4 Best Accessory Lifts for Your Squat
Video by Hunter Britt

Want to squat more? Then squat more! That’s a common train of thought when it comes to making gains on any lift. Just do more of them. But that’s rarely the answer and can actually lead to injury and imbalances. Instead, try some of these ways to improve your squat without just getting a barbell out and doing more reps.

These accessory lifts will allow you to increase your strength for squatting without actually squatting – something your joints will thank you for. So if you’ve found yourself on a squatting plateau or if your excessive volume is causing soreness or injury, you should replace some of your squatting with one or all of these accessory lifts.

Safety Squat Bar

  • Although you are still squatting here, you won’t be able to load as heavy so your joints will feel better.
  • This feels more like a front squat and really hits your quads.
  • It forces your upper back into a folded over position but fight to stay as upright as possible to build strength. This will give you more confidence to hold that upright position once you go back to your barbell.

Barbell Good Morning

  • Even though this is a hinging movement, it is a great way to help you improve your squat as well because, especially with back squats, we must start with a slight hip hinge. The stronger you are maintaining some forward lean the better!
  • Excellent accessory to increase glute and hamstring strength.

Front Foot Elevated Lunge

  • Easier on the joints than the traditional back squat because you can’t load as heavy.
  • Most athletes have a dominant leg – unilateral work helps balance you out whether it be with strength, mobility or stability.
  • Elevating the front foot allows for a little more range of motion.

Supine GHD Plank

  • Abs are not only glamor muscles but are also extremely important in the squat. Strong abs keep you from folding over under load. The stronger your abs are the stronger you can brace or push through your belt (if you wear one).

If you know where your squat breaks down – upper back, abs, posterior chain, that weak leg – then choose the appropriate accessory lift from the list above. If you are unsure or are feeling the effects of too much squatting volume, doing all of the above certainly won’t hurt your numbers. Accessories for gains!

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