There are many small things you can do and try to help improve your squat strength. The following 100 tips are some of the best suggestions I could piece together into one article.
If you have any tips not listed below, feel free to leave them in the comment section below.
1. Have your squat form critiqued by a highly experienced competitive powerlifter. This can easily be done by recording a video and uploading it to Youtube.
2. Focus on getting your quads as strong as possible. Use conventional stance squat volume, front squats and leg presses to do so. You can never have enough quad strength.
3. Improve your lower back strength. This can be accomplished with deadlifts, Romanian deadlifts and hyperextensions.
4. Never assume your form doesn't need work. Work hard on each and every rep to improve your form.
5. Keep your upper back and arms tight. When your back and arms start to get loose your elbows will creep up, causing you to lean forward and reducing your power and leverage.
6. Try paused squats. These are brutal, and a great method of building squat power.
7. Add in a second squat day each weekend perform speed squats.
8. Stop missing workouts. This sounds obvious but very few lifters make it a complete year without missing a ton of sessions.
9. Focus on staying tight as you descend. If you get loose you are likely to break form and lose maximal leverage.
10. Eat more. If your squat is in a slump, step up to the (food) plate and pile it high. Additional food is magic and is one of the best ways to increase strength gains.
11. Get big. Focus on getting every muscle group from head to toe as big as possible. Extra muscle will only help build extra strength.
12. Get strong. Get every muscle group from head to toes as strong as possible. This will only help your squat move up.
13. If you are having a hard time reaching depth, focus on flowering your knees open a bit more in the hole. If your knees are tight and narrow you will have a hard time hitting depth and will lose some of your explosive power.
14. Watch your squat videos. The bar should stay above the middle of your feet. If it's not, you need to make adjustments to your form or approach.
15. Your knee angle and toe angle should be the same. If your knees are well inside or outside of your toes this will impact your depth and power.
16. Don't squat looking into a mirror. This can throw off your balance and form.
17. Drive your shoulders into the bar from the hole. (Or lead with the head).
18. Drive your hips forward to lockout a squat. Your hips and glutes are your powerhouse muscles.
19. Read the book Super Squats, if for no other reason than motivation.
20. Watch squat form tutorials on Youtube from top level powerlifters.
21. Grow a huge beard. Beards improve squat strength.
22. Train the squat more frequently. Use a heavy, light, medium rotation if need be.
23. Try the Texas Method.
24. Read everything every written by Westside Barbell's Louie Simmons.
25. Read everything every written by Mark Rippetoe.
26. Read everything ever written by Dave Tate.
27. Eat more bacon. It's anabolic.
28. Try 20 rep squats.
29. Try a Russian squat program like Smolov.
30. Keep your lower back tight, but not hyperextended inward.
31. Strengthen your core, especially with plank and ab wheel rollouts.
32. Use a death grip on the barbell.
33. If your are having a hard time judging depth, try using box squats.
34. Perform hip stretching and hip mobility work.
35. Do some conditioning work each week. This will help you recover and allow you to go deeper into squat sets before you start to suck wind.
36. If low bar feels uncomfortable, try high bar. If high bar feels uncomfortable, try low bar.
37. For extra power, try squat jumps using a moderate weight.
38. Don't let your weight get out over your toes.
39. Look forward but drive your head up from the hole.
40. Inhale and hold your breathe before sinking. Exhale as you attempt to complete the squat rep.
41. Help your central nervous system wake up during warmup sets by holding a weight on your shoulders for 10 seconds before performing a set.
42. Stop trying to max out each week.
43. Train for progression not punishment.
44. If you are a beginner to intermediate lifter, get your reps in. Reps are needed for form practice and muscle building.
45. Learn how to dump the bar. This will improve confidence and reduce hesitation.
46. Try chains.
47. Try bands.
48. Sign up for a powerlifting meet. This will challenge you to focus.
49. Find a local powerlifting team to train with. You will learn a ton and be pushed to do things you never thought possible.
50. Wear knee wraps. You're in this for the long haul. Take care of your knees and hamstrings.
51. Try using a belt. For many a belt adds pounds to their squat total.
52. Try an 8 week peaking program.
53. Try a 12 to 16 week periodization.
54. Try Korte's 3x3 program.
55. Try my 8 week squat cycle.
56. When making form changes don't train heavy. This is a recipe for injury. Get comfortable with the change first.
57. If you are leaning too far forward try high bar squats.
58. Build strong calves. Your calves are your roots. Make them strong.
59. Try non-linear periodization: squat heavy one week, for reps the next.
60. Be patient. Another obvious tip, but far too many of you expect to be squatting 500 pounds raw after a year or two.
61. Use goblet squats to work on squat form during your off or light training days.
62. Try to walk out your squat using only two steps. One foot back, then the other. This will help increase the safety of squat walkouts.
63. Use the narrowest possible grip that doesn't hurt your shoulders.
64. Your eccentric speed should allow for the maintaining of good form and tightness.
65. Don't panic if the occasional rep is slightly high. Not every rep will be perfect. The goal is improvement.
66. Taking a week off of training every 8 to 12 weeks can help heal any nagging injuries.
67. If you are training at home, don't have a rack and need inexpensive catches, purchase a couple of adjustable saw horses.
68. Keep your eyes fixed on a single spot on the wall in front of you. Where the head goes, the body goes. This will help prevent the eyes and head from moving down.
69. When using a wide stance squat, think about spreading the floor with your feet during the execution of the rep.
70. Listen to your body. Never push a strain or pain beyond what it is capable of doing on any given day. Live to fight another day.
You forgot 'push harder' as this makes the weight go up easier.
Great stuff !
i have pain behind the knee but there is no pain when im squatting heavy. is that ok?
Great stuff!! Not too sure bout #21 though....
Works for me. That's all I know.
I can't grow a bread...should I draw one?
Come train with me for a week. Your beard will start to grow.
#21 - LOL....!!