As I have stated in my other post, I have been training with Jim for over a decade. Everything I know or have been taught has came from Wendler himself which causes people to get frustrated with me because I'm ultimately one sided, and that side would be everything I learned from Jim. That doesn't mean I don't keep an open mind with other techniques, programs, or suggestions. This just means what I have learned from Wendler has worked.

Squatting when i started training with Jim was never my favorite, i actually hated it because i was never a strong squatter before i met Jim. My mobility was terrible and my lower body strength needed a lot of work. My first month training with Jim was all mobility and body weight work before i even touched a barbell. My squat technique was terrible so a lot of my squatting was done on a box squat box before i went to squatting without one.  As you will see in the article Jim talks about getting your butt back and opening your knees. When i started with Jim when i was 16 we dedicated at least three weeks to my form and it contained three steps, step one, butt back; step two, squat down; step three, open knees. I did that for a few weeks before he started me out squatting. You will learn more on the squat technique as you go through the article.


Photo- courtesy of TNATION

Seminars are now a thing of the past for me. However, that doesn't mean I'm through with passing on everything I know about strength – I just need a new medium to take the experience up a level. And I think this "virtual squat seminar" is the answer.

For years I was a part of the seminar program at EliteFTS. Dave Tate originally began taking me to seminars to help him out as it's much easier doing the hands-on portion when you have two people. Eventually, Dave handed me the reigns and I began doing seminars on my own.

The best thing I learned from Dave about squatting was this mantra: "Everyone has their own squatting style, but one must learn the best technique for their style."

Not everyone is going to squat the same way. Some may use a high bar or a low bar, others may have more forward lean or use a narrower stance. For my money, the two greatest squatters I've ever seen in person (not on a video) are Steve Goggins and Oleksandr Kutcher. Both guys have very different squat styles but also possess world-class squatting strength.

Despite the differences and styles of squatting, there's some common ground amongst every great squatter. And after watching, coaching, and teaching thousands of people in the squat, I've learned a couple of things that should help any style of squat.

Listed below are some common problems and a variety of solutions. These can apply to just about any squat style and could help you move more weight when the bar is on your back.

Reaching Proper Depth

For most lifters who have problems reaching depth, narrowing their stance usually fixes the problem. Now there are some lifters who have great flexibility in their hips and can reach depth with a wider stance, and can do this with no hip pain. But since they have no problems with depth and hip pain, this becomes a moot point.

Remember that having a narrower stance does not mean a narrow stance. A "wide stance" is usually defined as a stance that's much wider than shoulder width.

When people narrow their stance to shoulder-width or slightly wider, two problems usually arise. First, their squat numbers go down. This is normal, and your body and legs will quickly catch up to you. You have to be patient and learn to do things correctly. I've been guilty of this many times and know the frustration.

Mentally, this can be a big problem, and one thing I tell people is that there are many examples of people squatting huge weights with narrower stances. A quick search of YouTube reaffirms this, with Pat Mendes being a great example.

The second problem is that people over-estimate their shoulder width. This is similar to Imaginary Lat Syndrome (ILS). I had this problem until I had my wife measure the distance between the outsides of my shoulders. I then took this measurement and placed two pieces of tape on the carpet that I squat on. Using this as a guideline, I now have a reminder of where to put my feet, which keeps me honest.

Now there are some lifters that can achieve proper depth with a wide/very wide stance while also remaining injury free. To those that can do this, I applaud you.

Lead with the Knees and Butt


Photo- courtesy of TNATION

People generally learn to begin the squat two ways: either by pushing their butt back first, or by leading with the knees. The former is usually because of a powerlifting background and the latter is associated with bodybuilding (and sometimes Olympic lifting).

Like most things in the lifting and fitness world, the answer lies somewhere in the middle. When people only push their butts back first, there's a tendency to lean way forward and try to reach depth with their head, eyes, and back. When the knees shoot forward, not only does this stress the knees to a great degree (the knee becoming the stress point of the lift), but it becomes nearly impossible to reach proper depth.

The answer is to learn how to simultaneously push the butt back and open up the knees to the sides. I like to teach people to push back a few inches (like they're going to do a good morning or a Romanian deadlift) and then open up the knees and fall into the squat.

As a coaching point, the terms "open up the groin" or "show your groin" (or any other acceptable terms for the penis/vagina region) seem to work well. When you use a shoulder-width stance, pushing your knees out becomes much easier to do. Combine this with a pushing your ass back and reaching depth becomes much easier.

To see the whole article go to TNATION,  take a look at Wendlers 5/3/1 book.