Breaking Down The Squat


The squat is simple; just stand up with it! HA, if only it was that easy. Well, for a lot of people it really is going down and then coming back up. More times than not though, those people do not see the same progression that they would like to in their squat. Squatting, like every other lift, requires strength skill: the ability to efficiently execute a 1-rep max. In doing so numerous factors must align. Mobility may be the biggest take away from this article. If our body is not mobile enough to do the lift properly then how do we expect to squat the most weight possible?


Let’s go over a few cues that I give myself before climbing under a heavy squat.

  1. Nothing else matters at that very moment. My only concern is the lift in front of me.
  2. Getting tight as I set up under the bar.
  3. Squeezing my shoulder blades together as tight as I can and digging the bar into my back to find that “sweet shelf” for the bar to rest on.
  4. Taking a deep breath through my nose and HOLDING THE AIR IN.
  5. Bracing; getting the core tight.
  6. Externally rotating, activating my glutes and standing up with the bar.
  7. Letting the bar settle, allowing my body to absorb the weight.
  8. Taking the necessary steps back into proper position.
  9. Stop, let the bar resettle.
  10. Let half of my air out then immediately suck the air back in.
  11. Begin the descent, breaking first at the hips and then instantly after at the knees.
  12. Externally rotating as I descend.
  13. Holding in my air as I descend.
  14. Once I hit my mark instantly driving my chest up, externally rotating out of the hole.
  15. Once you come to the top of the lift, hold firm.
  16. Walk the weight back to the rack and let your air out.


Note that every squat should be done exactly the same. We compete how we practice so practice how you plan to compete. Every rep, every set, should be taken with the thought of hitting a new PR!





Zach Homol

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