9 Little-Known Tips to Improve Your Squat: Part 3

by Jordan Syatt February 21, 2014

In the past few days, Part I and Part II of this series have quickly become two of the most popular articles on the site.

In this, the final article of the series, I outline 3 more little-known tips to improve your squat.

Ready to bust through your plateaus and squat more than everyone in your gym?

Let’s begin.

7. Quads Are Equally (if not more) Important as the Hamstrings

“The hamstrings are the most important muscles for a big squat!”

“We’re too anterior chain dominant; strengthen the hamstrings!”

You don’t need quads to squat; glutes and hamstrings do it all!

We’ve all heard dogma of the sort.

The quads are vilified as the evil, good-for-nothing muscle group that’s only useful for promoting anterior chain dominance and poor movement quality.

The hamstrings, however, are touted as the king muscle group – high priest of the lower body – and most neglected complex throughout all populations.

Talk about overarching generalizations.

The hamstrings are extremely important; there’s no denying it. A bi-articulate complex (crossing both the hip and knee joints), strong hamstrings prevent injury, improve posture, and increase performance.

Sounds pretty damn good to me. So what’s the dip?

Strong quads are important, too!

Too often we’re told that quads are useless and overemphasized in daily living. Consequently we’re often advised to quit training the quads and solely focus on building the posterior chain (glutes & hamstrings).

Big mistake.

Considering research has shown back squats can produce 2.7 times MORE quadriceps than hamstring activity, it goes without saying the quads play a major role in squat performance.

Plain and simple, if you want to squat big weights, don’t neglect your quads.

You don’t need to use isolation exercises like leg extensions. Rather, knee-dominant movements such as variations of lunges, step-ups, split squats, and prowler pushes are all fantastic drills that will help build a pair of truly spectacular quads.

8. Thoracic Mobility Keeps Your Shoulders Healthy & Pain-Free

The thoracic (t-spine) region refers to the upper portion of the back.

Seemingly unrelated to the shoulder, thoracic mobility drastically influences shoulder health and function.

In essence, a lack of thoracic mobility leads to a subsequent decrease in shoulder mobility which often leads to shoulder pain and injury.

What the hell does this have to do with squat performance?

To squat effectively you need to get your hands behind the bar and squeeze your upper back to generate total body tension.

This requires a great deal of shoulder external rotation
This requires a great deal of shoulder external rotation

Whether you realize it or not, this requires a great deal of shoulder mobility. Without sufficient shoulder external rotation (as pictured above) you’ll be incapable of getting your hands behind the bar to maintain ideal position for a safe, effective, and pain-free squat.

So what’s a squatter to do?

Achieve and maintain adequate t-spine mobility.

Doing so will lead to overall improvements in shoulder health and function, subsequently leading to enhanced long-term squat performance.

How do you improve t-spine mobility?

Below I’ve provided instructional video’s detailing two of my favorite drills

Yoga Push-Up

Bench T-Spine Extension

9. Use Your Feet to Grip the Floor

Common powerlifting dogma advocates sitting as far back onto the heels as possible throughout the entire squat.

I disagree.

In forcing all of your bodyweight onto the heels you tend to decrease foot-to-floor contact which negatively impacts balance.

Furthermore, solely driving through the heels makes it impossible to fully utilize the intrinsic muscles of the foot which stabilize the feet and provide the entire base of support for your squat.

Clearly not ideal.

In the short 2-minute video below I outline my preferred strategy for foot-to-floor contact during the squat.

As outlined in the video, I prefer to center my weight and grip the floor between the natural tri-pod of the foot. Doing so provides a more stable base of support which facilitates a safer and stronger squat.

Did you like that video?

If you did, I highly encourage to take a look at my Elite Performance Squat Seminar.

Elite Performance Squat Seminar

In this 2-hour seminar I use the same video techniques to cover every single component related to squat performance. Bar-none the most comprehensive resource ever created on the squat, this seminar goes into detail discussing:

✔How to assess and correct YOUR movement patterns
✔The best squat technique for YOUR individual needs
✔The most effective squat progressions and variations
✔How to program the squat to get the best results

Want to download your copy? Click the link below for instant access!

I Want The Elite Performance Squat Seminar!

I hope you enjoyed this article and, as always, if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions leave them below.

Never Minimal. Never Maximal. Always Optimal.


Sign Up for Your FREE Syatt Fitness Newsletter!

We respect your email privacy

Powered by AWeber Autoresponder

Want to Learn How to Lose Fat and Build Muscle?

Then take this free gift. Seriously, take it. HURRY.

    THE SF INNER CIRCLE Members-Only Content

    From Jordan Syatt, Every Month




    Recent Posts

    How To Do A Proper Deadlift

    Have you ever thought that maybe you think deadlifting is bad for you because maybe you don’t know how to…

    Read This

    Deadlifts vs. Squats

    I think it’s time we all get on the same page regarding deadlifts vs. squats. There are so many contradicting…

    Read This

    How To Lose Weight Without Counting Calories

    “Jordan... PLEASE tell me how to lose weight without counting calories!” I hear this question all the time and yes…

    Read This

    How To Stop Binge Eating

    You want to know how to stop binge eating? Ah, right. That’s probably why you clicked on this blog post.…

    Read This

    How to Do Your First One Arm Pushup (Or 10 in a Row)

    Read This

    7 Intense Travel WODS: 15min or Less and Minimal Equipment

    Travel WODSToday I'll show you how to burn fat & build muscle while travelling without a gym. At the end…

    Read This

    101 “Silver Strength Bullets” to Build Strength & Burn Fat Fast

    "Silver Strength Bullets" are my weekly shortlist of quick, actionable bullets to get you stronger, leaner, and performing at a higher…

    Read This

    New Deadlift Drill for Advanced Lifters: Cable Lumbar Extensions

    Before the internet shits itself because I'm rounding my back, this drill is not for beginner lifters or general fitness…

    Read This

    Rapid Fat Loss: It Actually Works Pretty Damn Well

    They get a bad reputation -- especially among some of the fitness goo roos -- but rapid fat loss protocols actually…

    Read This

    The MOST Common Deadlift Mistake Women Make (And How to Fix It)

    I chose this as the feature picture -- not because she has good technique -- but because she's making the same deadlift…

    Read This