When it comes to building lower body strength, the verdict is in and squats are taking home the gold. Few exercises will strengthen the body like a good old-fashioned squat will, so it’s essential that you have these in your workout protocol.
This said, sometimes you may hit a sticking point with you squats where you just can’t crack the next weight level up. What do you do then?
How can you get past this annoying plateau and get back to seeing results?
Often, the answer is to turn to some other exercises that will help strengthen your muscles and give you the boost you need.
Sometimes, by simply taking a break from squats, doing those movements, and then going back to squats, you’ll see progress.
Here are four great exercises that you’ll want to consider if this is the situation you are in.
While some people consider squats the king of lower body moves, others consider deadlifts to be so. Regular deadlifts will hit your back far more than squats will, but this could be just what you need.
If your lower back is on the weaker side, this could influence how much drive upward you have when coming out of the bottom of your squat exercise.
A few weeks doing heavy deadlifts may give you the push you need.
The leg press is another great way to boost your squat as the action pattern is quite similar to squats only you take the back work out of it. So this could in turn help you focus on really bringing up just your leg strength, helping you go that extra mile when you in turn start squatting again.
The great thing about the leg press as well is that you can focus it on primarily your quads or primarily your hamstrings all by where you place the feet on the foot pad.
Place the feet lower to hit your quads and higher to hit your hamstrings.
Single Leg Split Squats
Single leg split squats are the next move to consider adding to your workout routine if you want to take your squat performance to the next level.
The nice thing about single leg work is that you can ensure that both legs are equally strong. When you are squatting, if one leg is much stronger than the other, it may be hard to recognize this when doing the squatting exercise.
By switching to a single leg press, it becomes more obvious. If there is a strength imbalance, you can then work on training that imbalance so that both legs are back to being equal.
Now when you go squat, you should have some additional drive behind you.
Finally, sometimes, the best way to boost your normal back squat is to simply do a variation of that squat.
Front squats, where you place the bar across the front of the body are going to put more emphasis on the quad muscles, but more importantly, they’ll give your body a change of pace.
This variation is often what can help you bust through a plateau best, plus it keeps you more mentally engaged in your workout program as well.
Try doing front squats for a couple of months and then go back to your normal back squats. You might just be surprised at how nice of a boost this gives you.
So there you have a few smart tips and tricks to get yourself out of a squat plateau. Do these exercises prior to hitting the plateau and you may just find that you never hit it in the first place.
What exercises do you use to bust through plateaus for your squats?