These 20 Things Before Barbell Squatting Can Maximize Improving Your Leg Size and Strength

#1 – Lockout the squat with your hips

This was the first squat tip I ever received. I was struggling to complete reps and my mentor told me to concentrate on driving my hips forward to lock out the squat. It worked.

The hips are a powerful muscle group. Use them to your advantage.

#2 – Aim for 400, hope for 500

If you are a natural trainee looking to build as much leg muscle as possible, set a goal to hit (at minimum) a 400 pound squat. This will bring your quad size up nicely, and is also a level very few gym rats obtain.

It’s easy to see these mammoth squats on YouTube and think 400 is “nothing.” This is far from the truth. I built some incredible quad size during my first 2 years of squatting simply by getting my squats up to 365 for reps.

If you are looking for an ultimate goal, aim for a 500 pound raw squat. Very few natural lifters reach this level, especially at a body weight under 240 pounds.

#3 – Wear knee wraps

I was on the fence about knee wrap use for a very long time. I simply didn’t think they were needed, and wanted to go the “tough” route and “be a man.”

Between 2007 and 2011 I battled frequent hamstring strains. They weren’t severe, but they were regular. These strains were enough to slow progress 25-30% because of all the recovery workouts I was forced to perform.

In 2011 I gave knee wraps a try. Since that time I have had exactly zero hamstring strains. Let me repeat that number…zero.

While I can’t say that knee wraps will be a game changer for everyone, I am certain that the added stability can only help. If you love lifting, and see yourself training well into your 50s, 60s and beyond, take care and give knee wraps a try. That extra little support may go a long way.

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