The King of Lifts.
No movement on earth builds more muscle and improves athletic performance better than the squat. But there’s something else that makes squat king.
When you push your limits of the squat, you enter a realm that only a select few will ever know.
What are the best ways to build a life changing squat? Other then you just squatting more, well, thats up to you. The best way to strengthen a squat is to pinpoint the weak links and attack them.
The RIGHT squat may not be right for you!
We sometimes put artificial limits on ourselves because we follow artificial rules. For example..
You read an article by a respected coach about the best way to squat and its very compelling and science based.
You try to do that squat and it feels terrible, even after you spend months working on it, maybe even getting coached. At this point you are just used to it.
You think oh well i just cant squat.
The rule is there's a best way to squat.
The limit is: since I cant squat the best way, then i cant squat at all.
But maybe that way, is just the best way for some people and their particular goals. You may not be one of those people.
Find your best squat!
You definitely read all the books and articles by great coaches. You should definitely attend seminars and test out advice. Maybe it's perfect for you, maybe it’s not. And if it’s not, it definitely does not mean you suck at squats! It just means you haven't found YOUR squat!
There are four major joints required for squatting. The lumbar, ankles, hips, and knees. (yes the ankles! But depending on load placement, usually just requires mobility and stability) So think about the muscles surrounding these joints. Collectively, they’re the spinal erectors for stability, knee extenders, and hip extenders.
So the question becomes which group do you need to target and how!?
Once you know your weak links or position, you can work on the movements that’ll improve them. How? With strategic hypertrophy.
Yes! Hypertrophy of your weak links can help build your squat, or any lift for that matter. You can increase the size of your muscles with solid programming and hard work, and you can get more efficient at moving heavy weight.
Back…You’ll never see a great squatter with a weak back. You can get away with weak thoracic and somewhat weak spinal extensors in a deadlift, but that simply wont work in the back squat. If the back flexes, the movement is dead. A bit of T spine flexion has been shown to help the deadlift by lessening the demands on the back. Let bracing, carrys, and reverse hypers be your new best friends.
Quads..If you squat like a stripper (butt flying up out of the hole), theres a good chance you have weak quads. The knee and hip extensors have unique ways to help each other.
Due to mainly surrounding muscles, the body can shift the work load to the strongest joint, making it easy to perform the duties of the weak joint. If you have weak quads, your knees will track back, putting demands on the hips, this will increase the demands of the back and hips. In this case putting some meat on those quads should do the trick.
GlutesGlutes are generally the weakest link for the most balanced athletes. If your back is strong and quads are jacked then you’re a pretty balanced athlete and need to spend some time on those hips! Once you do, you can now focus on hip extension and drive your squat through the roof.
Heres what to do: anything on the belt squat, hip bridges, lunges, and KB swings.
The belt squat is pulling your hips out of extension, turning every movement into hip extension. My favorites are kettlebell deadlifts, barbell deadlifts from various heights, marches, and goblet squats.
The inner thighs and hamstring play closely together with many of the glute dynamics. So pay close attention to them. If you have the knee notorious knee clunks (knees coming together on the way up) spend some time on those hammies and abductors.