Its been a while since I’ve dropped some knowledge on here but I’m happy to be back! In this article I wanted to discuss 5 simple squat cues that when applied correctly can add a quick 10, 20, 30, heck maybe even 50 lbs to your squat in next to no time.
Tip 1: Set Up with the Hips Back
Its not about where you start its where you finish right? Well not exactly. In the case of the squat, your start position can dictate the rest of the movement for better or for worse. Since the first movement in the squat should be breaking at the hips first, it only makes sense to start with your hips in position to make this happen from the start. This is not only the most efficient way to get from Point A to Point B, but will also cue you to keep the weight on your posterior chain which will be doing the bulk of the work in the squat.
Tip 2: Push Your Belly Into Your Belt
Bracing properly is essential to keeping your body safe under a heavy load. This is accomplished by taking a large breath in through your mouth to get air into the stomach, squeezing your abs like you’re going to get punched in the gut and then pushing out as if to give the impression that you’re bloated or pregnant, whichever visual works best for you use that one! Practice this one at home, if you are doing it properly your stomach should distend when you inhale rather than your chest rising. When this cue is used correctly it can not only keep you safe but also make a relatively heavy weight feel very light on your back
Tip 3: Open Your Hips
On the descent, the first thing that should happen is sitting back and breaking at the hips first. The second thing is externally rotating the hips. This can be accomplished by “corkscrewing” your feet into the ground and pushing the knees out. Two huge keys are accomplished by using this cue:
- Youll be able to hit depth much easier since your pelvic girdle will have more room with the hips externally rotated.
- This will effectively engage the glutes and hamstrings and bear the load, giving you control on the way down and explosion on the way back up.
Tip 4: Spread the Floor-3 Points of Contact
This is very similar to a sumo deadlift in that you’re maintaining 3 points of contact on your feet (big toe, pinky toe, and heel, and pushing outwards with your feet to in a sense “move the floor away from you”. By doing this, you’re cueing external rotation of the hips and recruiting the glutes and hamstrings. This is crucial to maintaining tension throughout the movement!
Tip 5: Break The Bar Apart
This cue is extremely helpful to engage the upper back/lats in the squat which is crucial to keeping the bar in place and maintaining proper torso position. To do this, envision snapping the bar over your upper back much the same way as you would a broomstick or a twig.
Learning to squat is one thing, but learning to squat efficiently is what will take you to the next level whether that means moving your 600lb squat up to 700lb or your 135lb squat to 225lb. Implement these tools and watch your numbers jump!