying to move the weight as explosively as possible. The most important time to do this is when you’re warming up and the weight is light.

By doing this you’re actually going to increase your bodies ability to generate force over time. If you lift slow, all of your heavier reps will be grinders and you’ll be severely hindering your athletic and strength potential.

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Here is a video of one of the strongest squatters in the world, Eric Lilliebridge. Watch the massive amount of explosive power he’s generating every single rep he’s performing. Even when the weight gets heavier he’s still trying to push as fast as he can to move the weight maximally.

Warming up properly using the barbell squat is very simple. Let’s say your working weight for the day is 300 lbs, we just use 10% jumps until we get to that weight.

  • 150×10
  • 180×5
  • 210×5
  • 240×3
  • 270×3
  • 3x5x300

General, Explosive, Main Movement=GEM Method

With this you’re properly warmed up; you’ve performed the general movements at the beginning with the squat, push and pull movements. You moved onto explosive movements for the lower body to prime your Central Nervous System to train. And then finally used the specific movement you’re training that day, the Squat, to prepare you mentally for the training session.

Try out this warmup next time you squat and let me know if it made a difference in your training!

#2 Proper Form

The proper form for the Squat is the single most important thing you need to pay attention to when trying to get stronger. If your foundation is weak your whole body will be weak. You need to build proper form over time instead of adding weight when your form doesn’t dictate it. If you want to get strong over the long haul without getting injured definitely read on and see what you can do to squat properly and stay safe.

Neutral Spine

The basic way I teach my clients how to squat properly is with bodyweight first, goblet squat second, and barbell third. If you can’t do bodyweight squats, start with a box and slowly increase your sets and reps until you can. The basic breakdown for form regardless of your type of squat involves 3 things; break at the hips and knees, push your knees out and maintain a neutral spine.

The first 2 are pretty easy, maintaining a neutral spine is where people usually get into trouble though. I teach my clients to keep their head in a neutral position as well.  When I see people looking at the ceiling with a loaded barbell I get a little uneasy. It looks unnatural and can definitely lead to injury down the road. To alleviate this, look at something in front of you with your eyes focused on one spot. Don’t change this focus throughout the entire movement.

Barbell Grip

When setting up to grab the barbell, I recommend finding a spot where your shoulders are in a good position that doesn’t hurt. If you can’t grip super narrow that’s absolutely fine. When gripping the barbell I find using a thumbless grip helps prevent putting excess strain on your elbows. From here you want to keep your elbows down, directly in line with the angle of your torso.

Unracking

Take a deep breath and hold it, I’ll go over this more in the abdominal bracing section below. Unrack the weight and take two steps back. From there, position your feet just outside shoulder-width with your toes at a 60-75 angle. Breath out a little bit of your air, take another deep breath in and start your descent.

Hips Back, Knees Out

We need to do 3 things at the start of your descent; sit the hips back, break at the knees, and push the knees out simultaneously. This allows you to load the hamstrings and glutes while also keeping your knees tracking over your feet in a stacked position. Make sure you squat to parallel or just below it. The proper depth is one where your hip crease is below your knee.

When we enter the concentric phase, think about keeping your knees out so they don’t bow in. Push through your midfoot so you stay balanced and lead with your chest so the movement doesn’t turn into a Good Morning.

More Information For Solid Technique

This is the basic breakdown for solid squat technique; there are thousands of these articles all over the internet but if you need more instruction, check out these guys listed below for more info.

Chad Wesley Smith

Mark Bell and Ed Coan

Chris Duffin

#3 Correct Footwear

Image result for running shoes while squatting

How many people do you see in the gym working out with shoes like these? Be honest, I’ll wait!

The number of people working out in these types of shoes all across the world is massive! They’re great for performing athletic movements where you need to absorb force;  but for squatting, benching, deadlifting, and getting stronger, they’re the worst thing you can wear in the gym. Why? They’re squishy.

When I say they’re bad for strength training it makes perfect sense when you stop and think about it. Why shouldn’t you squat on a Bosu ball? You have no stability and you’re on a moving object. This is a horrible idea and if your coach ever has you squat on a Bosu ball please get a better coach. You deserve better and they should KNOW better!

BOSU BALL FAIL
Squatting on anything other than flat ground where you are stable is wrong. Always.

Working out in running shoes or anything similar has a tendency to cause major issues. Imagine you’re squatting with 500 lbs on your back, you start squatting down and because you’re wearing shoes that absorb force, pushing is very difficult. You lose your balance and even potentially dump the bar forward or backward when trying to stand back up.

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Most people won’t ever squat over 225 lbs in their lifetime, unfortunately. But you want to get better and that’s why you’re reading this article am I right? If you’re not interested in squatting safely and getting stronger you can continue squatting in random shoes and be fine. Odds are you won’t ever experience what I wrote above. It’s only when the weight is heavy that you’ll ever realize how dangerous squatting in the wrong shoes can be.

Screenshot 2020 10 30 Amazon com Converse Mens Unisex Chuck Taylor All Star Camo High Top Sneaker Fashion Sneakers1

So with all that in mind, what shoes should you wear? Flat shoes with a solid, stable platform. They should be supportive and grip the floor when training. Things like Converse and Chuck Taylors are the most recommended ones.

Screenshot 2020 11 17 Amazon com adidas Mens Powerlift 4 Weightlifting Shoe Fitness Cross Training1

If you’re taller or you like the idea of a raised heel like me you can get some Olympic Squat training shoes. These give you a ton of grip, allow you to squat even deeper if you enjoy high bar squatting and if you’re taller help a ton with proper form.

The 3 I recommend are listed below and available on Amazon. Definitely check them out if you want to improve your squatting and invest in your strength potential.

Adidas Powerlift 4

Reebok Legacylifter

Nike Romaleos

I use a version of the Adidas Powerlift shoes but the Nike Romaleos are the number 1 recommended squat shoe I’ve heard from people I’ve asked. They’ll last you a lifetime so whatever you pick will absolutely pay for itself.

#4 Abdominal Bracing/Core Stability

What is abdominal bracing? Most people have never even heard of this, especially not in the weight room.

This is most likely the number 1 thing you’re not doing that’s holding back your squat so pay attention to this next section!

When training with weights of any kind you need to pay attention to your breathing. You’ll hear the same thing from everybody, breathe in during the eccentric and out during the concentric. I’m sure you’ve heard the same right?

I’m here to tell you they’re all WRONG!

This is something I would only recommend when you’re doing basic isolation movements. If you’re doing curls or tricep extensions it’s not that important simply because core stability isn’t necessary to perform those exercises correctly.

However; for Squat, Bench, Deadlift, Military Press, Rows and any other compound movements that involve core stability, you don’t want to do this at all! It’s actually dangerous and something no true expert in strength training would recommend.

The number of people that complain about back injuries doing Squats and Deadlifts is massive! One of my clients actually went through a similar experience! He hurt his back doing Deadlifts 4 years ago. After working with me for a year he was about 99% pain-free. Now 1 year later he’s closing in on a 200 lb deadlift and 150 lb squat for sets of 10.

So I know all about Squat and Deadlift injuries being a major deterrent to the big barbell lifts. That’s why I’m going to recommend something that all the strongest lifters in the world do.

Chris Duffin Explanation (WATCH THIS)

Don’t believe me? This is a man named Chris Duffin, he’s the owner of Kabuki Strength. He’s one of the strongest people on the planet. He’s deadlifted over 1,000 lbs, squatted 859 lbs at a bodyweight of 220 lbs and benched 440 lbs as well. He knows all about proper bracing for strength. Here’s his video you need to watch if you want to get stronger at the squat and be safe doing it!

If you have a hard time hearing him you can put the subtitles on or you can read my basic summary of what he goes over.

Abdominal Bracing Basics

This is the most important thing that all top-level lifters are doing. You can’t squat safely or effectively unless you learn how to brace correctly.

The stronger your core is the better your bracing will be which we’ll go over in the “Train Your Abs” section right after this one. You lose tons of power through your core every time you breathe out. This leaves your spine unstable which is not a position you want to be in with weight on your back or in your hands.

The way we breathe and brace properly to fix this issue is not by breathing up into the chest but by breathing down into your stomach and low back. Look down and breath normally, what do you see? Most likely you see your chest rising and falling. This is how you breathe incorrectly and something that has come about from technology taking over our lives. You look down at your phone all day and don’t breathe correctly because of it. Being hunched over also affects it as well. These need to be corrected.

Now look down and think about breathing DEEPLY into your stomach and try to expand the air out into your low back and obliques. This is how abdominal bracing works. You apply intrabdominal pressure to pressurize your core and stabilize it against outside forces aka, heavy compound movements like the Barbell Squat. Now breathe in deeply once again and hold your breath, this is how you start and finish a rep of a barbell movement.

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You breathe in, hold it and do the rep. Then when you’re bracing to do the next rep, you breathe out just a little bit of air but not completely, take another big breathe in and repeat. That’s it. This is how you brace for strength and something so many people miss. You still breathe in between reps but you do it after the rep is completed. Remember the barbell is on your back and you don’t want to let out ALL of your air. Just enough to stay stabilized and not pass out from holding your breath forever.

If you want to learn more about this here is a video of Chris Duffin explaining it further. You NEED to do this to lift safely and effectively.

This is probably the most misunderstood part of barbell training so if you have any questions please let me know in the comments below and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can!

#5 Train Your Abs

A lot of people say you don’t need to train your abs if you do heavy, compound movements. In my experience and many others, this is absolutely incorrect. I guarantee if you directly train your abs you’ll definitely see an increase in stability when you squat. If you only rely on heavy squatting for all of your ab work you’re asking for a hernia at some point in your lifting career.

The stronger your abs are the more intrabdominal pressure you can generate, the more stability you’ll have, and the stronger you’ll be overall! Train your abs! And I don’t mean with thousands of crunches. With real strength building movements that use the core the way it was meant to be used. Not by performing spinal flexion like crunches which compromises your lower back.

The two basic exercises I always recommend, that everybody should be doing anyway, are Ab Wheel Rollouts and Hanging Leg Raises.

When doing the Ab Wheel your goal is to pressurize your core once again like you’re performing a heavy Squat. From there, you want to roll out until your nose and stomach touch the ground. I like doing these paused at the bottom position when you gain enough strength to do them. If you can’t just perform the basic movement until you’re stronger.

Here is a video of Dan Green, one of the strongest Powerlifters of all time, doing STANDING Ab Wheel. He weighs over 220lbs I believe so the amount of strength and stability in his core is monstrous! There’s also a video of him doing SSB Good Mornings, another great posterior chain builder. The correlation between his core strength and his main lifts is obvious to me. Train your abs!

Performing an Ab Wheel correctly allows your abs to gain massive amounts of strength the correct way. Stabilization of the spine, anti-flexion, and anti-rotation. Your core is designed to resist these forces and stabilize your torso. The stronger it is, the more power you can transfer to the bar when you’re Squatting. This is absolutely critical for moving big weights and needs to be trained early and often. You can do 2-3 sets,  2-3 days a week. This is all you need per session to make major improvements. 

The stronger your abs are, the more stable your low back and entire body will be. Train them and reap the benefits, it really doesn’t take too much effort and you’ll look better at the beach if that’s something you’re interested in.

#6 Train Your Posterior Chain

The posterior chain has been beaten to death in recent years, and for good reason! If your spinal erectors, lower back, glutes, and hamstrings are weak you HAVE to address them. These 4 major muscle groups in the body contribute so much to every movement you can do. Running, jumping, squatting, and deadlifting to name a few.

If your posterior chain isn’t developed properly your athletic potential is absolutely going to be stunted. Think about all the runners you hear about that pull a hamstring running. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that their hamstrings are weak as hell?

A weaker muscle is a weak point in a chain, your entire body has to work as a unit, especially performing any squatting movements. If your weak points contribute so much to overall strength you know you’re going to be weak as a whole! So let’s fix that!

The main movements I recommend use your entire posterior chain to stabilize and move through a full range of motion. These movements are back extensions, Romanian deadlifts, and DB Rows. These 3 movements have contributed more to my Squat and Deadlift strength than any other!

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Back Extensions

Back extensions are an amazing way to train these muscle groups without putting a ton of stress on your back. For these, I like to pause every rep at the top for a 1-second count. This allows you to work on isometric strength which is important for all barbell movements. The rep ranges I normally use are 10-20 reps. I try to get 50 total reps within 3 sets. As soon as I’m able to do that I increase the weight by 5 lbs and work on increasing the reps once again. A very simple progression that works very well for bodyweight movements!

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Here's my client doing Decline Situps and Back Extensions on my GHR. When it comes to getting stronger a lot of people make the mistake of not training their abs and low back. It's incredibly important and something you absolutely need to pay attention to. The strongest people in the world have all trained their core directly on top of doing their main lifts. – When doing abs and low back I like to use exercises that don't take a ton of technique to do correctly at first. Until a trainee has proper strength and stabilization those harder variations like Romanian deadlifts and ab wheel are put on the back burner. – When doing any bodyweight exercise I have a process for how we progress the load. It's very simple and similar to how I increase weight on main and assistance lifts. The first thing we do is set a rep goal for the workout. This training session we had him do 25-50 total reps. The first week we did this he was already pretty strong and did an average of 18 reps a set. In 3 sets he already hit the 50 rep goal, so next week we added 5 lbs as shown in the video. (Note: He's holding it into his chest if you can't see it.) – Doing it this way we always know when to progress instead of adding tons of weight and potentially injuring his spine while giving him hernias for days! Also this is the client that couldn't do anything with his back for a long time. Just reaching down and grabbing things would cause pain. So if you have low back issues make sure to work on your core strength as much as possible. Back extensions, glute ham raises, ab wheel, hanging leg raises, decline situps, and more. Your program should include this basic lifts at some point in your training career to build muscle and properly support your torso. – Try out my tips here and let me know how it goes for you! Tag somebody that has low back pain and needs new idea on how to fix it! Happy Wednesday everybody! ?

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Here’s a video of my client doing Back Extensions with a pause, the video is on the second slide!

Romanian Deadlift

Romanian Deadlifts are a massive posterior chain builder. They provide you with a huge stretch in the hamstrings which helps with mobility, works your spinal erectors hard, and your low back and abs also contribute a ton to keeping your torso rigid through the whole movement. On top of that, your glutes have to be strong to lock out the weight at the top of the movement. It’s an ass kicker for sure but one you absolutely need to try out for yourself if you haven’t!

Here is Dan Green doing a variation of Romanian Deadlifts called Stiff Leg Deadlifts. Once again the amount of strength and power you can build doing these transfers over to Squatting very well.

Also, make sure you don’t go super heavy on these. Sets of 8-15 work much better than lower rep sets. Think of it as a mass builder and less of a strength builder. You want to be able to use great form and get a full stretch without worrying if your back is in a neutral position.

DB Rows

Out of all rowing movements, I think the Dumbbell Row is by far the best for building your back. When I squatted 405, benched 300 for 3, deadlifted 500, and pressed 185 over my head; my Dumbbell Row was close to 150 lbs for sets of 10. This was no coincidence.

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Every time I was at my strongest my DB Row was stronger too. It builds your grip, upper back, lats, spinal erectors, low back and abs like crazy. The anti-rotation of the spine when doing this movement increases core stability much more than a Barbell Row. Plus, the form is much easier to get down compared to the BB Row.

Once again this is Dan Green performing DB Rows with 190 lbs for 15 reps. This is the cleanest form you’re going to see with this much weight so definitely take note of how he’s stabilizing, stretching his arm all the way down and pulling back like a J curve.

With this in mind, your goal is to increase the number of reps you can do first before adding a ton of weight. When I did these with heavy weight, my form always broke down quickly. Make sure you get a full stretch and row with your elbow high. This will build a ton of brute strength in the major supporting muscles in your posterior chain. The stronger that is the stronger your body and Squat will be.

#7 Choose The Right Rep Ranges

When I say choose the right rep ranges I mean Periodization essentially. Periodization is essentially where you train through different periods of training phases where you’re working on different properties. The 3 most basic ones for powerlifting are hypertrophy, building the muscular base; strength, building up the new muscle to be stronger; and peaking, preparing the body for maximum power output to perform a new 1RM (1 Rep Max).

So many people go to the gym week after week with no plan in mind. Just work up to something heavy and never make any progress, get injured and eventually quit. They don’t have a plan! And they don’t track personal records in a notebook even. Basically, their program is nonexistent and they don’t go anywhere because of it.

What if you went into the gym for the first time in months and actually have a plan for what you are going to do? Doesn’t that sound like a revolutionary idea? I think so! Let’s find out some basic ways we can Periodize our Squat training for maximum strength.

Hypertrophy First

First and foremost you need to increase your muscle mass for a period of time. If you only ever work on Strength you’ll never actually get stronger. Why? You need more muscle! Weight moves weight, the more muscle you have the stronger you’ll be, to an extent.

Your strength ceiling, your potential for building strength essentially, will never increase without building new muscle. You can get stronger by increasing how efficient your Central Nervous System produces force, of course. But overall to get stronger you need more muscle. The more muscle you build the higher your strength ceiling will be.

Here’s how we set up a proper Hypertrophy Phase to eventually push our strength ceiling higher for the second phase.

The hypertrophy phase rep ranges should be around 6-10 reps per set. Not using leg extensions and leg curls, we want big movements that have a massive return on investment. Squats, Deadlifts, Romanian Deadlifts, Front Squats, and more! The compound movements that allow you to lift the most weight have the ability to build the most muscle. By using these main movements we can build muscle fast and use that new muscle to build strength later.

The easiest way to set that up is to pick a weight you can do sets of 10 with on the Squat. We’ll start with 3 sets the 1st week, 4 sets the 2nd week, and 5 sets the 3rd week. The 4th week we’ll do a deload with half the sets and reps before adding weight again. Our goal is to add 5-10 lbs every week and stay in that 6-10 rep range. We want to keep 1-2 reps in the tank every rep.

You should never go to failure on barbell movements. It’s not worth the risk of injury.

Week 1: Squat 250×10, 10, 9

Week 2: Squat 255×10, 9, 9, 8

Week 3: Squat 260×9, 8, 7, 7, 6

Week 4: Deload Squat 225×5, 5, 5

Week 5: Squat 265×10, 9, 8

Week 6: Squat 270×9, 8, 8, 7

Week 7: Squat 275×8, 8, 7, 6, 6

Week 8: Deload Squat 250x 5, 5, 5

If you’re doing it correctly you’ll notice you’re getting stronger in a slightly higher rep range and also building specific muscle groups necessary for squatting. We’re increasing the intensity slightly and focusing on increasing volume every week. After about 8 weeks of this set up we can move onto strength.

Strength Phase

We just built up new muscle mass, increased our work capacity and finished our deload. You should be primed and ready to go to work on strength for an 8 week period. Instead of increasing volume and sets, we’ll be focusing on increasing intensity and decreasing sets. Our rep range will be 4-6 reps and every week we’ll be decreasing the number of sets as the intensity rises. 3-5 sets is generally plenty for this kind of set up.

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Week 1: 300×6, 6, 6, 5, 5

Week 2: 305×6, 6, 5, 5

Week 3: 310×6, 5, 4

Week 4: Deload 275×5, 5, 5

Week 5: 315×6, 6, 5, 5, 5

Week 6: 320×6, 5, 5, 4

Week 7: 325×6, 5, 4

Week 8: Deload 300x 5, 5, 5

Above is what a proper strength workout would look like. Notice he’s not going to failure, just stopping when his form breaks down or the bar slows down.

This is a very easy way to set up a proper strength cycle. Just like with the hypertrophy phase you should be getting stronger in those rep ranges as you go on. When you go back and test 300 for 5 sets you’ll most likely realize you’re doing more reps at those lower intensities. If that’s not progress I don’t know what is! Periodize your training, choose the proper rep ranges and watch your Barbell Squat grow month after month. Having a planned, scientific approach to training always works better than just winging it.

This section took a ton of work and I tried my best to explain everything properly. If you have any questions on this section definitely comment below and I’ll do my best to answer you the best I can!

#8 Train Lower Body 2-3 Days A Week

A lot of times the greatest hurdle people have is with optimal training frequency. The old days of training each body part once per week is dead. The only people that do this is Professional Bodybuilders and they only do this out of necessity. Their muscles are so big that the amount of time they need to recover from workouts is massive compared to your average Joe.

There are definitely better ways for Beginners and Intermediate lifters to train. The way that works the best from a scientific standpoint and from my personal experience, is to train each muscle group at least 2 times a week.

The reason for this is pretty simple, muscle protein synthesis lasts up to 48 hours on average before muscle groups are fully repaired. With this in mind, you can increase muscle and strength by increasing your frequency.

Bigger Muscle Groups Need More Recovery

In general, the bigger the muscle group the more time it takes for that muscle to repair and ready to train again. Things like back, legs, and chest come to mind for bigger muscles. Smaller muscle groups such as arms and shoulders recover a lot faster and can be trained more frequently.

Barbell Squats are incredibly taxing, because of this, you have to periodize how much weight you’re using workout to workout if you’re training them 2-3 days a week. Imagine Squatting maximally 3 days a week, week after week, you’ll probably run into recovery issues and hate life. I know I would because I’ve done it!

How I Set This Up For Myself With Great Success

With this in mind, I’ll show you a sample workout that helped me build up my Squat very quickly when I first started training. This took me from a 225×10 Squat to over 315×5 within 2 months so I know it works!

Monday Squat Working Up to a PR set.

I would pick a weight and try to do as many reps as possible. I would stop when my form broke down or when the next rep would have been to failure.

Wednesday Squat 3 sets of 5 @ 80 % of Mondays weight

I would reduce Monday’s weight by 80% and do 3 sets of 5. This was for increasing strength but also recovery as well.

Friday Squat 50 Total Reps @ 70 % of Mondays weight

This workout would be for building work capacity and building up muscle mass. 70% of Monday’s workout makes this light enough that typical sets would be between 8-15 reps per set.

Try this out and let me know if it helped push your Squat strength up within a couple weeks time! Usually, by increasing your frequency you’ll notice you get stronger just from improvements in your form!

Recovery Is Vitally Important To This Frequency

Doing this style of training you have to pay attention to your recovery. If you start having aches and pains you need to back off somewhere. When squatting 3 times a week everything else was put on the backburner. That means my Deadlifting was backed off, Benching, Pressing, even Pullups/Rows. The whole goal was to build the Squat and you need proper recovery to do 3 sessions a week. With that in mind, let’s move onto the next tip I have…

#9 Limit Focus To Building Your Squat

When getting stronger is the goal, not everything is going to get stronger at the same time. Your upper body movements might be taking off while your lower body is just lagging and plateauing. That’s how the body works, you can’t push everything into the red like you’re driving a car. Eventually, your body is going to push back the harder you push it. When that happens you’ll most likely get injured and have to take some time off. Nobody wants that!

When focusing on the Squat you can use the sample setup I showed in Tip #8 above. Here’s a super easy way to focus on the squat without pushing your recovery too far.

Monday:

Squat: PR Set

Push: 50 Reps

Pull: 50 Reps

Wednesday:

Squat: 3×5 @80% of Mondays Weight

Push: 50 Reps

Pull: 50 Reps

Friday:

Squat: 50 Total Reps @70% of Mondays Weight

Push: 50 Reps

Pull: 50 Reps

This is how I would set up a proper Squat cycle without pushing everything too hard. Notice I gave you different categories, these can be any pushing or pulling movements you want. I wouldn’t recommend any heavy deadlifting for the pulling movements. Your goal is to get in, train the Squat hard, then do 1 or 2 exercises for pushing and pulling to keep everything balanced.

This is just one way you can do it but I know I made better progress Squatting like this than I ever did pushing everything all at once.  Try it out and let me know what kind of results you get from it!

#10 Train Different Squat Variations

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My final tip is to train different Squat Variations! There are many different types of Squat variations you can try that might increase your Squat more than you can imagine! If you Squat low bar you can squat high bar and vise versa. If you need to build your quads up more do front squats or safety bar squats. You can even do close variations without a barbell; belt squats are probably the number one I’ve seen that works very well for that role!

There are multiple ways you can set up training the different variations. You can do your basic Barbell Squat first, then do some Belt Squats afterward for instance. You can also do multiple variations in the same week using my 3-day squatting example above.

Monday: Squat

Wednesday: Front Squat

Friday: SSB (Safety Squat Bar) Squat

This is a great way to set up multiple squat days over the course of a week. Because Front Squats and SSB Squats are harder than regular Squats you automatically lower the amount of weight you can use which helps in recovery.

Breaking Through Plateaus

Training different variations is very important for overall strength. If you do the same movements over and over you can stall pretty quickly. I generally recommend switching out your secondary exercises every 4-8 weeks. Another way you can do it is by switching exercises when you stop progressing.

You can also just use 1-2 variations for 4-8 weeks, progress in weight and reps as much as possible, and then switch to another variation. This allows you to train slightly different muscle groups, build up weak points, and still have enough Specificity for it to transfer over to your main Squat movement.

Conclusion

When it comes to building up the Squat there is a ton you can try to achieve more strength. Whether it’s making sure you’re wearing the correct footwear, squatting multiple times a week, or just training your abs for the first time; you can always make progress. I hope my tips helped you out and if they did I want to hear about it! Leave a comment below with any results you had in your training due to this article! My whole goal with this blog is to help others with my experience and training history. I hope you all have a fantastic week and thanks for stopping by!

Until next time,

Dante Redgrave

danteredgrave

danteredgrave

I'm a Strength Coach and Content Creator with freedom on my mind! Without strength training, I hate to think of where I would be without it. What kind of person I would be, what kind of shape I would be in. It scares me, and that's why every day is a new chance to better myself. Anybody that's interested I am taking online clients now! Just shoot me an email and know you won't find a better deal online or offline. Guaranteed:)

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