I was talking to a client the other day and explaining the importance of developing a squat setup that enables you to replicate the same pre lift routine, unrack, walkout and reps every set, every session.

The reason why it matters is simple – consistency.

You want to make every squat rep and set is as efficient as possible. So making sure you lift with the same technique every time goes a long way to making fewer mistakes and moving more weight for more reps.

How to set up your squat

1. Place hands on bar, make sure they are symmetrical
2. Line yourself up with the centre of the bar
3. Get under the bar and position it securely on your back
4. Take a big breath, brace hard and drive up to unrack
5. Let the bar steady, then walk out from the rack
6. Let the bar steady again then take a big breath, brace hard and commence your reps
7. Upon finishing you reps, let the bar steady before you walk it back into the rack
8. Lower the bar into the rack and get out from under the bar

My custom squat setup

I’ve been squatting for a few years now and over that time have developed a rather unique squat setup that seems to work pretty well for me.

It’s important to understand this setup is unique to me and lifters shouldn’t try to emulate my setup, but rather develop their own by using the basics mentioned above.

Based on those tips above we can see that I have 26 points to my squat routine and set. Nearly all of which happen automatically and without second thought.

1. Apply chalk to my hands
2. Do up my lever belt
3. Do up my wrist wraps, left then right
4. Position myself behind the barbell
5. Place left hand on bar, then right hand
6. Roll bar back in rack and make it’s secure
7. Make sure grip is set and bar feels good in my hands
8. Align head and feet with the centre of the bar
9. Chest bump the bar a few times to make sure I’m centre
10. Get under the bar and position it lower on my back than is required
11. Wriggle bar up my back into position
12. Shake my head around a few times and make sure bar feels secure
13. Adjust feet as required so they’re under the bar
14. Big breath, brace into belt
15. Unrack, make sure steady and balanced
16. Take three steps back, left foot first
17. Lock knees and hips, make sure I’m steady and balanced
18. Big breath, brace hard
19. Initiate the rep by breaking at hips
20. Descend under control and with weight on heels
21. Hit depth
22. Drive up fast, chest high, elbows forward
23. Lockout rep and repeat
24. Finish set
25. Walk back into rack starting with left foot first
26. Hit rack, lower bar, drop right foot back and get out from under the bar

Above you can see me complete 5 sets of 2 reps with 240kg to demonstrate just how similar each of my squat sets look.

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Dave Napper

Dave Napper

Dave Napper is qualified Nutritionist (BHSc Nut Med) and a competitive, drug-free strongman and powerlifter who competes with Powerlifting Australia. His best competition lifts are 300kg squat, 167.5kg bench press and 331kg deadlift and in 2015 he represented Australia at the IPF world championships in Finland.

Dave owns & operates his own gym, Brisbane North Barbell, which specialises in powerlifting & strongman training and offers online programming & coaching.

View Dave's complete profile on his Bulk Nutrients Ambassador page.