There are tons of different cues and things to think about when it comes to barbell back squats! Some cues resonate better with certain individuals than others, so it is important to find what works best for you. Here are 3 things that have helped me improve my barbell back squat:
Minimize your walkout
Do you tend to fidget around with your feet while taking the bar out of the rack before you squat?? You may not realize it, but all of these steps add up!! This is prolonging the period of time that your body must work to stabilize the weight on your back, and ultimately utilizing unnecessary energy that could be used much more efficiently!
Try this: Brace your core before you get the bar out of the rack, take your time stepping back with each foot, then use one additional step to adjust the width of your stance! If needed, you can also use a small adjustment after this to alter your toe angle! Moral of the story: find a way to minimize the amount of time you are walking the bar out on your back.
2. Engage your back muscles!!
One of my biggest breakthroughs when I was first starting to squat was when I learned how to properly engage and keep a tight upper back throughout the entire lift! The way I have been able to cue this mentally is to think “bend the bar”. So, when I grip my hands on the barbell, I externally rotate my hands and act
like I am attempting to bend the bar in half over my back! This engages my lats and allows me to maintain upper back tightness throughout the lift...give it a try
3. Breathe through your nose...then your mouth!
Bracing your core is important for any compound lift...but I find it especially important during the squat. In simple terms, you want to get as much air into your stomach and almost pretend you are blowing a balloon around your entire core and lower back. One trick I have learned to make this easier is to breathe through your nose first, then breathe through your mouth, brace and squat! Try it out and you will see how much more air you can get compared to when you simply breathe through your mouth.
If you are interested in online coaching and guidance towards finding a sustainable routine to help you maintain your lifestyle and meet your health and fitness goals, check out www.balancewithshaheen.com