By John Parker, Certified Trainer

After years of coaching the back squat, I believe it’s the most bang-for-your-buck movement for your lower body, strength, and power. But, I see a common mistake with trainee’s back squat mechanics. They focus only on using the legs to lift the weight. They should focus on pushing away from the earth while simultaneously extending their back into the bar.

Powerlifters know that to have a big squat, you have to have a big deadlift. The opposite is also true: big deadlifts come from big squats. The posterior chain is a powerful group of muscles on the backside of the body. Its engagement allows the lifter to remain tight throughout the course of their compound lifts and eek out every percent of power they have.

Keeping this in mind, I’ve been adding this back squat warm-up to my routine. Start with light weights and perform a “squat morning” to engage the hamstrings, glutes, and lower back.

This sequenced ascent is a primer before loading up the barbell. Do 2-3 sets of 5-8 reps:

  1. Squat to maximum depth.
  2. Ascend with the hips first – keeping a neutral spine.
  3. Finish the movement with an ascent of the chest back to starting position.

Let me know how you feel when doing the “squat morning” before your next leg day workout! I felt great on today’s training!

About Author:
John has over 10 years of experience as a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. ""As a generalist, I focus on a skill set in many avenues of physical activity to lead my clients through functional training and sustainable results."" Learn more about John at

Experience: CSCS, CHEK HLC, Exercise Coach, StrongFirst-StrengthMatters, FDN-P

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