The Best Three Exercises For a Powerful Squat

Best exercises to build an awesome squat.

If you’ve been following this page for a while you’ll know that my favorite lift is the barbell back squat. It’s more than a leg exercise. Your whole body has to be engaged in order to stay stable throughout the movement.

It’s probably the most empowering lift known to man. What’s more empowering than to overcome gravity and a force that’s trying to keep you down? I’ve tried different training approaches to help my squat and have enjoyed the results. Just like any lift, the squat has accessory exercises that can boost your performance tremendously. I’ll share my top three squat accessory exercises that have helped me boost my squat. Since there are different forms of squat, I’ll be specific by mentioning that this applies to the high bar back squat.

Farmers Walk

The Farmer walk is one of the best exercises you can do to improve your squat performance. It engages many muscles in your body including your obliques. The obliques are one of the most underrated muscles when it comes to squatting. Strong obliques will protect your lower back. In terms of core muscles, the farmer walk also teaches you have to brace. Bracing is one of the biggest keys to moving heavy weight. The farmer walk will also strengthen your nervous system due to the stress it imposes on your spine. That stress will cause your body to adapt so you’ll be better equipped to handle the farmer walk the next time you do it.

Bulgarian Split-Squat

The bulgarian split squat is probably the best leg accessory movement to the squat. It hits every muscle in the leg, including the smaller muscles. From my experience, the stronger my bulgarian split squat the stronger my back squat. I also notice that I feel my legs more with bulgarian split squats than with back squats. This might be because the legs are the only part of your body working in the split squat. With back squats, your core muscles are highly involved. If you want to maximize your leg strength, do Bulgarian split squats.

Good Morning

The Good Morning is one of the best squat accessory exercises in my opinion. I started doing them a few months ago and have noticed that it’s a lot easier to hit depth and get out of the whole in my squats. As someone who’s been squatting for a while, my squat has never felt more natural than it does now. I believe adding the good morning to my routine has been a major factor with that.

If you’re serious about boosting your squat, you need to have some or all of these movements in your routine. The best way to improve your squat is to squat but adding the right accessories will speed up the process. What are your favorite squat accessory exercises?

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Build Strong and Powerful legs at Home

Home workout to build your legs

Who needs weights when you have your own body weight? I’ve been telling this to myself every day since my gym closed. As much as I miss hitting the weights, I’m embracing the challenge of building a strong powerful body with my bodyweight. A lot of my training, specifically for legs have been outdoors.

Sometimes going to a park to train just isn’t feasible. What do I do when I don’t have gym access or the opportunity to train outdoors? I do an awesome home workout that pushes my body to get stronger like these recent chest workouts I’ve shared recently.This post will specifically talk about legs.

Awesome Leg Workout From Home

This is a home workout that I’ve been doing for weeks. I learned about some of the training concepts like the max effort wall squat and the grind squat from the training program, NeuroMass.

1.Jump Squats: Jump squats like other plyometric exercises increase leg power. I recommend doing these in your front or back yard to reduce the stress on your joints. I typically do three sets of five. You can make these more challenging by holding light dumbbells while jumping.

 2. Max Effort Wall Squat: This isn’t your typical wall squat. The difference with these is that you’re pushing your heels to the ground and back to the wall as hard as possible. I normally do three sets of 11 second wall squats. Rest 1.5 minutes in between each set.

3. Power Squat: This is the bodyweight version of CAT squats.  The way I do these is by tensing up my entire body, especially my core and leg muscles. Lower yourself in a controlled manner while maintaining tension and explode up as if you had to move 400 pounds on your back. 4 sets of 15 with 1.5 minutes of rest in between.

4. Grind Squat : These are similar to the power squats except you’ll be moving extremely slow throughout the entire range of movement. I usually only do six reps of these because they are tough! Do 2 sets of 6 with 1.5 minutes of rest in between. This should simulate the feeling of a max lift where you’re struggling to get the weight up. 

5. Power Squat : Back to the power squats. Do 3 sets of 15 with 1.5 minutes of rest in between.

 

At the end of this workout you should feel like you put your legs to work! This workout involves different training methods like plyometrics, isometrics, and high tension exercises. These all follow the training principle of using your fast twitch muscles, the muscle fibers responsible for muscle growth, strength, and power.

 

Photo by Ivan Samkov from Pexels

Squat Replacement

The barbell back squat is known as the king of leg exercises. It’s one of my favorite movements to do.The problem is not everyone can squat or wants to squat for a number of reasons including fear or injuries. I always recommend having  the back squat or front squat in your arsenal. One alternative to these movements is the single-leg Bulgarian split squat. This exercise has helped me tremendously over the years. It helped me recover from a knee injury because it strengthens the VMO muscle that stabilizes your patella tendon. This also means it’s a good exercise for injury prevention. Unlike the leg press and leg extension, the split squat engages many muscles. You’ll feel your glutes, hamstrings, and hip flexors when doing split squats. It also engages your core so you can balance on one leg.Split squats have also helped me improve my squats due to the leg work.

Unlike the front and back squats, split squats can give your legs a heavy workout without stressing the spine. I still love doing back squats and would like to do front squats eventually but split squats have their benefits as well. Split squats can be used as an accessory exercise or as the main lift if you want to go heavy. You’ll be surprised how much weight you can push with your one leg.

Split squats are also great for athletes since most sports movements involve using one leg at a time. The stronger you are, the greater your athletic potential. Pushing off with one leg mimics the motion of sprinting and jumping off one leg. The Bulgarian Split Squat will also train your balance, which is important in keeping your body injury free when playing a sport.The movement is very similar to a lunge. The main difference is that your back leg is resting on a bench with the front of your ankle touching the bench. Some people prefer to do it with the front of their toes touching the bench. With your one leg that’s touching the floor, move down like you would do for a lunge. Once your front leg makes a 90 degree angle, push back up. I recommend practicing with your body weight so you can get comfortable with the movement.

I’m a big supporter of more bang for your buck exercises and the Bulgarian split squats passes the test. It builds stability and balance in your legs to prevent injuries as well as recover from injuries. It builds leg strength and muscle that can help with big lifts like squats and deadlifts. Split squats also great for helping athletic performance. I promise you won’t regret adding split squats to your arsenal.

 

Photo by U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/U.S. Fifth Fleet on TrendHype / CC BY