Recently, we wrote about how focusing on your squat form will help you build a better squat. Now that you’ve had a few weeks to digest those tips and improve your technique, it’s time for you to learn about squat variations that will help you build strength to hit a new 1 rep max. We created a “cheat sheet” of 5 squat variations that you should utilize in your training to increase your back squat.
They are, in no particular order:
Purpose: Develops core strength, upper back strength, and utilizes the quadriceps a bit more than a back squat does. Also, Olympic lifters essentially do front squats every time they clean so the carry over is good for those who compete in that sport.
Execution: Bar is placed in a front rack position with hands outside the shoulders and elbows up. Stand hip width apart with your feet pointing out 20 degrees. Maintaining a tight core, pull your butt down in between your feet while focusing on keeping your elbows up. Then drive up through your heels with your elbows and your legs to return to standing.
Purpose: To increase strength for coming out of the hole.
Execution: Squat to full depth. Rest at the bottom for 1-3 seconds. Drive up. Avoid bouncing out of the hole as this defeats the purpose of the pause.
Purpose: To work through primary and secondary sticking points in the squat.
Execution: Squat to full depth. Come up to just above parallel. Squat back down to full depth. Come 3/4 of the way up. Squat back down to full depth. Stand fully up.
One and a Quarter Squat
Purpose: To work through primary sticking point in the squat.
Execution: Squat to full depth. Come up to just above parallel. Squat to full depth. Drive up fully.
Bulgarian Split Squat
Purpose: Unilateral development of leg strength.
Execution: Place the top of the back foot on a bench behind you. Step forward with the other leg and descend. Then, drive up. Repeat for sets of 10. The front knee should not extend beyond the foot. If it does, step out further to correct this. Use either two kettlebells in a front rack position to add weight or place a barbell on your back.
Add these squat variations into your training cycle and watch your 1 rep max go up! Happy lifting everyone.