Get a Better Squat Rack Workout in 6 Easy Steps

Jeff Baldelli
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Start with Your Stretches

Before you begin the workout, you should always begin your routine with some warm-up stretches. Stretching is essential for people who exercise and is a good way to get the blood flowing throughout your body.

Not only that, but stretching can prevent injuries and muscle pulls before you begin your workout. In particular, you should focus on working the area you plan to workout. For example, if you are going to focus on your legs, you will want to do some stretches that will specifically work under your legs.

If you can already do a list of exercises, it’s a good idea to go ahead and do them. This way, you will be working on keeping your body active and flexible instead of just eating that cheetos bag in your hand.

For your cool-down stretches, focus on the muscles you just worked out. If you’re leg day is today, spend fifteen or twenty minutes stretching your hamstrings and quads out. Stretch one leg at a time. Hold each stretch for at least thirty seconds.

Power Cleans

One of the most effective ways to build explosive power is through the use of the power clean. More than a decade ago, a group of researchers from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, examined the effects of power cleans and bench throws on various factors related to sports performance.

The structure of this study was a little different from the norm. The researchers tested 14 trained athletes to determine the power clean 1RM, 1RM bench throw, vertical jump power, and squat 1RM right before each group of participants was trained for 14 weeks using either power cleans or bench throws.

At the end of the study, the researchers measured the power clean 1RM, 1RM bench throw, vertical jump power, and squat 1RM again and compared the results to the findings from the baseline test.

Category 1RM 1RM Bench Throw Power Clean Vertical Jump Squat Power Clean Bench Throw Squat

Conclusion 2.3% increase in power 7.9% increase in power Squat increased 2.8% Bench throw increased 3.0% Squat increased 13.3% Bench throw increased 5.2%

Improvements in power clean and 1RM bench throw were similar, however, results in squats demonstrated a resistance training program more precise to power lifters.

Back Squats

Though back squats are an intense, full body exercise and do require a large amount of energy from your muscles, common advice is to forget counting your repetitions and just focus on doing as many squats as you can each day.

In other words, use heavy weights and train yourself with sets of repetition goals. For example, if you can do 10 squats with a 45 lb. bar, then try to meet or reach that goal every single day. Your body will adapt over time, and soon you’ll notice that you’re using the same bar or less and making it up to more than 10 reps. Continue this cycle until you reach your highest possible of weight (which, by the way, is heavy indeed).

Remember that the goal is to do as many consecutive reps as possible, and so you should not be doing the same number of sets from day to day. You may not be able to do 10 without taking a break in between reps 1-5 on day 1, but you may be able to take a little breather and do the last 5 reps in a row on Day 7. As time goes on, you’ll be able to do 20, 30, 40, 60, and more reps in a row, without stopping for a break.

Floor Presses

Hitting the chest with heavy weights is a good workout for anyone, but I like to add a couple of floor presses to stimulate my muscles in a slightly different way. This is really good if you over-rely on machines in the gym and consider the squat rack your home.

Using a light weight, lie on your back on a bench (a regular flat bench is fine for this), holding the bar over your chest. Lower it until it’s a few inches from your chest, pause, then push it back up.

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When you’re lying on the bench, you want your chin to be somewhere above the bar. You’re going to be pushing it away from your body, so the higher up your head gets, the easier this will be.

The first thing you’re going to do is lower the bar to the bottom of your chest, pausing briefly before you begin pushing again. This gives you time to get set up with the correct form and to really squeeze your chest with every press.

It may help to keep your elbows above your wrists. If you feel like your elbows are too far back, push your entire arm past your chest until it is over your face.

Ab Rollouts

Step One: Grab on to a bar or piece of metal with an overhand grip and your palms facing away from your body.

Step Two: Position yourself so that your upper arms are parallel to your torso and your knees are slightly bent.

Step Three: Lower your entire body, including your head, until your upper arms are a foot or so from your torso.

Step Four: Hold and then roll back up to the start position.

Step Five: Aim for 3 sets of 10 reps each day.

The Ab Rollout is an exercise that targets your core and upper body.

Good Mornings

The Good Morning is a move in which you stand with your feet shoulder width apart and squat down until the tops of your thighs are parallel or slightly below parallel to the ground. It is similar to a Deadlift, but with a bend in the back.

It’s a great exercise because it targets the muscles in your lower back, the glutes, hams, and calves. It also builds strength in your lower body.

In order to lift the amount of weight that you want, you need to get a nice, deep bend and flush your torso against the bar. The lower you can get, the more weight you can lift.

There are many ways to improve the Good Morning. Here are some tips:

  • Set up in front of a squat rack with the bar at the appropriate height for the deadlift position. Platform shoes with a heel raise help a lot in this exercise.
  • Start with your feet shoulder width apart and your feet and shoulders fully facing straight ahead. Your chest should remain up and core engaged throughout the entire exercise. Now, start to slowly lower yourself until your upper back is parallel or slightly below parallel to the ground.
  • Make sure you contract your glutes and lower back as you are going down and squeeze your hams. Keep your jaw tight and maintain control of the weight.