#6 – Ignore the YouTube videos and start conventional
Wide stance squats are a more technical squat variation. Over the years I’ve seen far too many weak beginning lifters botch them and end up with knee and/or hips strains, wondering what they were doing so wrong.
Watching the big squatters on YouTube, novice lifters often believe that wide stance squats are the norm. They’re not. A solid percentage of wide stance squatters moving monster numbers are wearing squat suits. These suits are extremely beneficial for the wide stance powerlifter.
On the other hand, when you attend a powerlifting meet you will notice that probably 80% or more of the raw squatters are using a conventional stance. Most of us can learn to squat conventionally to depth with just a few short minutes of coaching. More than this, even if your form is off by just a little but, conventional stance squats are typically more forgiving. I see far more strains and pains from sub-par wide stance squats than I do from conventional stance squats.
Does this mean conventional squats are inherently better for all raw lifters? No, I don’t like generalizations. Even so, I still recommend mastering conventional stance squats and building a strength and size base before making the switch over to wide stance squats.
#7 – The bar should be over the center of your toes
This is a tip that isn’t discussed much, but it is an important one. When the bar doesn’t stay over the center of your foot during the course of a squat rep, something needs to be fixed.
It’s quite common to see the bar move slightly forward from center during either the concentric or eccentric portion of a squat. This forward lean reduces leverage and places more strain upon your lower back.
To check if you are experiencing this issue, video your squats from a side angle so that you can see both the barbell and your foot. Watch the path of the barbell, looking to see if it stays over the center of your foot. If not, seek out the advice of a seasoned powerlifter who can help point out any squatting form flaws you might have.
#8 – Despite what you think, more powerlifters are high bar squatters
I know there is a lot of chatter about low bar squatting on the net, but please don’t discount high bar squats. Most raw squatters I know that move 450-500 plus pounds are high bar squatters.
Understand I am not telling you that you must high bar squat. My only point is to encourage you to try high bar squats for yourself to see how they feel. If they feel natural, stick with them.