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If you want to get a strong squat, you may have to stop squatting and start concentrating on your accessory lifts for your squat. In this video, I’m going to show you the three best exercises for building up your squat without necessarily focusing all of your leg training on the big lift itself. Here, KC Mitchell, also known as That 1 Legged Monster, joins me in the X-BOX to share his favorite accessory lifts for the squat and why you need to be doing them if you want to squat as much weight as you can.
I have covered before the concept of true strength vs compensatory strength. Far too many lifters push their numbers higher and higher in a race to lift heavy weights without being concerned about the fact that their use of compensation plays heavily into their ability to add weight to the bar. If you think that your strength is solely based on true strength gains but notice that you are starting to get aches and pains in the hips, low back and knees then you likely are bumping up your numbers on the back of additional compensations made in the squat.
The best way to avoid this from happening is to be sure that there are no weak links in the chain. You want to focus on building up your strength in the three accessory exercises shown in this video to make sure that you are strong in all points of the range of motion on a squat.
The first one up is the box squat. KC loves this exercise, especially when done with zero momentum from the bottom of the squat, as a way of increasing explosiveness and your ability to get out of the hole. The bottom of the squat is definitely the hardest range in the movement. Many of us can get to the bottom but lack the ability to explode out of it. Take the box squat to the bottom and pause slightly before standing explosively.
The box squat will also increase your confidence in the squat. Because you know you have a safety net it is likely that you will squat more freely and loosely which can give you the ability to attempt weights that you wouldn’t normally attempt in the first place.
The next movement is the good morning. Now this is the exercise that I traditionally hate only because it is likely one of the most commonly misperformed exercises in the gym. This is not a lower back movement. It is a hip hinge movement when done correctly. The best way for you to understand if you are doing it right is to film yourself doing the lift. If the bar path during the exercise goes forward and back then you are definteily not hinging properly at the hips and are doing the exercise wrong. You want the bar to travel almost directly straight up and down.
Finally, the goblet squat done with a band around your outside hip is a great way to explore proper depth and stability in the bottom of a squat. The goblet position of the weight allows you to simply drop through your center of mass and get to the bottom position of the squat without issue. Because you need room to carry the goblet with your elbows held wide, you will need to open the hips properly to accommodate.
In this position however, the hips are often times their weakest. They can tend to cave in just as you are about to push out from the bottom and stand back up. By placing the band on your outer leg you are going to have to resist the internal pull and force your legs outward. The weight you use here will not be high but you are not using this for the strength of your quads and glutes, more for the strength of controlling unwanted hip internal rotation.
As you can see, there are some very important accessory lifts you will need to do when you are trying to increase your squat. If you feel your squat has been stuck in a rut, try these three lifts and when you see the changes head to and start training like an athlete in all of your workouts. Details matter when you train like an athlete, and when you pay attention to them, all of your lifts will increase.
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