Tips On How To Squat To Increase Your Leg Muscles And Maximize Strength
Today I will give you some tips for the proper squat form that will take your leg strength at peak.! I will discuss different squat techniques.
I hope you have read my previous article. We are going to talk about proper squat form in this article.
Before we jump into the specifics of the proper squat form. I want to make you understand the importance of barbell squat in your workouts.
Barbell squat are to be performed as the first exercise of your whole workout session. Why?
Simply because if you spend your energy by working first on seated leg curls, hamstring curls or leg press machines you won’t have the energy to barbell squat heavy and with the correct form and you won’t build bigger legs.
Anyone that tells that you can build big and strong legs without squats is a person definitely trying to sell you something wrong.
Myths related to barbell squat:
- They are bad for the knees
- You will have lower back injuries if you squat.
- If you squat your butt will get bigger than your legs.
Talking about getting bad knees during barbell squat is to some degree true, but only if you don’t care about your form & only bounce up & down just going through the motions.
Studies have shown that if you squat below your knees then your knees & other joints will only get strong.
Deep barbell squat increases your knees stability. Also squatting deep ass to grass involves up to 25 % more of your glutes. This will give you a proportional butt not to mention a great butt for the ladies.
Barbell squat, if done correctly, will also strengthen your back muscles and your posture will get better by the day.
Barbell squat also helps you to build your upper body. How?
Well if you squat deep & use progressive overloading it burns a lot of calories & increases your free testosterone that helps develop overall body muscles as well as increase bone density. I haven’t seen a person that barbell squat heavy but doesn’t have a great upper body.
As squatting is an intense exercise like deadlifts it helps in increasing the protein synthesis.
The reason for you not seeing those gains is that the isolation exercises don’t increase the amount of testosterone as the compound movements do so protein synthesis rates are higher if you perform compound movements.
Squats if done correctly can help you to have massive gains. You need to take care of your mobility if you are a person that sits for 6-8 hours for the jobs.
Firstly check whether you can barbell squat ass to grass by sitting slowly till the point where your lower back starts rounding. That’s the point till where you should barbell squat and slowly start working on your mobility and flexibility to improve your barbell squat depth.
Notice that when you barbell squat if your knees cave in as you move up from the bottom of your squat that indicates that you have weak quadriceps.
There are different variations of squats:
- Front barbell squat.
- Back barbell squat.
- Jefferson squats and much more.
But to build a strong base you need firstly to start doing back squats.The back barbell squat will grow your lower body muscle & after getting a good strong base.
I’ll show you how you can start working on other squats to bring up the lagging muscles in your legs.
Now talking about the important back squats, there are two variations you can do:
- High bar back squats
- Low bar back squats
Talking about high bar squats:
High bar squats are done by placing the bar on your trap muscles. You can grip the bar anywhere you want but if you can place your hands as narrow as possible it will help you to have a good tight setup for the squat.
Place your feet shoulder width apart. Here too if you want a tight setup you should avoid wearing spongy running shoes & wear flat soled or weightlifting shoes.
Weightlifting shoes can help you squat deeper as its heels are elevated that change the ankle angle & also the pelvic bone angle for those who have flexibility & mobility issues.(Don’t the worry I will help you solve your mobility & flexibility issues later!!)
When you get all set, grab the bar tightly take a deep breath & brace against your abdominal wall, push air that you took inside your stomach in every direction of your abdomen.
After that start letting your hips back and after a moment when you no longer can go back sit down below parallel slowly.
Start coming up as fast as you can by squeezing your glutes & breath out and again take a big breath & repeat the whole thing again.
Also, you need to keep your toes pointing a bit outward to compensate your hip mobility.
As you bring your legs closer you need to increase your toe angle outward. Here you need to stay as upright as possible so that you don’t fall in front.
You can avoid it by just staying tight and push back your torso while squeezing your hips in front. Focus on slowly performing the movement to understand the muscle firing pattern.
Don’t bounce in the hole to come up, while you can take help of your stretch reflex at the bottom but it may change the position of the bar on your back and can cause you to round forward which will make your lift a lot harder to complete.
I have seen many people lock their knees in one position when they squat down which compromises their back position so let the knees travel outward when you squat down & open at the bottom. This will support you to take help of your glutes at the bottom.
Don’t stress on the fact that your knees cannot travel ahead of your toes as it’s a myth so let your knees travel ahead of your toes to complete your lift efficiently.
As I have talked about high bar squat, however, it is found that 90 % people are stronger when they perform a low bar back squat.
Let’s talk about why low bar squats are more powerful and efficient and why most powerlifters use low bar squats:
To take the position for a low bar squat, before you pick the bar up you need to slide the bar down below your trap muscles by squeezing your traps and let the bar set about two inches below your traps.
This position will be very awkward at first but it will give you tight setup.
The reason for the low bar squat to be more efficient is that the center of gravity of the weight shifts down and comes almost in line with your body’s center of gravity.
As it is a kinetic chain when you are in contact with the ground a low bar squat is more efficient to avoid losing contact to the ground and will provide inline foundation than high bar squats.
Notice that you will bend more forward during low bar squat but you can try to stay as upright as possible by focusing on it.
You need to warm up your wrist joints as low bar squats will have you to bend your wrists to hold the bar.
I would recommend you to watch Dr. Layne Norton’s video on the proper squat form.
He is a powerlifting expert and I personally follow him.
How to squat – By Dr. Layne Norton.
This was just a brief introduction about proper squat form. Unless you face any form issues you should focus on progressive overloading & keep your intensity as high as possible.
This is it for this article. !!
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