When looking at the squat there are some issues that hold pretty true for most athletes. When you break it all down, the squat comes down to having great technique/mobility, timing, body awareness, and confidence. You just have to be really good at squatting, though there is some misinformation out there about how you should be squatting. Squat technique is going to be a little different for everyone but there are a few things that almost everyone should work on.
When talking about head position in the squat there is a lot of debate about where you should look. Should you look up, down, or straight ahead? Where you look matters a lot less than your neck position. When you get set up, before you descend, pressurize the back of your neck by pulling your chin back as to make a double chin (something I learned from Charlie Weingroff). This will help keep your back tight and in the same position as you descend and ascend in the squat and I personally think it makes you feel stronger.
Watch this video where I explain this in more detail:
Learn to High Bar Squat and Do It Often
If you have been squatting for a while you have probably learned the difference between high bar and low bar squatting. Once people learn the low bar squat, they tend to fall in love with it because it helps almost everyone lift more weight. More weight doesn’t necessarily mean a better squat, in fact all my athletes high bar squat most of the year and my athletes that compete in sports other than powerlifting almost never low bar squat. Think of it like this, the high bar squat will build your strength and the low bar squat will express your strength. If you are getting ready for a competition you will want to low bar squat more as you get closer to the event, but a majority of your training year should be spent high bar squatting.
High bar squatting puts more stress on the quads and less on the hip and lower back. High bar squatting is also a lot more forgiving on your back, wrists, and elbows than the low bar variation. If you are good in the larger range of motion that the high bar squat provides, it will show through in your low bar squat and you will come out healthier and stronger because of it. Plus, this will build bigger quads and who doesn’t want that?
Push Back into the Bar
This is one of those pieces of advice that really helped me get my squat over 500lbs. As you squat down with weight on your back, all that gravity is doing is trying to bring that bar to the ground in whatever way it can. If you get buckled over and hinge forward too far, you are done. Making it a priority to push your back against the bar through the entirety of the movement is crucial in maintaining good position and finishing hard squats.
Here is a video where I describe this cue in more detail:
Use these tips to help you improve your squat technique and really get good at squatting
Progressive Performance is hosting a FREE powerlifting seminar on March 26th at 9am. You will learn about programming, technique and nutrition to make sure you can lift the most weight possible.