Your legs are your foundations and hard heavy leg especially through squats will transform your physique making your body stronger than you ever imagined.
However, hard heavy leg training is brutal and that’s why the majority of the masses run for the hills and don’t achieve Ultimate Body Success. Leg training is simple in many ways but at the same time has many subtle technical and psychological nuances that make it very challenging and often very frustrating when people get stuck but can’t quite figure out why or how to get past their plateau.
Squats are the king of all exercises and failing to pay close attention to the technical aspects of this core exercise will mean that you will crash and burn with what I call the 80-90kg squat phenomenon. Very few guys squat, but still fewer squat well. If you don’t perfect your technique, eventually around the 80-90kg mark, your progress will come to a grinding halt. You won’t be able to get proper depth, the movement will feel awkward and at worst you may even injure yourself.
I have seen it countless times,guys that weigh 80-90kg or more getting stuck at around the 80-90kg mark who end up 3/4 squatting that weight for years on end. Don’t let this happen to you – technique is everything, otherwise you’re just wasting your time and energy needlessly. It is absolutely imperative to practice until the bar sits well, you feel your groove and you can hit your depth consistently, staying tight and strong throughout the whole movement.
Like the deadlift, the squat is a hard and heavy simple movement yet has many subtle nuances that you will discover as you progress in your training journey.
As with any progressive overload, over time you will come up against sticking points or even from the start you may find that you may not be able to hit proper depth with any appreciable amount of weight.
The most common technique flaw is not going to at least parallel. Even if you are never going to enter a powerlifting competition, going to parallel is so crucial for long term squatting power, effective leg training and balanced development of the quads, glutes and hamstrings that you always have to be fastidious about your depth.
Whenever you increase the weights, make sure that you still keep your depth. If you lose some depth, get it back before you increase the weight again. Simple. On the subject of proper squat depth as well, once you get beyond the basics, it should be a never ending constant refinement to improve your feel or awareness of where your proper depth is so you can work on hitting it precisely EVERY time and not spend any more time ‘in the hole’ than necessary before powering the weight back up. There is a saying that I think relates beautifully to the squat: “amateurs practice until they get it right, professionals practice until they never get it wrong.”
Author: Ben Kong