How To Drastically Improve The Strength Of Your Squat Over The Next 2 Months

There’s a reason why the squat often ranks as the number one exercise for strengthening and building the legs. This powerful exercise recruits multiple muscle groups all at once, the quads, hamstrings, core, upper/lower back, to name but a few.

The best strength athletes and bodybuilders from all over the world perform the squat. If done correctly, it’s incredibly effective, and no other leg exercise comes close. 

Legend bodybuilders such as Tom Platz, Ronnie Coleman, and Arnold Schwarzenegger all placed the squat exercise on a high pedestal. 

Here’s eight times winner of Mr. Olypmia Ronnie Coleman blasting out an intense set of squats (800lbs)…

Now squatting 800lbs like Ronnie is very unlikely. However, you can do lots of things to boost the strength of your squat. 

This article will teach you how to drastically increase your squat over the next eight weeks. We will also give you a free 8-week squat program that is guaranteed to lead to bigger and stronger legs.

#1 Prioritise Squats

If you want to get good at squats, make them your number one priority. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect. Nick Screeton from LEP Fitness says that “one of the biggest mistakes beginners make is trying to improve on too many exercises all at once. Don’t spread yourself too thin. If you want to get good at squatting, prioritize your squat. Repetition and consistency are key.” 

Prioritizing your squat means doing it early on in your session when you are at your freshest/strongest. To get the most out of your squat, you want to do it either as your first main exercise or second (after an activation exercise). 

#2 Increase Training Frequency 

Most people, when they do squats, do them once a week. So 52 x sessions per year. While this can yield gains in strength, why not do squats 2-3x per week. Let’s look at the difference:

Squatting 1 x per week x 52 weeks = 52 squat sessions

Squatting 2 x per week x 52 weeks = 104 squat sessions

Squatting 3 x per week x 52 weeks = 156 squat sessions

If you squat 3x per week, you’ll get three years’ worth of leg training in one year – imagine the size and strength of your legs in a year if you did this.

Warning – if you’re currently training your legs 1 x per week, then try 2 x per week. We wouldn’t recommend going straight to 3. After a few months of doing this, you may want to add in a third squatting session. 

#3 Low Volume 

Quality over quantity is key. Low volume means doing less overall sets of squats. Instead of doing 3-5 sets of squats per session, you do 2-3 sets – this is how people like Dorian Yates trained. 

When you increase the frequency i.e., going from doing squats once per week to 2-3x per week, it’s crucial to lower your training volume; otherwise, you will burn out and get injured. 

If you are squatting 2 x per week, you could do three sets of intense squats per session (6 hard sets per week). If you squat 3x per week, then do two hard sets per session (6 hard sets per week). So the overall volume per week is the same. 

#4 Vary Your Rep Ranges 

If you want to get super strong on the squat, then ‘vary your rep ranges’ – most people will typically stick to low reps when it comes to boosting strength, and while this is a crucial part, so is doing higher reps. For example, sets of:

  • 3-5 reps
  • 6-15 reps
  • 15+ reps

All of the above will help you build big, strong, and powerful legs. Let’s say you do the squat 3x per week. You could vary your rep ranges across the week, for example:

  • Squat session 1 = 2 sets of 3-5 reps 
  • Squat session 2 = 2 sets of 6-15 reps
  • Squat session 3 = 2 sets of 15+ reps  

#5 Do Other Exercises To Boost Your Squat

While the squat is the king of leg exercises, it’s still important to focus on other leg exercises to keep your body balanced and stimulate it differently. 

For example, using machines such as:

  • Hack squat
  • Leg press
  • Leg extension 
  • Adductor machine
  • Abductor machine 
  • Smith machine

We would also recommend doing single leg work to build both legs evenly. Most people will have a stronger leg, and when squatting, the stronger leg will take over on those last few intense reps. So, it’s essential to have each leg individually strong. For building unilateral leg strength, it’s essential to include some of the following exercises into your leg workouts:

  • Split squat
  • Bulgarian squat
  • Pistol squat 
  • Single leg Romanian deadlift 
  • Single leg box squats 
  • Barbell or DB reverse lunges 

#6 Glute Activation Work

One area of the body that often lets people down is ‘weak glutes’ – so firing up your glutes before squatting can be extremely beneficial.

Glute activation work can be done after your warm-up. Some excellent drills include:

Here’s a video of some useful glute activation drills: 

#7 Mobility Work Before Squatting

Another area that is going to impact your squats is your mobility. You don’t have to be Bruce Lee and be able to do the splits, but you do need a decent amount of mobility in the hips, ankles, and shins to be able to squat optimally.  

Spending 5-10 minutes before each squatting session will be a great return on investment. Here are two excellent mobility drills to do before getting under the squat rack…

#8 Rest & Recovery

Your squat strength going up is heavily reliant on how quickly you can recover in between workouts. If you are hobbling into each workout because you’ve under recovered, then your performance is going to suffer or even worse… you’ll get injured. 

Making sure you are recovered and rested is vital. Here are some areas to focus on:

  • Sleep – aiming to get 8 hours of sleep per night
  • Foam rolling – to release tight muscle groups 
  • Sports massage – ideally every 1-4 weeks 
  • Nutrition – consuming adequate protein, carbs, and fats
  • Supplements – such as magnesium, glutamine, and protein power
  • Stretching – especially at the end of a workout
  • Baths – relaxing baths at night 

#9 Track Your Workouts

Logging your workout is crucial, and it’s what all good lifters do. By tracking your weight, sets, and reps, you can quickly look back at your diary and make sure you are progressing. 

Progressive overload is essential – this means adding more weight or reps to your workout over time. We would recommend tracking all of your squat sessions and trying to beat the numbers at each session. 

#10 Be Consistent 

It’s no use squatting 3x per week for a week, then not training your legs for the next two weeks. You’ve got to be consistent. If you want your squat strength to improve, then play the long game. Yes, you can make good progress in two months, but if you’re going to get super strong, look at more extended time frames such as 6-12 months. If you look at anybody who has a big squat, you’ll often find that they have been squatting for years, making slow, small, and incremental progress over time. 

8 Week Squat Routine:

  1. Monday – Legs 1
  2. Tuesday – Upper Body 1
  3. Wednesday – Legs 2
  4. Thursday – Rest 
  5. Friday – Legs 3
  6. Saturday – Upper Body 2
  7. Sunday – Rest 

Legs 1

  • 3-5 mins cardio warm-up
  • 5-10 mins mobility work 
  • 1-2 glute activation drills 
  1. leg extensions – 2 sets x 10-15 reps
  2. back squat – (2 warm-up sets) + 2 sets x 3-5 reps
  3. abductor machine – 2 sets x 8-12 reps
  4. lying ham curl – 2 sets x 10-15 reps
  5. seated calf raises – 2 sets x 20-25 reps 
  • 5-10 minutes of stretches to cool down

Legs 2

  • 3-5 mins cardio warm-up
  • 5-10 mins mobility work 
  • 1-2 glute activation drills 
  1. adductor machine – 2 sets x 10-15 reps
  2. back squat – (2 warm-up sets) + 2 sets x 6-15 reps 
  3. seated hamstring curl – 2 sets x 10-15 reps
  4. Hack squat – 2 sets x 12-15 reps
  5. standing calf raises – 2 sets x 10-15 reps 
  • 5-10 minutes of stretches to cool down

Legs 3

  • 3-5 mins cardio warm-up
  • 5-10 mins mobility work 
  • 1-2 glute activation drills 
  1. split squats – 2 sets x 10-15 reps (each leg)
  2. back squat (2 warm-up sets) + 2 sets x 15-20 reps 
  3. DB Romanian deadlift – 2 sets x 6-10 reps
  4. Leg press – 2 sets x 8-12 reps
  5. Smith calf raises – 2 sets x 15-20 reps 
  • 5-10 minutes of stretches to cool down

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