How to Back Squat for Killer Gains

// May 7, 2016
How to Back Squat for Killer Gains

(5 Minute Read)

The Back Squat is widely considered one of the most telling feats of static strength. Recruiting numerous major muscle groups, the Back squat is a compound, full body movement. The squatting motion is one of the most fundamental movements in the human arsenal of movements, perhaps one of the most important. Such a fundamental and important movement should therefore be executed with proper form. I’m going to make this so simple your mum could do it. This is your definitive guide on how to squat.

The Setup:

Setting up to squat is the most important step. Without a proper setup, your lift is already compromised. There are several steps and aspects of setting up that need to be addressed.

How to Back Squat for Killer Gains

Step 0 – Shoes

Yeah step 0, want to fight about it? Before you even think of squatting let’s make it clear what footwear is okay to be squatting in. DON’T go barefoot. Especially with socks and depending on the surface, you’re a slipping hazard. DO wear a shoe. As for what kind of shoe, it doesn’t really matter. If you cannot afford shoes designed for lifting, any shoe with a bit of a wider base and good traction will do. Avoid shoes with heels that are cushiony.

How to Back Squat for Killer Gains

#1 – Bar Placement

Let me keep it 100 with you. There are two parts of your back that you can put the barbell, each corresponds to a certain type of back squat. There is the high bar squat and the low bar squat. Regardless of which you choose, keep EVERY PART OF YOUR BODY TIGHT AS YOU UNRACK THE WEIGHT. If your core, legs or upper back are not tight, you’re risking injury and losing mechanical efficiency.

High Bar: Uses more Quads, less potential power than low bar, favorite of Olympic weightlifters. Bar is placed where the traps meet the neck in a comfortable and stable position.

Low Bar: Uses more lower back, hips and hamstrings, your heaviest squats are low bar, powerlifting as fuck. Bar is placed on the shelf created by your rear delts (right below your if shoulders).

If you’re asking me. Go low bar. It’s a power move. If you’re not asking me, see which one is more comfortable. High bar squatting tends to require some more flexibility. Low bar squatting can have some people finding the bar slipping off their back if not placed correctly. Research the difference between the two squats if you have trouble deciding for yourself what will work best. REGARDLESS of which type of squat you choose, the bar should ALWAYS be centered on your back. Ensure the middle of the barbell lines up with the middle of your back BEFORE YOU UNRACK THE WHEYT.

How to Back Squat for Killer Gains

#2 – Hands, Elbows, Knees and Toes (Knees and Toes)

Body parts and where to put them.

Hands: It really doesn’t matter. Don’t go to wide that you don’t have a good handle on the bar. Don’t go so narrow that you’re impinging your shoulders or creating unnecessary elevation of the bar. See those rings on the barbell? Put some of your fingers around that area, you’ll be Gucci.

Elbows: Seems a strange body part to involve in a lower body movement but there’s a reason. Just try to keep your elbows from going back and up. By that, I mean once you get your grip on the bar and it’s on your back, drive your elbows slightly forward to keep them in place. You’ll feel the bar and your back reach a sexy symbiosis where it’s nice a stable.

Knees: Knees when going down into the squat shall rotate slightly externally for optimal mechanics usage – Corinthians 3:16. I’m serious your knees point a little bit out to line up with your little toes and u fookin skwat m8.

Feet Placement (Stance width): Contrary to popular belief, the distance between your feet isn’t all that important. Some people are comfortable squatting with their legs spread wider than a Russian hooker, while others go narrower than a soldier in a drill lineup. Start with your feet shoulder width apart and find what feels powerful and stable.

Toes: Like said above, your feet and toes will point slightly outward. There is room for you to have it more narrow or wide based on preference, but give them a little flare out. Your knees will be pushed out in the descent to follow the same direction your toes go.

How to Back Squat for Killer Gains

#3 – The Descent:

Now that you’re all setup it’s lit and we’re going to begin the descent. That means going down. In the DM’s.

Head Position: Looking straight forward or at a point on the ground three to five feet in front of you. Looking as far up you can is a myth, does NOT put your spine at an optimal alignment and will give you a fucking neck cramp.

Stay Tight: Keep those elbows pushed forward. Head locked. Upper back tight. These three will keep that bar glued to your back as you descend. Keep your legs tight and firmly planted into your stance. Your back should be straight at an angle the entire time. DO NOT ALLOW YOUR SPINE TO CURVE SO THAT YOU LOOK LIKE THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME. Film yourself to ensure you have a neutral spine while you descend.

Sit Back/Sit Down: If you’re low bar squatting, general sit back as you descend, as you would into a chair. Sitting back opens up the hips and allows you to utilize the posterior chain and other muscles recruited during low bar squatting. For high bar squats, sit directly down as you descend. Imagine a hoe at the club dropping it straight down for the boys. This prioritizes the use of the quads and utilizes the stretch reflex to get a “bounce” out of the bottom portion of the squat.

Hit Depth: Don’t be a Silly Sausage. Not hitting depth on the squat is like going to Coney Island and not getting a Nathan’s Hot Dog; You’re just fucking up. In general you want to hit parallel to use all the muscles you’re supposed to, get the most out of every squat and not look like a flaming vagina in the gym. “Parallel” here means that the top of your leg ends up parallel with the ground before you squat your ass up.

Da Knees: If you followed the setup properly before, your knees should be slightly rotated outward. As you descend, your knees should follow in line with the direction your feet point. DO NOT LET YOUR KNEES CAVE IN YOU SON OF A BITCH. Keep them pushed outward enough to avoid this, but not so aggressively you rotate outside of your feet.

How to Back Squat for Killer Gains

#4 – The Ascent:

No bulleting for this one, it’s pretty simple. After you reach the bottom of the squat, or as we call it the “hole”, keep everything tight. Elbows should still be pushing forward to maintain that back angle. Upper body and legs tight. As you ascend DRIVE your hips forward. It is this driving motion with the hips that pushes you through a squat and gets you out of the whole. Keep your head position steady, avoid back rounding and maintain your stance and hand position on the bar. When you come to the top portion of the lift, rack the weight, step back and pat yourself on the back: You just squatted.

How to Back Squat for Killer Gains

Additional Shit:

– Squat to parallel every time. Don’t make excuses.

– Hip drive is super important. Train your hips and ass.

– Perform EVERY rep as explosively as possible. Even warm ups.

– Train your core. A strong core is needed for strong squats.

– Don’t be afraid to wear a belt after a good period of squatting

– Squat 2 to 3 times a week for optimal gains. Your body can handle it

– Just squat

-Receive killer gains

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