3 Foundational Exercises For A 600lb Squat
One of the biggest goals of mine was to squat 600 at 18 yrs old! I got to accomplish that by squatting 600x2 a week out from my 19th birthday all while weighing under 200lbs. A lot of time, sweat, blood, and sacrifice went into that moment but there were a few small foundational exercises that helped propel me forward in getting there.
I’d have to say, and many others would probably agree with me, that squatting is one of the toughest exercises to do. Squatting is very hard and those who can master the squat are usually very well respected in the gym. In addition, there are a host of athletic benefits that come along with having a good squat. The major question is how do you get a big squat. For me that was a question I pondered for a long time.
When looking to increase my squat, all I was finding were different squat routines to follow and all types different types of squats to do. Don’t get me wrong, those are all very important, but I was looking for the in depth breakdown on what I could do be doing every single day to increase the strength of my squat. Here are 3 exercises that I have personally done EVERY SINGLE DAY in the gym that I believe aided in me squatting 600 lbs!!
#1 Seated Banded Leg Curl- I first came across this exercise while listening to a Louie Simmons Podcast. For those of you that don’t know Louie Simmons, he is a world renowned powerlifter and the owner of the strongest gym in the world, Westside Barbell. He was talking about how he and all of this athletes would do 100-200 banded leg curls every single day to keep healthy and train the ligaments and tendons. I started doing these 2 years ago and I have been injury free since without any knee pain all while my hamstrings got insanely strong. Banded leg curls work the ligaments and tendons around the knee. When we workout we train our muscles and when our muscles get stronger than our ligaments and tendons, injuries and pain occur. ACL and MCL tears are some of the most common ligament injuries. By doing these leg curls, you can help prevent injuries. But this exercise blew my mind! I got the primary muscles for the squat (hamstrings) insanely strong while having no injures… This one is #1 on my list to help increase the squat and not to mention doing these every single day is ACTUALLY going to help you recover faster and not be as sore.
#2. The Plank- I love the plank. In my unpopular opinion, the plank is a forgotten exercise most haven’t done since middle school gym class. However for me this exercise has been a breakthrough in increasing my squat. The plank is a full-body exercise that makes you stay ultra tight and sets your core on fire! The plank taught me how to keep tight while properly bracing and pushing out my stomach which in turn helped me brace and push out against my belt when unracking and squatting heavy weight. Planks can be done every single day. What I love to do is take a 100lb plate or if your gym doesn’t have one, stack a few 45’s on your back and plank for 2 sets of 1:00. Doing that has worked wonders for me and my squat. A couple times a week I will maybe switch it up and go for a 3-5 straight plank with no weight or do side planks, and any other way I can think to plank. Mix it up! It will keep this exercise interesting and challenging.
#3. Seated Rows- Yes, the seated row, you may think this is a back exercise and how in the world would it help your squat. But the seated row has been the deciding factor in increasing my squat, When I started doing seated rows every single day, my positioning improved drastically. I was way more upright and my lats were engaged throughout the whole movement. The back is one of the biggest muscle groups in the body along with the hamstrings and glutes. To increase your squat, you can’t just train your legs. Besides, when most people fail a squat, they usually don’t fail because their legs weren’t strong enough, they fail because their back gave out or they rounded forward. That is why we must train our back often! Doing seated rows correctly will help you learn how to engage your lower lats which in turn is going to help you stay upright with massive amounts of weight. To do a seated row correctly, grab the cable attachment, raise your upper back and try to pull the weight into your sternum squeezing as hard as you can. How I learned to do this was have someone put their knee in my mid back when doing them. I warmup with 3-4 x 12 reps every single day no matter what muscle groups I am training that day.
Seated Banded Leg Curls: 100-200 Reps Every Day
Plank: 2-3 minutes everyday rotating multiple variations
Seated Rows: 3-4 x 12 Reps everyday as a warmup--Nice and light squeezing every rep.
Do this for a month and I can assure you are going to have a stronger squat as well as becoming an overall stronger human being in general.
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