There are times when the Squat can get complicated—almost too complicated. At times it can feel like we are really in a battle with ourselves before we even step under the bar. Should it really be that complicated? Absolutely not.
You can find hundreds (or more) of articles on fixing specific parts of the Squat, but sometimes they constitute the source for complicating the exercise. Fixing your overall approach to the lift might be more effective in the long run.
Luckily for you, I have tips from Brian Carroll on his "Big 5" cues for correcting the Squat. Why should you listen to Brian? Well, he has 35 powerlifting competition Squats of over 1,000 pounds, which makes him one of the best squatters of all time.
Watch Carroll perform his 1,185 World Record Squat here.
It's important to understand that not all five cues might be applicable to you personally. However, you should be able to walk toward the squat rack during your next training session with a better idea of how to improve your Squat.
Brian's "Big 5" Squat tips
1. Create tension in your setup
Head to toe stiffness when unracking the bar, bending the bar with your hands, firmly white knuckling the bar. What does white knuckling mean? Basically, you squeeze the bar as hard as you can until your knuckles turn white! Why? This generates tension.
2. Walk out with as few steps as possible
2-3 steps is optimal. Focus your eyes on where the wall meets the ceiling. If you look up, you'll go up. This will be helpful when you reach the bottom of your Squat.
3. Take a deep breath in and hip hinge to start the Squat while gripping the floor like a monkey
Moving from your hips keeps your spine/back strong, straight and stiff. This allows your back to do its job and not break form.
4. Maintain the lifter's wedge during the descent
The lifter's wedge means that your lats are pulled down, chest is up, head is up and knees are out (in line with your feet, not collapsing inward) with a nice forward body lean at the bottom of the Squat as shown in the video above.
5. Drive through your heels
To come up, drive heels through the floor while pulling your lats down and pushing your chest up. This prevents you from tilting forward.
Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock