I have one of the biggest squats in Powerlifting Australia, hitting 305kg at my last competition. This is a massive contrast to when I was half squatting 30kg on the Smith Machine way back in 2002.

There are many ways to build a big squat but here are a few of my top tips.

My Top Tips For Squatting Big

1. Squat

There is no replacement for the squat so make sure to spend less time on the leg press, leg extension, hammy curl, hack squat etc and spend more time under a barbell squatting.

2. Squat often

I used to squat once per week when I was following the MAX-OT program and then when I was doing Wendler’s 5/3/1. I got my squat up to around 220kg squatting once per week but increasing the frequency to 3-5 squat sessions per week saw me take my squat from 230kg to 300kg in under 1.5 years.

3. Squat deep

As far as I’m concerned, the shorter your range of motion when squatting, the less results you’ll achieve. In the picture, the hip crease (X) is located a few inches below parallel which is demonstrated by the horizontal red line. This is where I believe people should generally squat down to in training.

Ensure you squat deep.

4. Experiment with squat variations

My favourite squat variations would be paused squats and front squats. If your gym has specialty barbells then safety squat bar squats are also a great option while Bulgarian split squats are good for extra volume or addressing imbalances.

5. Consider Olympic weightlifting shoes

Oly shoes / squat shoes / weightlifting shoes all have a non-compressible raised heel that increases dorsiflexion (ankle flexibility) as well as keeping the torso more upright, placing more load on the quads and less on the hips and posterior chain. While there are many lifters that squat in flat shoes, I prefer Oly shoes and my squats have never felt better since I purchased my first pair in 2014.

6. Get a coach

If you’re at all unsure of your squat technique, then check with an appropriately qualified and experienced coach. Don’t avoid squats for fear of injury or because you think you might be doing them wrong. Seek out a professional, get some advice and get confident when squatting.

7. Recover well

This is easier said than done, but ensure adequate nutritional intake as well as sufficient sleep and minimise stress as best you can. I’ve been a long time user of Bulk Nutrients WPI, Micellar Casein, Creatine Monohydrate and Fine Powdered Oats.

Dave performing his PB 305kg squat.

Try Out This Basic Squat Training Template

Here’s a very basic squat training template with three squat sessions per week and a PB testing session at the end of 12 weeks.

My suggestion would be to train other compound exercises (eg. dead-lift, bench press, overhead) on Tuesday or Thursday and fit in isolation exercises as required after squatting or on Tuesday or Thursday.

 

Weeks 1-4 Weeks 5-8 Weeks 9-10 Week 11 Week 12
Monday Squat

5×10

Squat

5×5

Squat

5×3

Squat

3×1

Test squat PB
Wednesday Paused squat

5×5

Paused squat

5×5

Paused squat

5×3

Paused squat

3×1

Friday Front squat

5×10

Front squat

5×5

Front squat

5×3

Rest
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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.

1 Comment

  1. October 17, 2017 at 2:35 am

    I totally agree that squat ATG can help target more muscle fibers, therefore, better results. Also, it’s important to squat in weightlifting shoes because they provide us a stable base. Actually, for me, I prefer front squat: http://aestheticguys.com/how-to-front-squat/