1) Bar Set Up
Make sure while the bar is empty that you have the height of the unrack not too high that you have to tippy-toe the bar to get it out. This will not be good for when the weights get heavy. Also, make sure it’s not too low where you have to squat too low to unrack it. You don’t want to be doing a half rep just to unrack it, this will waste energy.
2) Approaching The Bar
Grab the bar as close as you can to the shoulders without discomfort in the elbows, bicep or shoulder. Make sure the hands are even on both sides of the bar. If you are front squatting you can go closer than back squat because it won’t stress those same muscles or joints the same. Make sure when going under the bar that your back is in the middle of the bar, athletes will make this mistake and have to resist the bar tilting the entire lift.
Place the bar on the upper back below upper traps and above rear delts. It will take time to find where you like to place the bar, I’d recommend going closer to high bar to ensure an upright posture throughout the lift. Feet should be slightly wider than hip-width to unrack the bar, make sure to keep pushing knees out. Stick butt out towards the rear while keeping low back tight and arched hard. Keep chest up and head slightly turned up. Take a deep breath and walk out the weight. Get stance a little wider than your box jump stance unless you are working close stance squats.
4) Now the squat itself
Lower the bar but instead of just going down think of going back especially since you’re almost 90% of the time going to be sitting on a box. All while keeping your knees out, sit on the box, don’t plop, make sure to control those last two inches so you’re not plopping on the box. This may work with light weight, but it will cause you to get loose and with maximal loads you’ll fail on top of damaging your back long term. After sitting on the box without rocking back or plopping fire off the box. Think of pressing the upper back into the bar first and then pressing out onto
your feet. After completing your rep or reps bring the stance back to how it was at the start, take 1-max 2 steps back into the rack. Always rack high and then go down, don’t be cute with the rerack, those j hooks are not meant to be pretty they’re meant to save you from missing and hurting yourself. You should hear the slam back into the rack on both sides before you go down.
Westside Barbell Personal Training and Athletic Coaching Certified
Byrd Sports Performance Certified Coach