Tips to Instantly Improve Your Squat – Ben Coker

Today’s blog is a short one but nonetheless, a very useful one. Dave Tate in particular has produced some excellent material on how to improve your squat and therefore I am not going to rephrase what the man has already done succinctly. Instead I am going to make you aware of two simple techniques you can use before your squat set that will instantly make your squat stronger.

Tip #1 Squat/Frog Jumps

Jumping by nature is a high force movement as involves the projection of a load (your body). The higher the force produced, the more high-threshold motor units are recruited. Therefore as an activation tool performed prior to a regular lifting movement frog jumps will act as a “wake-up” call, potentiating the nervous system. This will allow you to recruit the high-threshold motor units more easily in the subsequent lifting exercises.

  • Go to full depth as you would in your squat. This will ensure that all the muscles involved in the squat will be potentiated in the jump.
  • Following on from the above; ensure that you jump using the hips (sit back in the squat part of the jump) and do not rely on jumping with the knees (quads) alone.
  • Make sure you complete the jump fully with a hard forceful triple extension to ensure the posterior chain is fully activated.
  • You must put everything into the jump and really explode as high as you can; otherwise you are not activating the high thresholds motor units as well as you can.

Perform 2-3 max jumps about 30 seconds out from you set and feel the power.

Tip # 2 Squeeze The Fucking Bar.

No really. Try and break the thing in half!

Okay I’m not talking about when the bar is racked across your back…that should be staple by now. To reiterate, as soon as you grab the bar you never let go of it. In squatting, the lift starts as soon as you grab the bar and ends when you let go of it when it’s back in the rack. Don’t let up with that grip during the lift.

What I am talking about is an extra concerted effort before you go under the bar. Once you take a hold of the bar imagine trying to snap the bar in half. I peronally imagine ‘pushing’ the ends of the bar away from me and down, making use of a strong lat contraction, whilst ‘pulling’ the middle towards me in a way such that if the bar were to break the broken ends would swing towards my face. Other imagery may work better for you. In short my whole body is tensing to the max in the attempt.

For this to work you really need to try and break the bar not just go through the motions. Your body should be trembling if you are doing it to the right intensity. Hold this squeeze for 3-5 seconds. You be surprised how tiring it actually is! And the mental mindset you get into in trying to snap a barbell is a phenomenal boost. Then overall feeling is ‘amped’ to say the least. From there, without breaking grip, go under the bar and own the squat.

Get nasty with the bar!

Wrap Up

Both of these methods work extremely well for me. They potentiate my body extremely well but also help to get me angry enough (with the help of a strong iTunes playlist) to go under the bar with utter range and a confidence that the only way is up from that hole.

I’d love to know whether these methods work for you. Whether a wobbly 1RM now feels a solid and clean1RM and or more weight goes on the bar of even if a 3RM becomes a 5RM leave your comments and let me know!

Train hard. Train smart. Be Strong.

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