T Nation

Tips for the Squat

Hey everyone, I recently uploaded a video about some unconventional tips on the squat that some of you may find helpful. Just thought I would share.


Pretty happy for that thread.I started implementing your squat tips and squatting feels really comfortable now.Still it needs a ton of work.How do these look Alpha?

80 kg

110 kg

110 kg

Looking good man! I can definitely see you tying out the techniques. They will become more and more second nature as you progress and you will be happy you are doing them.

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Great tips, plus you really did a fantastic job editing that video! All the cut scenes and different angles really help the explanations.

Thanks brother, I really appreciate that!

same as screw feet into the ground?

They are similar, but you can still initiate the squat at the hips with your feet screwed into the ground. Screwing your feet into the ground is more about setting your stance and i agree with doing it, 100%. But I am trying to get people to initiate the descent by breaking at their knees instead of the hips. I think you are able to stay more upright when doing so.

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Just uploaded part 2 of the squats series I am running on youtube. It deals with fixing your set-up. Working these cues took my squat from an iffy 600lbs to 675 in about a year and a half. I hope you find it insightful and entertaining. Thanks for the support everyone!


Great video, @Alpha.

Just a couple comments I have:

  1. When you talked about pulling your shoulder blades down, it reminded me of a Mark Bell video that featured Ed Coan. Ed’s version of this cue was actually focus on pulling the ENTIRE back down; everything from the rear delts to the erectors. I saw that video a couple months ago, and it has totally changed my set up and the bar feels incredible light even into the lower 400’s. So accomplishes the same thing as your flexing and bar bending cue, but just a different way of thinking about it.

  2. The belly breathing cue. I think this might of actually been from one of your own posts on this forum, but thinking about inflating your obliques instead of inflating your belly has been one of the best things that I have encountered. I feel so stable with all of the Big 4 lifts. I don’t know if that was you or not, but if it was, God bless you.

One question about your previous squat video. The tip you gave about shoving the knees out before breaking the hips: I’ve only tried it once, but I felt very uncomfortable with this because it forced my torso too upright. I’m used to breaking at the hips and opening my taint (cue from that same Mark Bell video, don’t judge me), and it makes me feel a lot more comfortable. With this in mind, would you recommend sticking with a cue I know works, or do you think that breaking at the knees first is something everyone should do?

Thanks for all the videos man, I appreciate it.

@khmccarthy I really appreciate the kind words brother and thank you for the support!

As far as your question: Well, if it isn’t broke, i wouldn’t fix it. If you were uncomfortable with breaking your knees first, I’d stay away from it. If you are used to a forward lean and it is working for you, then I would stick with it.

I really believe that (for me at least) the squat is a core exercise more than a leg exercise. If I miss a rep it is always because my bracing broke and I lose the bar froward. That is why i have tried to figure out ways to stay as upright as possible (hence the breaking at the knees cue). So for me, it was a game changer, but some people do much better using the technique you are. So much depends on leverages and weak points that different things will work for different people. I am glad some of the other cues worked for you, but if that one doesn’t, just discard it and keep getting after it. If you find yourself stalled later once the weights we heavier, then maybe look back into it. Thanks for the question and for checking out the video brother!

Thank you for your work Alpha.

I have incorporated squeezing my butt prior to the decent and it’s very effective at putting my entire body in the right starting position.

Thanks again.

That’s great man, i am glad it helped!

Thanks man for these. The knees out before the descent is that like Ed Coan’s cue to open up your taint?
Anyway 'll try the upward press cue next time, that seems like a thing I could use myself. Been stuck in the Squat @180kg for a while now and I know it’s because of my technique not being consistant. Will also do the hour long just setup and walk out tip. Thanks!

@Alpha, your tips to press upward worked! Got two rep PR’s with it today. It’s weird 'cause it’s the complete oposite to pulling the bar into your back, but it worked!

Thanks for the video @Alpha

I tried this technique out the other day and liked it a lot. Normally i squat as if I’m box squatting with very vertical shins, but this technique seems like it’ll carry over to strongman well!

@Cobblepot Yeah man, I would say the taint cue and my knees out initiation would be pretty synonymous. I am so happy that the tips worked out for you! Great job brother!

@TX_iron That is great man, it definitely changed the way I looked at squatting and my numbers just keep going up. I am sure yours will as well!


If any of you are interested, i released part 3 of the Squat series dealing with what assistance exercises to use to trouble shoot your problem areas. Check it out if you feel so moved.


@Alpha, great vid as always. Quick question: how would you load the ghr if you are doing them on the floor? I have a weighted vest but that’s just more crap to carry in the gym.

Side question: my friend is coming back from foot/ankle surgery. I remember from one of your videos you had a similar injury happen to you. Any advice for coming back from this?

@khmccarthy Hmmm that is a very good question…If you can do them hands free, I’d just tell you to hold a plate against your chest. But a hands free nordic hamstring curl is no joke! Maybe try raising your arms above you head until you can get them without hitting the push-up position at the bottom to add some weight. Once you can do that, progress to hands free. if you can do them, then I think holding a plate would be the next viable option.

As far as the injury…I am still dealing with it. I saw the surgeon this morning and i will need surgery in the near future but I am going to try to get through Nationals before I have to take the time off. The best advice I can give (from previous injuries) is to follow the physical therapist’s instructions exactly. You want to push it, but a lot of people re-injure by trying to do too much too fast. I am not saying to take it easy, but you have to be smart about when to push it and when not to.

That and tell your friend to stay in motion as much as possible. Blood heals and you can’t get blood to it if you are not using it. Contrast soaking (ice water/Hot water) also does a lot to speed up recovery. i hope that helps brother!