Sometimes a little motivation can help us lift a lot more.
Most people intend to squat a lot more down the track, which is great for muscular development and strength and amazing for self-esteem. There is nothing quite like the feeling of increasing your weight over time and getting stronger and stronger with each repetition.
I have a few tips to help you along the way, and they will also increase your flexibility. This is overlooked quite frequently by a lot of settlers.
5 top tips for squatting more weight
One: Squat really low
Most lifters have unfortunately feared this. Everyone mistakenly thought that squatting low would damage their knees and lower back.
This could be further from the truth!
Squatting low develops more strength in your knees and lower back, improving their function, which filters into better execution of everyday movements.
Flexibility is key when performing this movement, and it can easily be achieved with patience and conscious effort. Remember that lack of flexibility in the hips and ankles is primarily the cause of inadequate squat form.
Slowly increase the range of movement and flexibility in your ankles when elevating your heels from the ground (you can use plates for this).
One way to strengthen the knee is to perform split squats, elevating the front foot in one session and the back foot in another. Use these movements to slowly build up the momentum and range of motion on the knees.
Two: Extended eccentric squats with a rest pause.
This is the downward motion of the squat.
With this method, you take a lot longer to progress downwards, controlling the movement.
Try to count 4–5 seconds down, pause at the bottom for 2 seconds, and speed upwards in about 1 second. This will be tough! Further increasing the intensity of the weight just by allowing your legs an extended amount of time under tension will build strength and hypertrophy on all levels.
Three: The one-and-a-quarter squat method.
This is one of my favourites; not enough people use this brilliant method! You will increase strength and hypertrophy and target those weaker links in the lower body.
Squat down in a controlled motion, then at the bottom of the movement, slightly lift yourself 20–30 degrees, then back down again, pause at the bottom, and come back up as quickly as possible. If you want to take this a step further, do not lock out your knees, keeping your legs firing still! This will most definitely give you the best results.
Four: Always alter your tempo range.
I always say to control your tempo, but variety is key to muscular strength and hypertrophy.
A longer tempo is great for building strength, especially for those newer to lifting.
A faster tempo is great for building a lot more power. Faster rep ranges are best for advanced lifters, but it’s a great starting point to slowly increase your confidence as you move along, building strength and momentum in your training.
Five: Try to split your deadlifting and squatting on different days.
Because both are such important exercises, using a large range of muscle fibres, it’s best to split them during your workout. The primary exercise implemented first will always deplete the secondary exercise efforts.
Because both are so powerful at building strength, focus on one at a time in your strength training program, focusing on form, tempo and incremental increases in weight on the bar. You will be thankful for the lack of injury this tip can help prevent.
Leave the heavy squatting until you are a bit more experienced. Advanced trainers need to squat heavily to create larger amounts of muscle damage. Advanced trainers have already spent much time strengthening the cartilage around their knees and can tolerate these heavy loads.
When you begin using the methods above, over time, you will need to compensate by slowly adding more and more weight to the bar.
Ensure you always use the correct tempo and full range of squat motion for the best results (and injury-free!
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