Train the way you expect to compete

Squatting was always something I was just built to do well.  Add in hard work and study with good genes; you get some great results.   A good coach works with the lifter constantly.  No part is more important than the other.  It is always a partnership! Here are some tips that I have shared with lifters.  These are guidelines while working with a client in person I might make different adjustments as the lifter can have nuances that are very beneficial to the lifter already.

Warm ups:

These are a combination of active and direct warm ups.  Active can be cardio, rolling etc. Direct warm ups are done with the actual lift itself.  Never tire yourself out during warm ups and always use this as assessment time to see how you are feeling.  If things feel heavy maybe go lighter. Seems like common sense but too many times people are married to the idea of the set numbers.  Flexibility in programming is a precursor to long term success and longevity.

Warm Up Options

Set up:

Bar placement, bracing and the walkout are all part of the set up not excluding feet spacing as well.  Bar placement is the foundation to you success in the squat. So long as the bar is stable and works with your mechanics that is what matters whether low, middle or high bar placement.  Keep the humerus pulled in tight to keep the upper back engaged along with the rear delts. This will keep you from rounding as much when in trouble. Bracing is just learning to take in air in the stomach and lungs and holding to support the spine to a higher degree than the belt alone.  The idea is to push into your belt while sort of crunching down. Brace when lifting the bar off the rack and before you start your squat. Walkouts need no explanation beyond what we discussed but please practice them.

Squat Tips



Be aware of your surroundings particularly in a mainstream facility.  Never be afraid to approach people to give you space. Safety is paramount.

Foot placement:

This is partly comfort based but also based on the bar placement and the shoes you wear.  Be aware how these variables impact you as a lifter. A close stance in heels with a high bar is prone to balance issues for example.  Too wide can make depth challenging as too narrow can throw balance off. Remember regardless of the foot placement the power is from the midfoot to the heel.  Experiment and take the time to see what feels good based on our first rule: STABILITY.

Bar placement:

Already mentioned but learn and understand why you use the bar the way you do.  Understand which placement is best for your mechanics. This is always going to be something that is individual.  Be willing to experiment. Low bar is optimal for a powerlifter many times but can cause shoulder and bicep tendon pain over time for some.  High bar can work great if the person is very quad dominant and squats upright but getting out of that upright position can be devastating to a strong finish.


If not competing find a comfortable range of motion period.  If competing learn to lift every time like on the platform which includes depth on every rep.  Know what is good by feel not others telling you. The ping effect of the lifter hearing creates tentativeness and is very robotic.  The first sign of an unprepared lifter is bombing out of a meet for depth.

Opening Knees For Better Depth


Your feet, bar ride and depth are all factors of mobility.  Heels can  come     up because of high bar position pitching the lifter forward as can tight achilles      and hips.  When squatting your descent is based on bending at the hips first. Lifters than bend at the waist often get stuck being pitched forward and can even “lean into parallel” which is a crap shoot for white lights.

Mobility WOD for Ankles

Bar Path:

Sitting back is incorrect.  Drop. Drop it like its hot. Whatever helps you to understand. Raw lifters drop but we do stick our butts out. The bar should really travel in a straight line up and down.  Try some of the apps around to see the difference of a box squat and a regular squat. Perfect practice makes perfect so consider box squats as a secondary or assistance exercise at best.

Using elbow torque

Questions?  Feel free to email me.