by Nick Hickey
Squatting is one of the most important exercises you can do. In my opinion, it should be included in the programs of all people with the necessary basic motor skills and mobility to properly execute the lift. Below, I will quickly discuss 5 exercises that might help you add some weight to the bar.
1. Pause Squats
I think pause squats are a fantastic movement to include in a squat program. All time great powerlifters Ed Coan and Dan Green both advocate the use of pause squats to aid your competition squat. Using a weight you can handle with proper form but is challenging, say, 60-70% of your 1 rep maximum, simply squat down as normal. But, when you reach the hole, pause at the bottom for 1-2 seconds. When you are paused in the hole, make sure you concentrate on keeping your lats tight and engaged and your chest high. Once you are finished pausing, drive up explosively by leading with your chest and finish the lift. Do anywhere from 2-5 sets of 2-4 reps.
2. Lat Pulldowns
This may seem like an odd choice, but think about the position you are in at the bottom of a rep of lat pulldowns. Your elbows are pinched back and down, your chest is up and your shoulders are retracted. This is the ideal position for staying tight in the squat. Including these in your program will reinforce that tight upper back needed for a solid squat.
3. Dead Stop Leg Presses
Leg pressing is a basic movement done by gym-goers everywhere. The small twist of pausing at the bottom was shown to me by my strength coach at the time, Josh Bryant. For me, pausing at the bottom and removing all momentum increases explosiveness. It also really gets the glutes and hamstrings involved in the pressing. I use these in my program pretty frequently and I attribute some mass and starting strength gains to them.
4. Stiff Leg or Romanian Deadlifts
These are a great lift to add strength and mass in the lower back and hamstrings, two important muscles when squatting. When executing these, you can stand either on the ground, or on plates or a block to elevate. Concentrate on maintaining a lower back that is ideally arched, or at least neutral. This mimics a solid position for the lower back in the bottom of the squat.
5. Front Squats
Front squatting is a challenging exercise to execute, but it will really help add muscle to your quads and strengthen your core and mid-back through stabilization of the torso. Of course, quads are a very important mover in the squat. Adding them in for multiple sets of 4-6 reps after squatting or deadlifting could help increase quad mass as well as improve mid-back strength.
Give these five movements a try, and they may help you develop into a better squatter. Typical exercises such as leg extensions and curls are decent tools for adding some muscle mass, but don't give you as much bang-for-your-buck as the compound movements above. By choosing exercises with intent, you can save yourself time and progress towards your goals faster.
Good luck with your training and Train Hard!.
buy House of Musclesupplements
- Supplement Categories
- All House Of Muscle Products
- Hardcore Muscle
- Natural Muscle
- Cycle & Liver Support
- Men Over 40
- Safe For Women
- Fat Burners
- Official House Of Muscle Gear
- Special Prices
reach yourtrue potentialArticles: Learn & GrowVideos: Get MotivatedTrain Hard With Joel