Squat Improvement Techniques and Progression

By on January 16, 2018

Squats are the best leg exercise that you can do in the gym. It is a big compound movement that engages more than just the leg muscles and releases lots of testosterone helping other muscles grow.

Squats are all about technique, as leaning too far forward or knees tracking over the toes will make the exercise less effective. It will also put strain on your lower back and knees which, when you consider the weight, it definitely not ideal. Follow these quick tips and you will be squatting like a pro in no time at all!

Remember that you should ease your way into each exercise so you can minimise the risk of damage.


Squat Tips

  1. Keep your back straight – Throughout the exercise the bar should move parallel up as down if you notice the bar moving forwards or backwards then you may be leaning over with your back more.
  2. Knees behind the toes – Ensure that your knees don’t go over your toes as this will place more pressure on your knees and take the workload away from your leg muscles.
  3. Go deep – Before increasing the weight or reps remember to squat deep so that you engage all the leg muscles. We have all seen people do 1/2 reps and smash out a set of super heavy squats where as If they did the full range they wouldn’t be able to do half as much weight.
  4. Increase the weight slowly – Don’t be throwing an extra 10 kg a side on after an easy set like anything in the gym slowly increase the weights.


Progression Tips

  1. Mix up the squats – Like any exercise in the gym, your body will become used to the same workout over and over again. Mixing things up in your routine is a great way to keep things fresh as well as stopping your body adapt to the movement.
  2. Try mixing in overhead squats (holding the bar straight above your head and focusing on keeping your core tight) split leg squats ( place one leg on a bench behind then lower the front leg down do 10 then swap sides) Hack squat (with the bar behind your heels squat down and grab the bar then stand up brining the bar up your calf and back down.)
  3. Add lunges – When doing legs why not add a super set do 10 squats then 10 lunges each leg or for a real calorie blaster do 1 squat followed by 1 lunge on each leg then repeat this will get your heart racing as well as burn those leg muscles.
  4. Good Mornings – The heavier you squat the more strain your lower back will feel. With this in mind, doing a couple sets of good mornings before can help warm up and strengthen the back. All you need to do is grab a light barbell on your shoulders, bend your knees slightly, flex forwards from your hips as far as comfortable then back up to the start. This will help build your lower back.
  5. Inner and Outer thigh – These muscles rarely get worked but will need to be strengthened as the rest of your legs do. The easiest way is to do 3 sets on each or even super set them and do 10 reps on each as most gyms have these machines next to each other.


Remember your legs are like any other muscle group so give them plenty of rest between sessions and aim to train them a minimum once a week.

Head over to GoNutrition to ask the experts for advice!

Joseph Marshall

About Joseph Marshall

I love my fitness and eating well. I'm aiming to get into the best shape of my life this year and compete as a fitness model. I'm very opinionated, hate fads and so called fitness experts who have no idea what they are doing but due to there celebrity status people believe the hype.