Quick tip #2: 5 Things On The SQUAT I Wish I Knew 17 Years Ago

By: Brian Carroll

I’m going to throw out 5 Squat tips I would have greatly needed 17 years ago, while training at the local Powerhouse gym. As the saying goes; “it’s the little things.” Those little things make the biggest difference in anything and everything we do.

1. Start the squat with the hips, not the knees. It doesn’t matter what your style is (narrow, wide, moderate) most good squats start with a “hip hinge”. This is not just good for your back; it’s optimal for getting the most power and strength out of that squat and keeping you in your groove.

2. Do not watch yourself in a mirror while squatting. If you are still ‘trapped’ training in a health club, try your best to turn away from any mirrors. Watching yourself takes your focus away from the task at hand, which is ensuring perfect form. You shouldn’t have to watch yourself in the mirror to know you’re doing it right. If this is impossible to do (because of position of racks), one little tip that may help is hanging yoga mats on the mirror to prevent any mirror gazing while lifting.

3. Keep your elbows down and your lats locked in. I’ve seen this all over YouTube with so-called experts who have zero back tightness try to teach a squat. Locking in your back is one of the most important things you can do for power and safety. Remember, the lat runs approximately from your arm to your hip. Don’t underestimate its influence on a big squat. The tighter your back is, the stronger and SAFER you will squat.

4. Wear skateboard shoes, Chuck Taylors or a good flat sole shoe, NOT your running shoes. Have something that is firm and not going to have you swimming around as you’re trying to squat big weight. A running shoe is a very bad choice for stability while lifting. I suggest Adidas Pro-model high-top shoes for squats.

5. Do not squat heavy every week. There is a good chance your body will breakdown or your progress will reverse. Have a plan where you have timed deloads and breaks from the heavy squat sessions. This isn’t a race, it’s a project. As I suggest in 10/20/Life, every 3 weeks is a good start, and go from there.


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Brian Carroll

Brian is a world-class powerlifter with over two decades of elite and pro-level powerlifting under his belt. Coming back from a devastating back injury in 2012 that broke multiple bones and that most experts said he would never recover from, he has returned to the pinnacle of world-class lifting (while 100% pain and symptom-free) and is now dedicated to helping others avoid the same mistakes that he made in the past through private and group coaching in Jacksonville, FL. Brian’s impressive recovery has given him the opportunity to teach and deliver talks to physical therapists, chiropractors, medical doctors, professional strength & conditioning coaches and experts from all facets of sport, on how to avoid injury, while building anti-fragile strength and resilience in athletes.
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