Squat Assistance Exercises Building a Stronger Squat

Squat Assistance Exercises: Building a Stronger Squat

To build a stronger squat, incorporating assistance exercises into your training regimen is essential. These exercises strengthen the muscles and movement patterns that contribute to squat performance, addressing weaknesses and imbalances that can hinder progress. This article outlines key assistance exercises to help you develop a more powerful and robust squat.

Hip Thrusts for Glute Strength

Why They Help: The glutes are pivotal in driving the upward phase of the squat. Hip thrusts specifically target the gluteus maximus, which is essential for powerful hip extension.

How to Perform:

  • Sit on the ground with your upper back against a bench and a barbell over your hips.
  • Plant your feet flat on the ground, shoulder-width apart.
  • Drive through your heels and thrust your hips upward, fully extending your hips at the top.
  • Lower back down and repeat for reps.

Romanian Deadlifts for Hamstring Development

Why They Help: Strong hamstrings support the squat by stabilizing the knee and assisting in hip extension. Romanian deadlifts effectively target the hamstrings and glutes without overloading the lower back.

How to Perform:

  • Hold a barbell in front of you with an overhand grip.
  • With a slight bend in your knees, hinge at your hips and lower the barbell while keeping your back straight.
  • Lower the barbell until you feel a stretch in your hamstrings, then drive through your hips to return to the starting position.

Bulgarian Split Squats for Unilateral Strength

Why They Help: Imbalances between legs can be a common issue. Bulgarian split squats ensure that each leg is working independently, which can correct asymmetries.

How to Perform:

  • Stand a couple of feet in front of a bench and place one foot behind you on the bench.
  • Lower your hips until your front thigh is almost horizontal, keeping your knee in line with your foot.
  • Drive up through your front heel to return to the starting position.

Front Squats for Quadriceps and Core

Why They Help: Front squats place more emphasis on the quads and require significant core engagement, both of which contribute to a strong squat.

How to Perform:

  • Start with the barbell on your front shoulders, with your elbows up and hands open, fingers under the bar.
  • Perform a squat by lowering your body, keeping your elbows high throughout the movement.
  • Drive through your heels and use your quads to return to the starting position.

Core Strengthening for Stability

Why They Help: A strong core maintains your posture and stability during a squat. Exercises like planks and anti-rotational movements prevent energy leaks and improve the transfer of force.

How to Perform:

  • For planks, maintain a straight body line from head to heels, engaging your core for a set duration.
  • For anti-rotational exercises, use a cable machine or resistance band to resist twisting, which engages your obliques and transverse abdominis.

Box Squats for Explosiveness

Why They Help: Box squats can improve explosive power by training the squatting movement from a dead stop and eliminating the stretch reflex.

How to Perform:

  • Set up a box or bench behind you that allows you to squat to at least parallel.
  • Lower onto the box slowly, briefly pause, then explode upward to return to the starting position.


By integrating these squat assistance exercises into your muscle-building program, you can address weaknesses, improve muscle activation, and enhance overall squat strength. Remember to incorporate these exercises progressively, focusing on the quality of movement and the specific areas they target. Consistent practice, along with these supplementary movements, will lead to noticeable improvements in your squat performance and contribute to greater muscle gains.

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