How to increase a squat with a barbell in powerlifting and bodybuilding

Squats - the basic elements in bodybuilding and powerlifting - are used to gain muscle mass and develop leg strength. Today we will consider the classic squatting technique from different disciplines, their features, as well as give recommendations that will improve the results in these exercises.

How to increase a squat with a barbell in powerlifting and bodybuilding

Squats in powerlifting

In powerlifting, not muscle volumes are important, but lifting weight. Therefore, basic exercises, including squats, are aimed at developing the strength characteristics of an athlete.


Pick up a comfortable grip on your palms.

As a rule, this distance is 12-15 cm wider than the shoulder joints. The fingerboard should be placed on the upper part of the shoulder blades, approximately at the level of the rear deltoids:

  1. After removing the bar from the stops, take a step back, place your feet wider than your shoulders and turn your socks outward at an angle of 40-45 °.
  2. While inhaling deeply, at the same time take your pelvis back and bend your knee joints.
  3. Gently “having passed” 2/3 of the trajectory, slightly accelerate to create an inertial pushing motion below.
  4. As you exhale, rise to your starting position and fully straighten your knees at the top.

Tips on the technique:

  • Before doing it, straighten your shoulders, bend your lower back forward, keep your head straight. This will keep the back in a fixed position.
  • Try to keep the knee joints in the same plane with the feet. Avoid pushing your hips inward as this may cause injury.
  • At the lowest point, the back is at an angle of 45 °.

    If you bend lower, the load on your knees will increase. If you hold the spine vertically, the tension in the lower back will increase.

  • Squat at full amplitude. This is necessary to engage the tendons. Due to the elasticity of these tissues, you can overcome the dead point in the lower phase.

The reasons for the low performance of squats

As a rule, these are:

  • Genetics . For many novice powerlifters, the squat does not increase due to weak tendons and an undeveloped neuromuscular connection.
  • Wrong technique . To increase the results in squats with a barbell, you must adhere to the rules of the element.
  • Excessive loads .

    A common mistake - strength training of the lower body and back are placed next to the program.

Ways to increase the performance of squats


  • Work on strengthening tendons and improving stamina. To do this, add light squats with a barbell to the training plan for a large number of repetitions (2-3 sets of 25-50 each).
  • Powerlifting squats must be carried out in accordance with strict technique. Therefore, seek help from a trainer.

    An experienced mentor will help identify critical errors and find ways to resolve them.

  • In order to increase power indicators, discard the 3-4 approach scheme of 8-12 reps. Take more weight, but do 5-6 sets of 1-6 reps.Use the pyramid scheme - with each approach reduce the number of squats and increase the weight of the bar.
  • Increase recovery time between sets.

    In strength exercises, it is allowed to rest for 4-5 minutes. A long pause is necessary to restore heart rate and replenish energy costs.

  • Additional elements will help to increase squat in strength training. Include the "back room" in the program. For example, hyperextension to strengthen the lower back or plyometric loads to increase the elasticity of tendons and the development of explosive power of the legs.

  • Start taking creatine. This supplement helps increase energy stores and muscle strength. Creatine is not doping and has virtually no contraindications. Recommended intake is 4 weeks. After this, you should take a break for 10-14 days and repeat the course.

  • Use weightlifting accessories. To “boost” the weight gain in the squat, wear a special jumpsuit, as well as elastic bandages for the knees. This will help to overcome heavy loads and reduce the likelihood of injury. Obtain a flat-soled boot.

About programs for increasing squat

We do not recommend developing a training plan on your own to improve results.

Powerlifting is a competitive discipline that has a sophisticated athlete training system.

The powerlifter program consists of several cycles and periods (power, preparatory, competitive, recovery). An individual plan is built for each stage, taking into account the physical condition, weight, and anatomical features of the athlete. Therefore, in order to progress in powerlifting, you need to do it only under the guidance of an experienced trainer.

Squats in bodybuilding

In bodybuilding, the maximum weight of the barbell is not so important.

Much more important on the result is the time spent by the muscle under load, which leads to subsequent hypertrophy of the fibers.


Straighten the shoulder girdle, bend the lumbar region, keep your head straight. Keep this position of the back until the end of the approach:

  1. Grasp the bar with a comfortable grip and step under the bar. Then straighten and press the upper part of the scapular bones to the projectile.
  2. After removing the load from the racks, step back.

  3. Place your feet at shoulder height or slightly wider, spread your toes apart (under 45 °).
  4. Inhaling air, gently pull the pelvis back and at the same time bend the knee joints.
  5. Drop to the right angle between the lower leg and thigh, then exhale back to the vertical position.

Technique Tips:

  • Do not “tumble” forward with the case. Otherwise, you risk hurt your knees or fall.

  • Do not bring your hips in. Such a mistake can lead to damage to the ligaments of the knee joints.
  • Control both phases of the exercise. Smooth squat and the same smooth climb.
  • Hold the center of gravity in the middle.

    If you shift the body weight forward, to the socks, there is a risk of injury to the knee joints.

The reasons for the low performance of squats

Typically, these are:

  • Improper execution technique, shifting the payload from the bottom of the body to the back muscles.
  • Excessive leg tension in beginners arising from a combination of strength and aerobic types of training.
  • The weight of the bar is too low, which cannot create the necessary load for the muscles of the lower body.

Ways to increase the performance of squats


  • Follow the correct technique.

    Ask an experienced athlete to follow your squats and flag errors.

  • Add a "back room" to the program. For example, do power attacks, leg extension in the simulator, a farmer's walk.
  • Correctly select the weight of the rod. At the end of each set, you should feel the onset of failure.

  • Use sports nutrition. Creatine, protein, and vitamins will help build muscle and strength.
  • Use weightlifting accessories - belts and bandages. This will increase the weight of the bar in squats.
  • Perform 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps.

    This amount of training is considered optimal for leg enlargement.

  • Try different squats: frontal, in Smith's simulator, with narrow / wide legs, Gackenschmidt squats, etc.
  • Increase the load with each training. This will not allow the leg muscles to adapt and will contribute to their constant growth.
  • Reduce your weight and try doing squats "inside amplitude.

    " That is, do not lower the pelvis below the knees, and at the top point do not straighten your legs to the end. In this case, increase the number of repetitions to 25-30 in the approach.

An interesting fact. The six-time Mr. Olympia, Dorian Yates, said he was disappointed with squats as an exercise for gaining mass.

The famous athlete completely abandoned this basic exercise and replaced it with a leg press in the simulator.

He explained this by the fact that upon reaching certain weight loads in squats, the risk of injuring your knees or spine critically increases. Therefore, for athletes training with a weight of more than 200 kg, Yeats recommends switching to the bench press.

Note that the advice applies only to experienced bodybuilders. For beginners, squats remain the best exercise for developing lean body mass.

How to increase the load in the squat of a girl?

As a rule, women's training sets as their goal weight loss, overall muscle strengthening and rounding of the buttocks. In such exercises, you do not need to regularly increase the weight of weights to maximum values. Otherwise, the athlete runs the risk of increasing the hips in volume, which can lead to a deterioration in the proportions of the figure.

How to increase a squat with a barbell in powerlifting and bodybuilding

The main thing in "female" squats is to focus on stretching and contracting the gluteal muscles.And in order to improve the effect, girls are recommended to additionally do various exercises: plie-squats, cross lunges back, buttock bridges and others.

If an athlete purposefully prepares for bodybuilding or powerlifting competitions, then she needs to follow all the rules of squats and regularly increase the weight of the barbell. The difference with men's training is only in the loads. The remaining nuances are the same for both sexes.



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