There are various exercises that lifters use in order to strengthen their squat, so today I’m going to share four exercises that I add to my workouts to help me strengthen my squats. Sure the big powerlifting moves are excellent to do, but it’s important to work on the accessory work in order to get the most out of those big power lifts.
The Barbell Squat is by far my favorite as far as powerlifting goes, with that said there are lots of exercises I do in order to better my squat. So here are the four exercises I do to help me strengthen my squat: Split Squat, Reverse Lunge, Barbell Hip Thruster and Goblet Squat. For these four exercises I make sure to keep the weight light so that I can really focus on engaging the muscles I will be using during these lifts.
When performing this exercise I focus on my depth and engaging my glutes and quads. I have found that this exercise helps me figure out my weakness. How you ask? It is allowing my to squat down on one leg so that I can determine which leg is weaker so that I can build up my strength in that leg. Now for me it’s my right leg that is weaker simply because that’s the leg where I have most of my knee problems. So if I do 10 reps on my left leg I will add an extra 5 to my right leg to build up my strength in that leg since it tends to be much weaker than my left. Typically with this lift I will perform 3-5 sets of 10 reps.
Now all variations of Lunges are great for building a better squat, Reverse Lunges are just my go to for strengthening my squats. I like to load up a barbell with light weight when I preform this exercise, but using dumbbells or just your body weight is effective as well. For this exercise I focus on engaging my glutes and quads and typically I will do 3-5 sets of 10 reps.
Barbell Hip Thruster
This is my absolute favorite exercise for engaging your glutes, but in order to feel the full effect of the exercise you want to really focus on engaging those glutes at the top of the lift. Also with this lift you want to keep the movements slow and controlled and hold the contraction for a few seconds before lowering the bar back down, that will help you engage your glutes. Typically I preform 3-5 sets of 10 reps and I keep the weight fairly light at 97 pounds. If you don’t have a barbell you could also perform a weighted Hip Bridge and that will give you a similar muscle contraction.
What I like about this exercise is that it not only aids in strengthening your squat, but you also work on perfecting your form. As you can tell from the picture here I have a wider stance, typically my stance for my barbell squat is about shoulder width. The picture was taken after I started doing barbell squats so since then my form has been tweaked.
This is my current squat form which has improved drastically just from spending more time focusing on form and strengthening my quads and glutes. My current squat PR is 220 I’m hoping to bump up that number by the time I compete in my very first powerlifting meet.
So stay tuned on how these exercises are helping my perfect my form and strengthen my Squat. Until next time, always remember to consult a doctor before performing any exercise routine and happy lifting.
Your Resident Barbell Goddess