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The squat is one of the most important exercises you can include in your leg training. That said, if you experience knee pain while doing it or just don’t have the strength you think you should with this staple leg exercise, then you need to watch this video. I’m going to show you one thing you need to do before any squat that will instantly help you decrease knee discomfort and put more weight on the bar as you realize your true strength.
The effectiveness of this relies on the dysfunctional recruitment of the posterior chain (namely the glutes and hamstrings) that most of us have from muscle imbalances we have developed over time. When you perform a squat you need to be able to load the muscles on the back side of our bodies to handle as much weight as we are capable of. All too often, we tend to shift the load too much to the anterior chain muscles which winds up hurting our knees and limiting the amount of weight we can lift.
There are two major requirements of a properly performed squat biomechanically. You need to have proper amounts of knee flexion and hip flexion. One without the other can lead to one ugly looking squat. That said, if you can marry the two and optimize the contributions of each you are going to have a squat that is not only capable of handling maximal loads but is going to do so as safely as possible on your joints.
That said, since we know the squat is a glute driven movement it makes sense that in order to neurologically wake up the posterior chain we would want to perform a quick warmup with an exercise that does so directly. In this case, it’s a weighted glute bridge or a barbell hip thrust depending on your available hip range of motion and level of training experience.
I like to start everyone on the floor if they have not done this exercise prior to squats before. The key to the effectiveness of the movement is that it trains the glutes to be the primary driver of hip extension while working in concert with the hamstrings (which is their secondary function). With both the knees and hips in flexion, we are better mimicking the true function of the lower body during the squats.
When you perform your weighted bridge you want to be sure that you are feeling the hinge take place in your hips. A lot of times, the proprioceptive awareness of what true hip hinging should feel like is lacking. This leads to an overreliance on the quads to try and take the brunt of the load on the squat. After performing the bridge however, the glutes are more prepared to allow the posterior loading of the body during the descent. Likewise, the hamstrings are more alert to their role as eccentric controllers of hip flexion during the down portion of the squat and are therefore more capable of giving you stability that you have not had.
On the way up, the activation of the glutes provides you with keys to the ignition of the main driver of the ascent on the squat. While the quads are important for getting out of the hole, it’s the glutes that are primarily responsible (with their immense strength capacity) for getting you up and out with minimal disruption to your bar path. Those with weak glutes will demonstrate ugly looking squat form out of the whole. Often times, these guys and gals will lurch their bodies forward, raising the hips and shifting the load to their low backs to compromise for their weaknesses in the glutes.
Over time, this will lead to chronic low back pain and is completely avoidable.
A couple sets of 6-8 reps of the barbell glute bridge or barbell hip thrust with a 4 second hold at the top is enough to warm up the body to perform the squat to your maximum potential. Neurologically this will allow you to tap into strength reserves you never knew you had all while building up your volume over time through your other leg training on the glutes and posterior chain muscles.
If you are looking for a step by step program that never overlooks the importance of the glutes when it comes to athletic performance and obtaining your most powerful physique, head to the link below and check out the ATHLEAN-X Training System.
For more videos on how to build a bigger squat as well as the best way to strengthen your glutes and avoid red flags for weak glute development, be sure to subscribe to our channel at the link below and turn on your notifications so you never miss a video when it’s published.

Howto & Style

Published on


Apr 14, 2019

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Comments 1 751
ATHLEAN-X™ 3 months ago
*NOTIFICATION SQUAD GIVEAWAY* - Alright guys, I’m giving away a complete 30 Day Workout program to 100 lucky clickers within the first hour this video is published! Remember, this is NOT THE FIRST 100, but those randomly selected WITHIN the first hour the video is published. So don't b*tch if you're not one of them :) Just try next time. Click the link to see if you’ve won. Good luck! giveaway.athleanx.com/ytg/every-time-you-squat If you don’t win, no worries. Just be sure you have your notifications turned on so you can get to my next video quickly and try again. Good luck and thanks for being a loyal subscriber…
Tiffany Song
Tiffany Song Month ago
80 USD for 100iu HGH ( No brand , you know what i mean )
Dennis HP
Dennis HP 3 months ago
Aravind Barath
Aravind Barath 3 months ago
Give your thoughts on One Day A Meal diet
Artur D
Artur D 3 months ago
Hey Jeff! I am really interested what would be your advice (or a plan) how to prepare for workout in terms of warming up and dynamic streching. Can you refer to the video of this guy:? usvid.net/video/video-xbOxmQRi7fM.html I think it is a major stuff for all us out there trying to push hard but still stay out of injuries. Cheers!
Adetokunbo ADEKOYA
Adetokunbo ADEKOYA 3 months ago
Hi Jeff, I just want to ask about the pull up bar you use at home( the one that is in one of your videos ). I would like to know where you got it from.
Grzybek Lampucerek
I thought its quad driven movement 🤔
GangGreen80 5 days ago
So long story short do hip thrusts to avoid leaning forward during squats
Mitchell 10 days ago
Key: The bar travels straight up and down.
angelo lopez
angelo lopez 10 days ago
Is doing squats in the smith machine helpful?
Eric Kramer
Eric Kramer 11 days ago
Jeff....would a squat thruster help train proper form. I could see someone dropping the dumbbells if they lean forward due to gluteal inaction....
Rodger Quinn
Rodger Quinn 13 days ago
This is EXACTLY what I do as I get more tired during squats.
FromBeToReality 15 days ago
"don't make it a big deal." THAT'S EXACTLY what i've been doing AND NOT warming up the knee. been more of a mental/neurological issue than anything else. thought it was not good going all the way down. feared it. didn't want injury. THANKS FOR REMOVING MY FEAR THROUGH EDUCATING ME ...
FromBeToReality 15 days ago
"don't make it a big deal." THAT'S EXACTLY what i've been doing AND NOT warming up the knee. been more of a mental/neurological issue than anything else. thought it was not good going all the way down. feared it. didn't want injury. THANKS FOR REMOVING MY FEAR THROUGH EDUCATING ME ...
Bilb Ono
Bilb Ono 17 days ago
when a dude named Jeff on youtube tells me to do something in the gym, I do it
Iron Warrior
Iron Warrior 18 days ago
I always do walking lunges and stiff legged deadlifts before squatting. And it’s improved my mobility and strength. It’s also been very successful for 90% of my clients.
Andy Evans
Andy Evans 19 days ago
You can't activate your glutes without good ankle mobility
Joshua Lemire
Joshua Lemire 19 days ago
One thing I like to do warming up the squat and feeling the right range of motion is to unrack the bar and walk it to the back of the rack so the bar is pressing the back columns. Since the path is supposed to be vertical, I like to get a feel of a perfect vertical range of motion with the bar sliding the back of the rack (hardly any force though, just enough to know it is touching the back rack)
João Paulo Moura Leite
I feel a pinch in the squat-hip insertion... What warm up should I do?
Sami 20 days ago
Hey Jeff. I had a surgery to the right ankle (reconstruction after 2 ripped ligament and multiple fractures, damn soccer...) and I have now more stability, but don’t have as much flexibility than before. Barely can get my knee to my toes level... I definitely can’t get that low without opening the right foot to the exterior or getting my knee going inside (valgus I think)... How would you suggest me to adapt the squat knowing my limitation? Thanks!!! 👌
1WINDSHEAR 20 days ago
RIP your nuts...
David Farnsworth
David Farnsworth 22 days ago
Your a legend Jeff I have had injuries on both my knees and have avoided doing squats
Suman Mishra
Suman Mishra 22 days ago
Been struggling with squats. Such an aha moment! Love it when someone can explain things simply yet scientifically. Jeff's work is gold.
TURUNCU BARAKA 22 days ago
I’m going to show you one thing you need to do before any squat that will instantly help you decrease knee discomfort and put more weight on the bar as you realize your true strength.
Kirkowirko 22 days ago
Can I use the leg curl machine to substitute for those hip thrusts? In case it’s not available
Insomniac Owl
Insomniac Owl 22 days ago
Lmao how much do you squat 😂
1961lindmikea 23 days ago
Squat with or without your Orthopedic knee brace
Human Error
Human Error 23 days ago
Let your ass lead the way,got it.I'd do this but that means I have to change the weight and take the bar down and then back to the squat rack.. Too much work.
David Butt
David Butt 24 days ago
I usually do kettlebell thrusts. I'll have to try this next time.
shadow19831 25 days ago
I clicked to know why i must make that cringey ass face in the thumbnail every time i squat.
D Bechtel
D Bechtel 26 days ago
Thumbnail= Felt cute, might squat later, I dunno
Tabitha's dumb-dumbs
Might face pull later i dunno... no wait I'm definitely doing face pulls later
Pharmathlete 26 days ago
I have no issues Squating in my hips or knee flexion but I'll definitely try it looks amazing like warm up 👍🏽 appreciated the video
Peter Finfrock
Peter Finfrock 28 days ago
Interesting tip. Will try this at my next squat workout
risspartan117 28 days ago
Next question, how do I stop the bar from squashing my balls when doing hip thrusts? No, seriously...
ScepticMatt 28 days ago
Use a bar pad, ideally one with a notch where your balls would be
Nicholas Bowen
Nicholas Bowen Month ago
Why is this I’m squatting 405 rn and I’m 180 but whenever I go down it’s harder for me then going up why is that ik my legs r strong enough to get 445 but I can’t go down all the way on 445
Teacher Phill
Teacher Phill Month ago
There is definitely a reason why this is the biggest fitness channel on USvid. Thanks for all the good stuff!
Billy Month ago
Your videos are awesome, helping a lot with my correct mechanics as well as passing the correct knowledge and not bro science!
renata brogno
renata brogno Month ago
Very very helpful, THKS
Marissa Sanchez
Marissa Sanchez Month ago
Hey!. I did thrusters today!!
Erik Joosten
Erik Joosten Month ago
As a cyclist I found out many years ago that when I concentrate on my gluts within pedal rotation I had a lot more power. It's basically the same, this is the first time I see some one explain why this is important.
perviguana Month ago
m0untainw0lf Month ago
That is exactly what I did wrong. Thank u so much
Avik Chandra
Avik Chandra Month ago
Excellent! I cycle before squatting. And also a bit of treadmill. I will try this from tomorrow 👍
WBFbySteefen Month ago
People should not have flat hamstrings, people should have some rise, right? Leg curl machines give you rise? ? ? ! ! !
O Paz
O Paz Month ago
Looks like it can build some serious penile caluses.
Cradle the balls, swallow the gravy
Just before Leg Day! 🙏👍
Jyi Dorne
Jyi Dorne Month ago
Gotta show this video to a friend of mine who refuses to do glute bridges because "it's a ball buster move". :D
Harris Axer
Harris Axer Month ago
Jeff can you analyse the differences between front squat and back squat and the benefits of each for the olympic lifts?
Nishan Singh - Dating and Relationship Coach
Thanks Jeff, I did the hip exercise before I did squats today. It made a huge difference!!! I actually was to get a bit lower than usual when I was squatting and the intensity of the workout increased substantially. Seems I was doing the squat wrong for the past 20 years. Thanks, this advice is a Game Changer!
Eddy Jimenez
Eddy Jimenez Month ago
Wow! Ive always been concerned with squats due to really painful kneed, im really hoping i can do a proper squat now, thanx Jeff!
MERK RETRO Month ago
Those are dope shoes.
Roberto Smith
Roberto Smith Month ago
I was supposed to go do squats tonight but I had a bowl of ice cream while watching this video. Not gonna make the gains with that routine.
Bboy Arcane
Bboy Arcane Month ago
Make video DISPELLING ELECTRONIC ab stimulators
jason uttley
jason uttley Month ago
tHANKS FOR explaining "how & why."
Kalle Sandberg
Kalle Sandberg Month ago
Jeff, I have a problem. when i try this before my squatting sessions i only feel this exercise in my quads and my lower back.. Can you answer why this happens to me? im using about max 85-110 lbs in the hip thrust.
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