Principles To A Stronger Squat: Be The Best Squatter You Know!
One of the most common goals for NEXT level individuals is being able to navigate HOW to increase our squats. Most everyone from recreation lifters, bodybuilders, powerlifters (obviously), and weight lifters have ENORMOUS carry-over into having bigger squat numbers. Unfortunately, many individuals fail to grasp a set of rules or principles to go by when it comes to appropriately programming and executing your squat to push you forward for the long term.
Squats are something I hold near and dear to my heart. In my lifting career it wasn’t until the last few years of powerlifting where I have seen the goals of my long term labor come to fruition.
So I will begin a 5 part series going over the various principles for how to appropriately program a squat. We can also address macro concerns that may arise due to this.
Why Should We All Care About The Squat?
The squat is one of, if not the best lower body movement one can do to develop strength and power. Squatting is one of the most versatile and dynamic exercises out there. Plus, it requires a tremendous amount of mobility and stability through your entire body. Perfecting a squat takes a great deal of skill.
I want to take some time to speak to the intermediate lifters of the world. The ones who have been training for 1-3 years and have seen successes and their share of failures in their quest towards squat magic (yeah… that’s an informercial so all rights to them but it’s so catchy!).
If you are reading this, chances are you fall into three categories…
- You need help increasing it.
- You need help programming it.
- You may need help with both! That’s okay!
We will follow 5 principles you can absorb and use for the next 10 weeks and I promise you that your squat will increase at least 20-40 lbs. onto your 5-rep max from the day you start. We use five points because…
- 5 is a number we can all remember.
- If I throw too much stuff at you the chances of retaining it are inhibited.
House Keeping: Test Your Squat & Clear Your Headspace
If you want to track improvement you must test it from the beginning. Especially if you have dabbled in Gains-ville with squats in the past. We MUST know what your baseline readings are. If you do not know and you delve into fixing your squat, you’re just guessing. Now, let’s not get it twisted, there is something to be said about feeling better and more confident with your squat. But we want to get true perfect measurements. So, test your squat. Film it or it didn’t happen, right?! That’s the millennial in me talking, please excuse it!
I wanted to also add this major component as well. Clear your head space. Squatting is an immense demonstration of strength and power that one can develop through their lower body. But, we also cannot ignore the mind when we are looking for a MIND/MUSCLE connection.
If your mind is in the gutter. Your squats could be in a bad place as well. Clear out the head clutter that is weighing you down from being the best version of yourself! Following this program should be very helpful for you. By following this program here’s one less thing you need to stress over!
How Do We Test?
Although a 1 rep max is a great measure. I want to see a 5-rep maximum. It is difficult to cheat a 5-rep maximum. It has been shown to be a more effective means to measure squat strength than a 1 rep max in a clinical NON COMPETITIVE setting. Yes, the 1 rep max is the standard in powerlifting. But, if we are not competing in powerlifting, there’s no reason to pretend to. Poor form under load is a basic component for how we get injured! And from there, we can determine through an estimation to what your 1 rep maximum will be. It will serve you well in determining what your working weights are! And from there we will use an equation as outlined in phase 1 of our program!
Principle #1 Squat Twice Per Week
The days of archaic 1 day a week leg annihilation have died with the striped parachute pants of the 90s. Why on Earth do we think we’ll optimize our squat if we’re only doing it once per week? Squatting is a demonstration of strength, but it is also a demonstration of skill. Great squatting is a skill all its own. Otherwise, NFL football players would automatically squat more than everyone in USAPL Raw Nationals in their respective weight class! (Give most of those guys ~6-12 months and then we could revisit this one, though!)
Now, does this mean we train squats heavy twice per week? Not necessarily. But a split of twice per week with one heavy day and one moderate day SHOULD give you enough repeated bout to maximize strength and perfect the SKILL of squatting (notably barbell squatting).
Squat Day 1 Monday: 3×5 @65%1RM
Squt Day 2 Thursday: 5×3@75%1RM
You do not need the same loaded patterns the same day. But as long as the overall goal is the same you’re okay to change up the loaded patterns a little!
Plus, if you only train your squats once per week you are far from perfecting the SKILL of the exercise. As I said earlier, squatting is a dynamic movement that requires a great deal of technical skill. If it didn’t, everyone would perform perfect heavy squats without much of any training or coaching to do so. Heavy squats are relative in this case. It has been shown that form and technique will breakdown if we do not practice the SKILL on a frequent basis.
Squatting twice per week will allow you to 1) overload the body with the stimulus it’s needed to progress over and 2) practice the SKILL of squatting which will be needed later on as you get stronger and stronger. Failing to do so, and resorting to 1 day a week will neglect one of the two necessary skills needed for squats!
I accept 4 new clients a month (essentially one a week!). If you feel the program does not accommodate your individual needs choose me as your online coach to help YOU go soaring the past the squat totals that this program will have in store!
Feel free to use the “contact us” link as well http://damicofitness.com/contact-us/.
Online Coaching benefits:
- Remote coaching so there’s no set “appointment”
- Since there’s no set appointment it’s a fraction of the cost of in-person training
- Workout at your convenience around your busy schedule!
- Get all the benefits of coaching by taking the guess work and disorganization towards coaching yourself.
- Written program tailored for you by a coach committed to your needs!
- Building & strengthening relationships with like-minded people in an ever growing sphere of influence!