If you want to see great results in the gym, build more muscle and get ripped, the squat is a non-negotiable. A heavy barbell squat hammers almost every muscle in your body while stimulating a lot of growth and a massive hormonal response—over time, including squats in your workout will help you gain more size and strength overall.

Whether or not the squat is the “king of all exercises” can be debated, but one thing is certain: The back squat is the most commonly screwed-up exercise on the planet. Do this move right and your size and strength gains will continue to grow. Do them incorrectly and it can have the opposite effect or even lead to serious injuries.

Here are five common problems that could be holding your squat back and the action that needs to be taken to eliminate these problems for a better, stronger squat.

Misalignment:

This seems really basic, but this past weekend I was doing a seminar and was amazed how many smart, experienced lifters were not properly aligned under the bar. When you get under the squat bar, make sure your hands, torso, and feet are aligned evenly for optimal performance and results.

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Lack of Priority:

To squat more requires structuring your lifestyle around, adequate sleep and scheduling of your workout week. If your number one training priority is to increase your squat, place your primary squat workout on a day that has the most favorable conditions.

If every Thursday you have six hours of forced overtime with additional heavy labor, don’t squat that day.

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Inefficient Walkout:

Walk the weight out with as few steps as possible. No more than three total steps are needed. The first step gets you out of the rack, the second step sets up your first foot, and the third step places the opposite foot in the squat position. Energy needs to be put into squatting the bar, not the walkout.

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Failure to Get Tight:

Being loose might help you on the dance floor, but in the squat it makes your ass grass and the barbell the lawn mower. Any loss of tightness anywhere from head to toe is a leakage of power that needs to be directed into the barbell to squat maximum weights. Get tight, stay tight, squat big!

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Lack of Technical Practice:

If every single rep looks different, you are not getting any ‘practice. Squatting is a skill. Every single rep and every single set needs to be viewed as technical reinforcement. Not only that, we want the desired training effect.

Old-time powerlifters would say for elite squatters, every inch of depth too high would equate to an additional 40 pounds on the squat. A high-level squatter squatting a mere two inches high is forfeiting nearly 100 pounds of training effect.