Decided you need to squat heavy to get strong? EXCELLENT. You are one of a growing number of women who have realized that heavy squats can transform your body (and mind!). Check out the video above to see how size doesn’t matter when it comes to heavy squats.
Now follow these tips to make your life easier and get the most out of those lifts.
1. Don’t Use the Smith Machine. Maybe it’s just the YMCA I’ve been working out at lately, but literally every single time I have seen a woman squat heavy besides myself, she’s been on the smith machine. It’s astounding. I mean, I get it–it feels safer. But in reality, it’s not. I mean, sure you aren’t going to drop the weight. But you won’t drop it far in the power rack either. The smith machine forces you along an unnatural path. It also keeps you from using all those little stabilizing muscles when you have to steady a free barbell.
2. Film Your Squat. Bad form will cause your squat to stall early and could end up hurting your back. And no matter how many form videos you watch, you’ll never know how your form really is until you watch yourself. So film yourself so you can critique. Don’t be bashful in the gym. Let someone hold your phone and get different angles. I promise it will help your form.
3. Keep Your Core Tight. Keeping your core tight will not only give you more power in the squat, but it will also keep your back safer. However, if you fail to keep things tight, you’ll be loosey goosey and run a high risk of hurting yourself.
4. Grip the Bare Like You’re Going to Tear It Apart. No soft hands allowed. Grip that thing like you’re holding on for dear life. Pull down like you’re trying to break the bar over your traps. And remember, as soon as you unrack the bar, DO NOT LET GO.
5. Hold Your Breath Throughout the Squat. Holding your breath is going to help you stay tight. If you make the mistake of exhaling at the bottom, you can count on heavy weight making you collapse. Hope you have those pins in.
6. Go Parallel…or Past. Remember, those glutes aren’t fully activated until you hit parallel. Until then, it’s all quads. Keep in mind, you may have to lift lighter than you think to get full range of motion.
7. Push Through Your Heels. It’s easy to move to the balls of your foot at the bottom of a heavy squat. Don’t let it happen, as it will throw you all out of whack. Concentrate on going down, sticking your butt out, and pushing up with your heels. Getting some flat barefoot shoes will help with this, as regular running shoes have padded heels and force you to push forward.
Know any other good squat tips? Share in the replies!