Team Grenade® athlete and elite endurance athlete, James St Leger, brings you some vital squat knowledge bombs. Improve your form and increase your strength by trying out these variations.

 

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Back Squat
  • Feet typically just outside shoulder width
  • Retract and elevate your scapular so the bar can rest on your upper traps
  • Maintain tension and torque throughout the lift as you lower under control to your absolute depth with good form – head and chest up (not collapsing forward) and knees tracking over the feet, then drive upwards to full extension
  • Resist the knees buckling inwards by keeping the glutes engaged
  • Ankle and calf mobility will also effect depth and form
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Front Squat
  • Feet typically just outside shoulder width
  • Elevate and protract your shoulders so the bar can rest on your front deltoids
  • With a Clean Grip, maintain tension and torque throughout the lift as you lower under control to your absolute depth with good form – head and chest up (not collapsing forward – keep the elbows driven up) and knees tracking over the feet, then drive upwards to full extension
  • Resist the knees buckling inwards by keeping the glutes engaged
  • If a Clean grip is unachievable, then use a crossover grip – but address mobility issues in your wrists, shoulders, scapular and lats
  • Ankle and calf mobility will also effect depth and form, more so than back squat. So try to focus on improving
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Low-Bar Back Squat
  • Typically used by powerlifters, where you only need to squat to parallel, the lowbar typically allows more weight to be lifted due to the shorter lever length
  • Feet typically just outside shoulder width
  • Retract and elevate your scapular so the bar can rest on your lower traps
  • Maintain tension and torque throughout the lift as you lower under control, pushing your hips right back and lowering until your thighs hit parallel
  • Keep knees tracking over the feet, then drive upwards to full extension, trying to keep your chest high
  • Resist the knees buckling inwards by keeping the glutes engaged
  • Shins are likely to be more vertical so ankle and calf flexibility will be less of an issue
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Overhead Squat
  • Feet typically wider than a normal squat set up
  • With the bar on your back, hands wide, push jerk (as opposed to push press or press) the bar an overhead position
  • Keep pressing here – don’t give up tension in the shoulders
  • Maintain tension and torque throughout the lift as you lower under control to your absolute depth with good form – head and chest up, and knees tracking over the feet, then drive upwards to full extension
  • Resist the knees buckling inwards by keeping the glutes engaged
  • Mobility is a huge one here, followed by core strength and scapular stabilisers
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Zercher Squat
  • Tougher on your upper back and midsection than a normal squat due to the bar placement pulling you forward
  • Feet typically just outside shoulder width
  • Retract and depress your shoulders, bend your arms to 90° angle and rest the bar in the crook of your elbows
  • Maintain tension and torque throughout the lift as you lower under control to your absolute depth with good form – head and chest up (not collapsing forward) and knees tracking over the feet, then drive upwards to full extension
  • Resist the knees buckling inwards by keeping the glutes engaged
  • Ankle and calf mobility will also effect depth and form, so address any issues you may have
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Sumo Squats
  • Feet positioned much wider than a normal stance
  • Retract and elevate your scapular so the bar can rest on your upper traps
  • Maintain tension and torque throughout the lift as you lower under control to around parallel – head and chest up (not collapsing forward) and knees not collapsing inwards., then drive upwards to full extension, this will hit your glutes and hamstrings more