5 Insane Ways to Squat More Weight


Everyone wants a big squat, but no one wants to lift no heavy-ass weights!  So you want to squat more weight?  Stop being a pansy and do it.  Michael Jordan didn't get to be the best basketball player just because he wanted to be the best - he actually had to put in the work and practice reps to achieve that goal.  The same principles are true with squatting and lifting in general.  If you want to get better you have to work at it - and that means dropping your ego, thinking outside the box and getting your hands dirty.

If you want to squat more wiehgt...let's do this!

Squat More Often

Squatting is just like any other sport or lift - it takes a lot of practice and a lot of time to master the movement.  Remember the first time you bench pressed?  Or how about the first time you laid down on the bench after taking several weeks off?  The bar felt heavy, wobbly and things just didn't feel right.  This is because any movement, even squatting, is a skill.  It is a movement pattern your body needs to adjust to, build some muscle memory, and above all, you need to be comfortable and confident when you're under the bar.

In order to get in the practice and reps to make squatting second nature, you need to practice and squat more often.  Most people have "leg day".  This is old school of thought and doesn't fly with us.  If you want to get better at squats and squat more weight, you need to squat more - we're talking a minimum of three times per week and if you're just a little more than half crazy, you can Squat Every Day.

Do Pause Squats

Quite a few people I talk to say they could squat more but just can't get "out of the hole".  This means they're getting stuck in the bottom of the squat and fail the lift.  When you have a weakness, you need to attack it head-on - you need to get comfortable being uncomfortable.  If you suck at military press, you're not going to get better unless you start doing more military presses.  If you get stuck in the bottom of a squat, get comfortable down there by doing pause squats.

Two ways to do pause squats:

  1. Slowly descend right to parallel and stop.  Give a solid 2-5 count and then stand up.  No bouncing in the bottom - keep everything tight.  Repeat for 2-5 reps.
  2. Slowly descend to below parallel and stop.  Give a solid 2-5 count and then stand up.  No bouncing in the bottom - keep everything tight.  Repeat for 2-5 reps.

Squat Deeper

If you want to squat more weight you need to squat deep - at least once per week.  Several studies have shown that squatting deep and slightly below parallel activates more muscle fibers and will build stronger legs.  Squatting deep is intimidating and you may have to lighten the load, but it is worth it in the end.  You need to throw your ego out the window and just squat.

The best way to ensure you're squatting to depth is to simply whip out your phone and record a set or two.  

Heavy Stand Ups

Squat stand-ups are one of the simplest, yet most effective things you can do to gain confidence in your squat and add more weight on the bar.

Squat stand-ups are very simple to perform, you simply put the bar on your back, lift it off the hooks and just stand there.  Don't back-up, don't move - simply hold the bar on your back and keep your body tight and hold it for a full 8-10 seconds.

Rack the bar and add 10%-15% to the bar.  Approach the bar as if you're going to attempt to hit a new PR, but again, don't do anything but lift it off the rack and stand there.

From here add another 5-10%, if you're strong enough to handle it.

Try working to 15 to 20% above your current 1RM squat.

Benefits of Heavy Stand Ups

  • Your normal squat max will feel much lighter
  • Standing with a heavy load on your back will make your upper back, traps, and core work overtime. Just holding heavy weight in position like this will cause your body to adapt and work hard with a very low chance of injury.
  • Your nervous system will get a and tell itself, holy ***, I need to adapt to be able to hold these loads.

Do Partial Rep Squats / Top Range Of Motion Squats

Once you get used to having heavy weight on your back from the heavy stand-ups, the next step is to be able to squat that ***.  We can move towards that by doing top-range of motion heavy squats.  

Working only in a partial range of motion allows you to lift more weight than your normal ass to grass squat - which will make us adapt to heavy loads quicker and help our squat go up.

Safety First
Set your safety bars so that they're about one-third the distance of your normal squat. Lower them enough so it's not just a knee bend - we want to actually do some sort of squat.

Perform 2-5 partial top range of motion squats.