Cardio bunnies are slowly receding into a thing of the past. If you haven’t yet picked up a weight and joined the women’s weightlifting revolution, it’s time to start. As well as burning calories, lifting weights produces lots of beneficial effects for women – so if you aren’t picking up heavy stuff in the gym each week, you’re missing out.
One of the best exercises for men and women is the barbell squat, a compound lift that builds muscle in your hamstrings and glutes.
For a lady, squatting is one of the best ways to build a booty that everyone is envious of. As long as you’re consuming plenty of lean whey protein and getting adequate rest, your squat will help you transform your physique.
But – if looks aren’t enough, squats are also great for building strength that some women will fear and men will be jealous of. Don’t just be strong for a girl – be strong in general. Follow these tips to start building a bigger squat.
Work your standard back squat
A barbell squat recruits the most amount of muscles in your lower body – which makes them superior to isolation lifts like lunges. Plus, they’re just more impressive to do. If you ever need a lift to showcase your strength, your squat won’t let you down.
With that in mind, you should ensure you’re squatting nice and deep to increase glute activation. The crease of your hip should go lower than your knee at the bottom of the movement. Power back up as fast as you can.
You should also work on your bar position – as most people can lift heavier by using a ‘low bar’ stance where the bar rests on your delts, as opposed to high bar when it’s on your upper back. This can add a few KG to your max lift.
Once you’ve got these fundamentals down, you should aim to perform 5×5 blocks of squats each week, increasing the weight by 1.25-2.5kg each week. You’ll quickly notice your legs getting thicker and your booty getting better.
Once you’re comfortable with 5×5, add a day or two a month into your routine to practice lifting far heavier loads. Get a spotter who isn’t afraid to push your limits, or set up the safety bars and learn to bail out from under the bar. Then, work up to sets of 3 at around 10-20% heavier than your 5×5 weight. You’ll quickly start busting out heavy lifts.
However, you’ll also need to…
Use squat accessory exercises
To achieve a monumental squat, you’ll also need to work on some lifts you’ve probably seen other girls doing in the gym but wondered what the point was. The best are:
- Front squats: hit these up as part of a weekly routine, adding them in a couple of days after your main squat day. Front squats target your core to help shred belly fat and build a toned tummy.
- Pause squats: Pausing at the bottom of your squats helps you learn to better thrust out of the lower half of the movement. Drop the weight down and learn how to power out of the paused position.
- Glute bridges: using a barbell and thrusting your hips into the air might feel silly, but it’s a terrific way to build an incredible booty as glute bridges isolate your glutes. They’ll help you squat heavier and harder.
Invest in equipment
Some of the world’s strongest women are powerlifters. Even if you’re not interested in the sport but want to be a physique competitor with an incredible booty and great legs, you should borrow a thing or two from powerlifting ladies. One of the most obvious is the equipment they wear – which can help you squat heavier (and safer.) Here’s what you might need:
- Lifting belt: there is lots of debate over whether a belt helps protect your back when you lift – but they definitely help you lift a little more. The tight compression helps you power through lifts and eliminates lots of discomfort. Buy a proper lifting belt that is wide and thick so you can build wide and thick legs.
- Squat shoes: squat shoes have a raised heel, so they help you get deeper and therefore increase muscle activation.
- Knee sleeves: squatting can be stressful on the joints. Knee sleeves compress your knee joints and can actually help you lift slightly more if they’re of sufficient tightness and thickness.
Plus, what’s cooler than being a girl unafraid to strap on some proper powerlifting gear and chase heavy lifts? Stop lifting for looks and build some serious strength to put boys and girls to shame.