Muscle for life

7 Powerful Ways to Increase Your Squat

7 Powerful Ways to Increase Your Squat

The Squat is a vital exercise for building lower-body muscle and strength and core stability, but it’s also one of the trickier lifts to consistently progress on. This article will help.


The Squat is one of the toughest and most rewarding exercises you can do. If performed regularly and correctly, it can rapidly transform your legs and butt and build substantial core and lower back strength.

While many (most?) people neglect the Squat, a minority know its importance and hit it hard every week. And, based on the many emails and messages I get, many of those people eventually hit plateaus and aren’t sure how to break through them despite sound training programming and nutrition.

Well, in this article I want to share with you 7 effective ways to increase your squat. By utilizing one or more of these methods, you should be able to consistently add reps every week or two, which can then turn into adding weight.

Tip #1 to Increase Your Squat:
Check Your Form

Like the Deadlift and Bench Press, improper form will not only kill your progress on the Squat, but will open you up to injury. On the other hand, perfecting your form will enable you to make steady progress with minimal setbacks.

Let’s take an in-depth look at proper form, as there’s quite a bit that goes into a proper Squat.

The Setup

There are two ways to set up for the squat:

  • The high-bar position
  • The low-bar position

high-bar position has the bar resting directly on the upper traps, like this:


A low-bar position has the bar resting between the upper part of the traps and the rear deltoids, like this:


In the high-bar position, your torso will remain more upright during the squat than the low-bar position. Here’s a good illustration of this:


Both forms are correct but many people will find themselves stronger in the low-bar position because it’s more hip dominant (whereas the high-bar position is more knee dominant). That said, some people find the low-bar position very uncomfortable and naturally prefer the high-bar variant. Many people, myself included, find a happy medium.

The takeaway here is you should experiment with bar position to find what works best for you. It’s also smart to alternate between bar positions now and then, as improving your Squat in one will tend to help your performance in the other.

Once you have the bar position worked out, you’re ready to unrack the weight. Make sure your feet are directly under the bar so you can squat it off the pins, and make sure your chest is out and your shoulder blades pinched together.

After you unrack the bar, take a couple steps backward, place your feet between hip- and shoulder-width apart, and turn your feet about 15 to 20 degrees out. Keep your head in a neutral position, your elbows down and chest up, and take a deep breath.

You’re now ready to descend.

The Descent

Begin the descent by simultaneously pushing your hips back and breaking your knees (don’t consciously do one or the other first). You should feel some backward motion in your hips and the sensation that you’re sitting back onto your heels.

Keep your knees in line with and behind your toes (don’t let them collapse in or extend past your toes), and continue to sit down in between your hips. Your torso will naturally lean forward as you descend, but don’t exaggerate this–try not to exceed a 45-degree lean.

Sit down until your thighs are parallel or just below parallel to the ground, which you can see in this image shown earlier:


Once you reach this bottom position, you’re ready to ascend.

The Ascension

The key to starting a good ascent is driving through your heels and the middle of your feet, and ensuring that your shoulders move upward at the same rate as your hips.

As you continue to ascend, drive the hips forward by squeezing the glutes until you’re at the top of the rep.

Here’s a good video that summarizes all these points:

Tip #2 to Increase Your Squat:
Squat Heavy

The subject of “ideal” rep ranges is complex, so I won’t dive into it in this article. (I do talk a bit about it on my article on hypertrophy, though.)

Instead, I’ll keep this short and sweet:

If you’re new to weightlifting (you’ve been lifting for less than a year), you should be doing all squatting in the 4 to 6 rep range (guys) or 8 to 10 rep range (girls).

That means you use a weight that you can do at least 4 by not more than 6 reps with, and once you hit 6 reps, you add weight for the next set. If you want to see how this fits into an actual workout, check out my article on the ultimate legs workout.

If you’re an experienced weightlifter, you can benefit from working in different rep ranges, or periodizing your training. I will be discussing periodization in more detail in my next book, Beyond Bigger Leaner Stronger (which will be out in a month or two), and will be sharing a full periodized program for advanced lifters, but here’s a simple way to go about it for your squatting:

Week 1′s Squats: 2 sets of 2 to 3 reps (~90% of 1RM) + 1 sets of 4 to 6 reps (~80% of 1 RM) + 1 set of 8 to 10 reps (~70% of 1RM)

Week 2′s Squats: 2 sets of 2 to 3 reps + 2 sets of 4 to 6 reps + 1 set of 8 to 10 reps

Week 3′s Squats: 2 sets of 2 to 3 reps + 3 sets of 4 to 6 reps + 1 set of 8 to 10 reps

Week 4′s Squats: 2 sets of 2 to 3 reps + 3 sets of 4 to 6 reps + 1 set of 8 to 10 reps

Week 5′s Squats: 2 sets of 2 to 3 reps + 2 sets of one-rep max 

As you can see, the above program has you squatting once per week (per 5 to 7 days), and involves working in the 2 to 3 range, which provides maximal overload, in the 4 to 6 rep work is the “sweet spot” for myofibrillar muscle growth, and in the 8 to 10 rep range, which is to stimulate growth via metabolic stress and cellular fatigue.

Once you’ve finished the 5-week cycle, you should deload for a week (or take a week off the weights), after which you can start again from week 1.

Tip #3 to Increase Your Squat:
Squat Deep Even If That Means Dropping the Weight

This was touched on in the first tip on form, but it deserves its own section.

The bottom line is if you’re not at least reaching parallel in your squatting, you’re cheating yourself. This has been part of the collective gymlore for years, but it’s backed by quite a bit of research:

I could go on, but that gives a pretty comprehensive list of reason why you need to be getting deep in your squats. How deep, though?

















While there are benefits to the Full Squat, or “Ass to Grass Squat,” it requires quite a bit of mobility and flexibility, which we’re going to talk about next. I recommend you start with the Parallel Squat and build your strength up there before including the Full Squat in your leg workouts.

Tip #4 to Increase Your Squat:
Improve Your Lower-Body Mobility

While many people don’t realize how important proper form and depth is in the Squat, many of them couldn’t do it properly even if they wanted to. They simply lack the flexibility and mobility.

The most common problems are tight hips and hamstrings, but the ankles and calves often give people trouble as well. Fortunately, you can do a series of simple exercises to limber up and enable yourself to squat correctly with ease.

To learn more about this, check out my articles on how to improve lower body mobility and foam roller exercises that improve performance.

Tip #5 to Increase Your Squat:
Use the Right Shoes

Believe it or not, the wrong shoes can make squatting significantly harder.

A good weightlifting shoe does a few things:

  • It provides a stable surface to help us balance and support heavy loads. This is particularly important with exercises like the deadlift, squat, and overhead press.
  • It fits your feet snugly and leaves no wiggle room. You don’t want your feet moving around in your shoes as you train.
  • It provides good traction so your feet don’t slip or shift during a lift.

The right weightlifting shoes not only improve your performance of important lifts like the squat and deadlift but they reduce the risk of injury as well.

Check out this article to see my weightlifting shoe recommendations.

Want a workout program and flexible diet plan that will help you build muscle and get strong? Download my free no-BS “crash course” now and learn exactly how to build the body of your dreams.

Tip #6 to Increase Your Squat:
Do “Hold” Reps

The portion of the Squat that gives people the most trouble is getting out of the bottom. It requires an immense amount of force from and coordination between many muscles in the body.

It doesn’t have to haunt us though–we can actually focus on it in our training and turn it into a strong point. We do this by performing “Hold Reps.”

These are very simple to do: You squat like normal, but once you reach the bottom, you hold the position for 5 to 7 seconds, taking full, deep breaths, and then stand up.

This is not only a great way to train the glutes, hamstrings, and hip muscles that drive you up and out of the bottom of the Squat, it also greatly increases core strength and stability.

To get the most out of Hold Reps, I recommend you start with about 60% of your 1RM (weight that you would normally get 10 to 12 reps with) and work up to performing them with about 75 to 80% of your 1RM (weight that you would normally get 6 to 8 reps with).

In terms of how to work them into a workout, I prefer adding them after my normal heavy sets. I don’t replace my heavy 2 to 3 or 4 to 6 rep sets with Holds–I add a couple sets of Hold Reps after.

Tip #7 to Increase Your Squat:
Get Pumped Up

If you an experienced weightlifter, you know the importance of being mentally prepared for heavy lifts. You can psych yourself out or up and hit or miss a lift accordingly.

You’ve undoubtedly seen powerlifters go through what sometimes looks like a ridiculous, satanic ritual before attempting a lift, but did you know that pumping yourself up like that has been scientifically proven to work?

study conducted by researchers at AUT University with elite rugby players found that when they pumped themselves up for a Bench Press set, force production increased by 8%. Researchers also found that distraction significantly decreased force production–there was a 12% difference in force production between the pumped-up and distracted lifters.

The takeaway here is pump yourself up your for heavy lifts and concentrate on each rep as your perform it–no talking, being talked to, or mental wandering.

I don’t stomp around the gym like a madman to get pumped up. I find that the right workout songs helps dramatically for getting pumped up, and before I grab the bar, I like to take 10 to 15 seconds to focus on the lift I’m about to perform and visualize myself performing it successfully. Sounds silly? Research has shown that visualizing a successful lift before performing it can increase strength.

What do you think about these tips on how to increase your squat? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!

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Leave a Comment!
  • Nate

    This is close to my favorite article on your site, along with the lose belly fat article. Pumped to hear your new book is coming out soon. I have been following BLS for close to 8 months and have lost 52 pounds. I am so glad I followed you program to because I have friends that did the eat a lot less and do tons of cardio and they look the same just smaller. I didn’t want to be skinny fat and thanks to you I am not Thanks Mike!

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks Nate! Yeah new book soon!

      WOW amazing job on your progress! Dude I have to get you up on the site! Let’s do a success story!

      What do you think?

      • Nate

        Yea I would be honored, but I have about 18 more pounds to lose to get to single digit body fat and then I would like to be one of your success stories. Also do you take green tea extract on the days you don’t work out.

        • Michael Matthews

          Awesome man let’s do it. Shoot me an email with your progress so far?

          Yes I do.

  • Harrison Chahal

    Very timely. Two days ago you posted about deadlifts just as I was about to begin my deadlift workout. Tomorrow morning is legs, starting with my favorite exercise, Squats. I’ll change up my shoes and use some flat-bottomed ones.

    • Michael Matthews

      Nice! Let me know how it goes!

      • Harrison Chahal

        Three things I did differently: 1) flatter shoes meant more stability; 2) which allowed me to drive through my heels; and 3) I backed off the weight and went just a bit deeper than I normally do. Result: I’m definitely more sore than normal so I believe I activated more muscle this workout. Great tips Mike.

        • Michael Matthews

          Awesome Harrison. By keeping these things in, you’ll be able to make steady progress.

  • david

    Hi Mike, what are your thoughts on placing a block or plate under your heels when squatting??
    (For stability purposes)

    • Michael Matthews

      I don’t like it. You’re better off improving lower body mobility so you don’t need it.

  • Lindsay Rice

    Great tips. Funny, I JUST finished reading an article before this on Muscle&Fitness (I need to stop reading that site…) the last tip was to get shoes with an elevated heel or put plates under your heels, which I was a bit skeptical of & definitely discarded now that I’ve read your thoughts. My squats are the slowest lift to improve, but really focusing on the mental aspect has helped; visualizing the lift, not getting distracted, & focusing on keeping an extremely braced core throughout.

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks Lindsay! Heh yeah I don’t like doing that as you’re better off FIXING mobility than finding weird workarounds, you know?

      Yeah squats take the most focus for me too.

  • Jac

    Great article Mike! I’m a 47y.o. man who just recently took up weight training again 6 months ago.
    Cautionary tale from personal experience: once i learned to squat properly, to put the hip joint below the knee, i noticed that my hips and legs were hurting basically all the time. Then i took a video of myself wearing just compression shorts. I realized i was losing the arch in my back and it was rounding in the bottom 4-ish inches of the squat. So I was creating spinal impingement/ disc bulging and that was causing sciatica-like symptoms. I also noticed that i can’t quite get to parallel before the rigid back arch breaks. So, my solution is to squat as deep as i can before the arch is broken, and work on flexibility in the meantime.
    I also caught a you tube video that showed that it is not necessarily flexibility that is limiting the depth; you can have skeletal structure that prevents going deeper (without widening your stance) because the femurs contact the ascetabulum. Once that happens, your pelvis has to tilt – it’s just physics.
    I’d be interested to know your thoughts on these topics. Thanks!!

    • Michael Matthews


      Ah yeah, the “butt wink” as it’s known. You want to keep a neutral spine position, and yes some people need to take a wider stance than others to maintain this.

      Your hip muscles will also take time to adjust/adapt. Your quads and hams adapt much quicker.


    What about squat shoes mike? Ones like Nike romaleos. all the powerlifters on youtube recommend using them? Correct me if I’m wrong but don’t these type of shoes have elevated heels? Surely they must have some benefits?

    • Michael Matthews

      Some do have slightly elevated heels (they aren’t as elevated as the design of the shoe makes it look like) but they have very wide bases that help with overall stability.

  • Ryan Carter

    What’s your thoughts in front vs back squats.
    Me personally , I do both but each week , I prefer front squats .
    Is that fine using both or should u focus on 1 with the other as an accessory ?

    • Michael Matthews

      Both are great. I would focus on back but include fronts.

  • Vanessa

    I just purchased Thinner, Leaner, stronger and loved it! I was doing p90x but not getting desired results. I did make progress but I felt I needed “more.” Squats and lunges are my weakness and I’ve been working really hard to get better but I always have some knee discomfort. I don’t know what I’m doing wrong and it’s discouraging. I am hesitant to move onto squats with weights because of that! These are great tips but What can else can I do to make it less painful on my knees?

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks Vanessa! Hmm it sounds like a form issue. Are your knees extending past your toes?

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  • Nina Papadakis

    I bought your book, I switched up my routine. Basically getting rid of isolating exercises and focusing on compound movement. My problem is that I have lower back issues, I had a disc flip a couple of years ago and cant load to much weight on my back. My doctor told me max 10 kgs but I am actually pulling 30 kgs but this is as far as I am willing to go. (My disc broke so I have a thin one now). Which exercises should i also be focusing on to grow my glutes? (I will continue with variations of squatting but I cant progress in terms of adding more weight)

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks Nina! I definitely recommend going easy on your back. Deadlifts are clearly out. What types of squats can you do? How about hip thrusts?

      • Nina Papadakis

        Thanks for a quick response! Hip thrusts are the worst as my broken disc is the one at the bottom. Tried it once and was in pain for 2weeks. I do wide stance squats, front squats and also deadlift but I think I have reached the limit on the weights so I am hoping to find other effective exercices. I hope you have some recommendations 🙂

        • Michael Matthews

          YW! Ah okay then that’s definitely off limits. Good on the squats. Does your gym have a glute blaster machine?

          • Nina Papadakis

            Thanks Matt, well umfortunately know but I am doing the abductor machine for glutes. I used to do tons of variatons of glute/leg incorporated workouts with kettlebells, dumbbells etc. They took forever and probably didnt do much in terms of muscle growth. So after reading your book I am trying to do fewer and better exercises to focus on. How about lying down under the smith machine bar and pressing the bar upwards? It feels I am working my legs mostly….?

          • Michael Matthews

            Ah that machine isn’t going to do much for your glutes nor will the lying leg press on the Smith.

            It sounds like focusing on the squat is going to be the way to go. Wider stance, all the way down. You can probably squat twice per week…

          • Nina Papadakis

            Thanks Matt, will do that! I used to do that previously as legday only once a week was wearing me out, it actually helped. Many thanks for your help! Your books have been really useful and also you fb post and emails as well! Keep going!

          • Michael Matthews

            Sounds good! Thanks for the support! Keep up the good work and keep me posted!

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  • Rachel Roberts

    I love this article Mike and the videos from Buff dudes, soooo helpful! I want to make sure my form is perfect and these tips are invaluble for a newbie!

    • Michael Matthews

      Thanks! 🙂

  • Renier

    I having some real issues with my squat mike, I don’t know if may be because I don’t have weightlifting shoes, I was thinking about doing squat 2 times per week to see if I can fix this, my bench, and overhead press are good and my deadlift too, i feel that my deadlift have been improving since I am doing deficit deadlift on my leg days,so I would do this:
    Monday: Chest
    Tuesday: back (deadlift, pullups, barbell row, one dumbbell row),then rest go home and then do a squat workout in the afternoon (It would be high bar squat and front squat 2-3 reps to work on my strength)
    Wednesday: Shoulders and abs
    Friday: arms and abs
    Saturday: Leg workout(low bar, hack squat, leg press and Calf)
    rest go home then a deadlift workout in the afternoon(Deficit deadlift and romanian deadlift 2-3 reps to work on my strength)
    Sunday: Rest.
    What do you think about this split? BTW I’m starting my bulk, I know that my squat is weak because I checked My lifts stats with the strength standarts, and my squat was way too weak, my others lifts were ok.Thank you for help.

    • Michael Matthews

      Hmm this could work but you’re going to need to watch the intensity and volume and you’re going to need to make sure you’re eating enough:


      • Renier

        You are right, I’m realizing it might be too much, And my squat is not as weak as I thought, I feel that just need to get some squat shoes, 2 questions mike,
        1-on my leg days I do back, high bar and frontal squat(so far it has been going good) I used to do romanian deadlift from deficit but I feel its a little bit to danguerous if My form isn’t in check I would rather prefer do sumo deadlift instead of romanian deadlift (As far I know, the sumo target the Hamstrings muscles, I feel that when I do the sumo deadlift too, I don’t really feel its an issue because My back day is on tuesday and my leg day on saturday so muy lower back is fully recover, and I can maintain good form on this exercise)what do you think about this?

        2-I don’t really enjoy cardio, I only do HIIT when I cut, But when I bulk I prefer to manipulate my calories and eat less to control my fat gain, so, Is cardio really necesary when I’m Bulking? Or can I just have a constant control of my calories?

        I workout 5 times per week and do the exercises listed on your workout artciles and the ”if you feel you have some juice left´´ too, in a 4-6 rep range. 1 body part per day.(chest, back, shoulders, arms and leg) Thanks!

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  • David Cairns

    All the points you make are the reasons I’m making good progress at squats and it’s good when you get positive comments on form at the gym. Another thing I did was push my knees out while lowering, keeping shins vertical of course, this helped load the weight into the hips and giving me a strong base to push up from it and allowed me to go deeper too.

    • Michael Matthews

      Yup that’s an important point as you lower your body. Keep up the good work!

  • Guest


    I really enjoy this article. I’m doing some research on the deep squat and I was wondering if you would share some of the research articles that you found to support this knowledge.


  • Peter C.F.

    Hi Mike. I’m following your program (with great results), but the only problem I have is with the squat. I used to be an amateur Jiu-Jitsu fighter, and a few years ago I hurt my left shoulder badly. I never fully recovered from the lesion, and the thing is: the position in which I have to place my arms to hold the bar to perform the squat hurts my left shoulder. After my last squatting routine, the posterior part of my shoulder’s been hurting for 3 weeks. It’s not muscle soreness, it’s ligaments or tendons or nerves or whatever. It’s a very mild but annoying constant pain. Even when I do shoulder presses this doesn’t happen.

    So my question is: are there any variations of the squat where I wouldn’t have to bend my arms back like that, pressing against my posterior shoulder heads? I love doing squats, and it sucks that I can’t because of my SHOULDER 🙁

    • Michael Matthews

      Glad to hear you’re doing well Peter.

      Hmm yeah front squats could be great for you. Crossover grip. Would that be possible?

      • Peter C.F.

        Wow that looks great for me! I’m gonna try it this week and I’ll let you know! Thanks a lot man!

        • Michael Matthews

          Great! LMK!

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  • Samuel Sander

    Any reason to why not do the “hold” reps with your heavy weight sets (4-6 reps)? Maybe not as long as 5-7 seconds but 2-3 seconds.

    • There’s a benefit to combining more explosive types of lifts with hold lifts. I wouldn’t do just holds.

  • Brian Natumanya

    Wanted to ask weather constantly doing the squat for legs can lead to split in the leg muscles, been performing squats once per week while going heavy but am yet to notice the muscle split in my thighs… A guy in the gym was telling me to incorporate sprints so as to create those thigh split muscles…All am seeing in the increase in circumference of the thighs no splits.

    • Eh. Honestly, to get definition it comes down to two things. Building the muscle and getting lean.

      So, if I were you, I recommend getting leaner if you want the leg muscles and separations to show better.

  • Jesse

    Hi Mike. I really enjoy your articles and books; I’m doing BLS right now. Question: my squat appears to have gotten stuck around two plates, while my deadlift is progressing much faster (345 for 3×6 is no problem). BW is 175. Any tips on bring the squat more into line? And when would you recommend reducing the volume on DLs? Presumably I’m not going to be adding 10/lbs workout forever. Thanks. Jesse

  • radiotrib

    Mi Mike – Me again …

    As I’ve said before, I’m old, overweight and weak as a kitten. I currently cannot squat to a full ‘thighs parallel with the floor” position even without weights. I get about 3/4 of the way there and then one knee refuses to play ball. However I can get right down almost to a full depth squat if I give an assist by putting my hands on a support and taking a little of my weight. Once down, even at a full depth squat, I can come back up to a standing position unaided.

    I am starting on the BLS regime on 1 October so for squats, what would you advise. Should I either:

    1) do a partial squat and expect the position to improve over time,
    2) assist with my hands on the down movement and then (if I can taker the weight) grab a dumbell from the floor and come back up unassisted …

    Which will give the most benefit with the least potential for problems, and what do you think might be the problem? Muscle tightness perhaps ?

    • Hey hey!

      Let’s try a different movement altogether. Can you box squat?

      • radiotrib

        Thanks for getting back to me Mike. Yes I have tried the box squat since your recommendation and I can do it. In fact once I’ve done a few I can do a full parallel squat unaided !!! That’s a big step for me and it means that the whole problem would seem to be a mobility issue rather than a strength one so … Onward and upward. This week I work out my 1 rep max weights and continue to practice the actual moved and Oct 1st it’s all systems go!

        • YW. Awesome to hear on the box squats and that they enabled you to squat to parallel unaided!

          Sounds like a plan. I’m excited to see your results. 🙂

  • Leah

    Hi Mike,
    I’ve got a few squat questions. I feel like I’ve plateaued and that this might be due to improper form. my first mistake was using the smith machine for a while, I completely forgot how to activate my core and keep my balance. huge mistake. I’m back to the bar and dropped the weight, but I can’t get a whole lot of depth and I feel like I round my back when I’m at the bottom. I have good hamstring and ankle mobility though, maybe hip flexor issues? Also, what is your opinion about front squatting? I went to a squat workshop and the trainers suggested perfecting the front squat before moving on to back squats, the only problem is I’ve got bruises on my shoulders and find it super uncomfortable…
    thanks a lot, I’m a huge fan! two years ago I would have never guessed I’d have the confidence to even step foot into the weight area.

  • P Mort

    Second week on BLS and finding my squat needs a LOT of work. I thought it was the HIIT as the other thread, and maybe that was part of it, but even feeling fully energized this morning, my numbers are shit. My knees were buckling in on 255 and coming back up felt impossible. Ugh.

    • Let’s get those numbers up then! Keep proper form, full ROM and lift as heavy as you can for 4-6 reps. The numbers will improve. 🙂

      • P Mort

        Today was squat day again for the week and, unbelievably and frustratingly, my numbers went down. Again. I don’t get it. Everything else is going up, but this isn’t just stalling, it’s going backwards. On my second set of 245 I got stuck on the way up of rep #5 and had to let the safety bars catch it. Even lifts I do the same day, romanian deads went up (340 I believe I’m at), and even my leg press went up (at least 350, I forget, I wrote it down in my logbook). I had to knock down to 240 and could still barely pull that off.

        I’m at a loss. Maybe my HIIT *is* killing my squat power? I don’t know.

        • Sorry to hear that. 🙁

          Check this out:


          Hmm. When are you doing HIIT in relation to your leg day?

          • P Mort

            Squats are Thursday mornings. I do HIIT Tuesdays in the afternoon and fasted on Saturday mornings. I do back on Tuesday mornings, and the HIIT is all I do on Saturdays.

          • Hmm. I don’t think HIIT is the issue then. Did you check out the article I linked on weightlifting plateaus? What do you think?

          • P Mort

            Having avoided HIIT thus far this week, and given I’m doing a Strength Week, I’m back up to 245 but not budging from there, so I’m not sure how much that is impacting (I’m going to do an HIIT bout this afternoon).

            I looked at that article and I may attribute some of it to muscle tightness and general mental tiredness (I pop some Forge but it still takes me some time to wake up), but as I said, it is exclusively the squats that are getting affected. My deadlifts keep going up (6 x 355 today, even after squats from this morning). My mobility I think is fine, I get through warmups without issue. Calorie intake is more than what I was doing before, albeit that was a severe restriction and I’ve had to since adjust, but going by what I’m eating now, I think I’m a bit over my 20% cut, but still well under my maintenance levels.

          • Hmm. Alright. Let’s start with doing some mobility work then. The squat requires a lot more mobility than the deadlift does:


            To help with the mental tiredness, check out my pre-workout, Pulse:


            Glad the rest of the lifts are still moving!

            The goal while cutting is just to maintain strength unless you’re new to this style of training. So, you’re doing pretty well!

            Talk soon.

  • Tanya Annikov

    Hi Mike,
    Why do you suggest 8-10 rep range for women? Also, what is a good monthly progression on squats? I’d like to add 5# to my squat each month. I just started doing squats on a regular basis last month. Is 5#/month progression realistic? I can squat my body weight (115#), but can deadlift 240# so I know my legs are not completely weak. Hoping to bring up my squat to 160# over the next 10 months. TIA!

    • Hey Tanya,

      The reason why Mike recommends 8-10 reps for women is simply because the majority we’ve worked with were already quite intimidated by the weight necessary to work in the 8-10 rep range. The 4-6 rep range was REALLY uncomfortable for them (generally speaking).

      The reality is 4-6 reps does work fine for women, but they can do great with the 8-10 rep range as well. There’s also the issue of overtraining to consider–women’s bodies can’t repair nearly as much muscular damage as guys’.

      So, if you’d like to work in some 4-6 training, I recommend doing no more than 3 sets in the 4-6 rep range, and using it on the following exercises:
      Military Press
      Bench Press

      5lbs a month is very realistic, and in all likelihood you’d be adding more than that. 🙂

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