Depending on your overall focus, you will need to tailor your squat techniques to optimize your workouts. There are major differences between squatting for power and squatting for muscle gains.
Here’s what you need to know…
– After the newbie stage, you need to pick between getting stronger or getting bigger and squat accordingly.
– Mix lower rep squats and higher rep squats for hypertrophy (8-12 and even sets of 25 or 50) and use lower rep squats for strength (1-5).
– Tempos with a slow eccentric are often useful for bodybuilding squats but usually have no place in powerlifting squats.
– A longer time under tension is great for hypertrophy, but not so great for strength.
– Generally speaking, use a high-bar placement for bodybuilding squats and a low-bar placement for powerlifting squats.
– For building muscle, mix up short rest periods and long rest. When training for strength, have a minimum of three minutes rest between sets to maximize recovery and strength.
– A bodybuilding squat requires a narrow stance while a powerlifting squat is best approached with a hip dominant stance.
Bodybuilding vs. Powerlifting Squat Summary
1. Reps. Mix lower reps and higher reps for hypertrophy (8-12 and even sets of 25 or 50) and use lower reps for strength (1-5).
2. Weight. Always aim to get stronger, but for hypertrophy, you can build muscle with heavy weights and with lighter weights. For strength, always train pretty heavy.
3. Tempo. Know how to use tempo to your advantage to build muscle and strength. Tempos with a slow eccentric are often useful for bodybuilding but usually have no place in powerlifting.
4. Time Under Tension. A longer time under tension is great for hypertrophy but not so great for strength.
5. Bar Placement. Generally speaking, use a high-bar placement for bodybuilding squats and a low-bar placement for powerlifting.
6. Body Position. Keep an upright body posture when trying to build muscle. (If you’re a taller lifter, you may have a tendency to lean forward when lifting heavy weights, but that’s fine.) Body position doesn’t matter so much for powerlifting. Use whatever works for you.
7. Rest Time. For building muscle, mix up short rest periods and long rest. When training for strength, have a minimum of three minutes rest between sets to maximize recovery and strength.
8. Range Of Motion. The simple rule of thumb for both disciplines is squat as deep as possible without pain or discomfort. Work on mobility if needed to improve squat range of motion.
9. Stance. Generally, a bodybuilding squat requires a closer narrow stance while a powerlifting squat does better with a more hip dominant stance. However, your squat stance is based very much on the genetic construction of your hips, so find a stance that feels comfortable for you.
10. Muscle Contraction. When trying to build muscle be sure to focus on squeezing and contracting the muscle as hard as possible. Your rest time at the top is a good time to squeeze. Forget about squeezing the muscles for powerlifting. Keep tight, but use this time to recover slightly so you can be strong for your next rep(s).
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