So we’re serious about building maximum strength and muscle. We know we must include barbell squats in our training, but is there any leg room for any training aids, devices or methods to potentially help us improve our squat performance? You bet there are! We’ll now look at Top 5 Ways to Boost Your Squat Strength!
These are lightweight and easy to carry in your gym bag and can stimulate you to more creative routines, which is always great for gains and growth!
1. Manta Ray device
This easy to use device aids in making the barbell back squat more comfortable. As the Manta Ray is resting on your trapezius and neck and the barbell isn’t directly resting on your neck, it reduces compressive force on the spine. Using the Manta Ray also helps prevent too much forward lean in the bottom of the squat which aids in stressing the quads more effectively for maximum hypertrophy (growth). Adding variation to your routine is another benefit of this excellent tool.
Attaching bands from a solid object on the floor to the barbell sleeves is a good setup for training for explosive power. This builds the essential speed and strength required for getting out of the bottom position of the squat.
The reverse band squat (where bands are attached to the barbell sleeves from the top of a power rack) unloads the weight in the bottom position. This is great for squatters with knee pains as the weight will feel easier at the bottom position.
Bands are also an excellent tool for warming up. Exercises such as ‘X band walks’ and ‘good mornings’ can be performed in your warm up.
3. Thick Knee Sleeves
Knee protection is very important when squatting. Thick knee sleeves can add stability, provide compression and increase heat retention. Younger lifters can use sleeves as a preventative measure against pains and injuries whereas older and veteran lifters can use them to help protect ageing or damaged knees. They are far easier and more convenient to use than knee wraps.
Lifters who are employed in jobs in which they spend time on their knees, such as floor layers and joiners should definitely use these sleeves for squatting.
4. Wrist Straps
If you include barbell front squats in your training, this is a beneficial technique for increased comfort and technique improvement. Attaching wrist straps to the bar and gripping them while squatting helps to keep the elbows upright, high and stop the barbell rolling forward, resulting in extra reps for your set!
5. Micro Plates
Adding 0.5kg, 1kg or 1.5kg to the bar rather than the usual minimum 2.5kg is ideal for steady progression and avoiding hitting plateaus. Putting two 1.25kg plates on the bar is sometimes too big a jump as a permanent weight increase.
Building strength and muscle means being smart and where sensible, investing in equipment to inspire your training and not being afraid to take it to the next level. Carry some of these items in your gym bag and you’ll never look back!