Yes, we’re mostly about bodyweight exercise. But we know many of you also like the gym, so we decided to take our squat technique series one step further. This time we’ll look at the barbell squat with our friend and iron expert Mike Westerdal.
Think powerlifters have nothing to teach you about lifting for fitness? You’d better think again!
Powerlifters may be limited in the movements they focus on in their training, but they’ve pulled those exercises to pieces to come up with the safest and most reliable ways to move heavy weight. When it comes to safe lifting form, they have a lot to say.
And when Mike Westerdal speaks, we sit up and listen. We sorta have to, because he’s awfully soft spoken… He’s also got a gift for dry, monotone one-liners that get Ryan laughing so hard he coughs up a kidney. (Mike at a recent dinner: “That guy’s really great at making food sound good. He does this thing where he says mmmmm.”) He really should stop sitting next to Mike because he doesn’t have that many internal organs to cough up, and as a matter of fact, some are kind of important…
That soft spoken approach carries over to Mike’s coaching as well. You won’t get any fluff from him. Nor will you get hype, shouting, or in your face ego trips. Mike offers clear, direct advise based on decades of experience. Whenever we’re lucky enough to cross paths, we drag him into the nearest gym for some advice.
Check out Mike’s video on proper technique in the barbell squat:
Let’s review the key performance cues Mike covered:
- Get those feet shoulder-width apart or even a bit wider
- Allow your feet to turn out slightly – but make sure your knees track over your toes
- Squeeze your glutes and thighs hard for stability
- Break at the waist first, keep your gaze forward or slightly up, and push your knees out as you lower into the squat
- Your weight stays on your heels and on the outsides of your feet
- Flat-footed shoes or barefoot are best
- Keep your elbows under the bar to keep your posture vertical
- Don’t be afraid to squat for depth as long as you have correct form
Keep in mind that Mike is sharing a specific technique used by powerlifters. But no matter what your background or focus, we all have something to learn from his excellent advice. In fact, we also suggest you read an excellent article he wrote about why including a bit of “heavy lifting” in your training program can have profound effects on your recovery, fat burning, and even make you feel and look younger.
Please post any questions in the comment section and we’ll ask Mike to pop by and reply.