3 Quick Tips to Improve Your Squat, Bench, and Deadlift Strength

My brand new (free) Strength Workouts for Fat Loss Challenge is already being put to the test as many people have already begun their training program.

If you haven’t yet, you can download your free training manual HERE.

I’m not one to usually go for quick fixes, but in today’s article, I’m going to share 3 tips you can start using right now to improve your strength on the core lifts of the program.

Squats- Improve Your Upper Back Tightness

Image credit www.snoridgecrossfit.com

Image credit www.snoridgecrossfit.com

A strong and efficient squat is not only smooth but technically sound. Regardless of where you prefer to carry the bar, the torso should maintain its angle from beginning to end.

If you want to improve your squatting strength, then you need to get your upper back super tight.

A loose upper back is one of the most common mistakes during the squat.

How will a tight upper back help you?

First, it’ll allow you to stay much more upright when you squat. When you’re more upright you have a better chance to squat more weight because the bar is closer to the hips, rather than super far forward.

Second, think about where the bar goes on a barbell back squat.

Yep, you guessed it, on your back.

If your upper back isn’t tight then when you go to squat down, your upper body will fold over like a wet paper bag.

If you get to the bottom position of your squat and your upper back rounds forward, chances are you aren’t standing that weight up.

This is especially important as you progress week-to-week through the Strength Workouts for Fat Loss Challenge.

The weight will get heavier each week so it’s crucial to maintain tightness during every rep and set of squats that you do. Not only to improve your strength but also to prevent injury.

Here’s how to get your upper back tight–

  • Pick the bar position that you’re most comfortable with and stick with that. Whether it’s high bar or low bar, keeping a tight upper back is still crucial.
  • With the bar in position, place your hands around the barbell, generally just outside of shoulder width. The is personal preference here. Some prefer a wider grip while some like to get their hands in as close as possible to their shoulders.
  • With your hands where you like em’, squeeze your shoulder blades together and imagine you’re doing a pullup or lat pulldown. Try pulling your elbows together the entire time.
  • Now, maintain that tension and tightness throughout every rep. It may feel a bit uncomfortable at first but it’ll prevent you from collapsing forward as the weight gets heavier.

Get your upper back tighter, and you’ll increase your squat in minutes.

Bench-Chest to the Bar

dan green bench

Do you know the number one reason many lifters get stuck on a bench press rep?

They let their chests collapse.

This takes away the stable base to press against and lengthens the range of motion.

To improve your bench pressing strength, you’ll want a nice arch through the upper back. Not only does this shorten the range of motion, which is useful for pressing more weight, but it also feels better for most people’s shoulders.

Do you want to know how to instantly boost your bench press strength?

Try to reach your chest TO the bar as the bar is on the way down. This will ensure that you’re arching your upper back and you’ll maintain a ton of tightness by doing this.

Reaching your chest to the bar will keep your upper back, lats, and shoulder blades tight and locked in. You’ll also likely reduce the range of motion which is going to help you lift more weight.

In this sense, reducing the range of motion is a good thing because we’re focused on strength gains, not maximum muscle development. Since the bench press is the major compound upper body lift in the Strength Workouts for Fat Loss Challenge, you’ll want to make sure you’re using this tip to your advantage to maximize your strength gains.

 Deadlift-Shoulders Down

Sumo- PR of 510lbs

Sumo- PR of 510lbs

The deadlift is an awesome strength builder.

But for whatever reason, a lot of people want to turn it into a shrugging movement when they get near lockout.

If you want to pick up the most weight possible, and in the safest way possible, shrugging at the top is not what I’d recommend.

Instead, try to shrug your shoulders down away from your ears.

This shortens the range of motion, protects your traps and neck, and dramatically increases your strength.

If you do this properly, you should feel the lats engage as you reach hard towards the floor. 

Sometimes the reason people end up shrugging the weight at the top is due to the way they set-up in the beginning. 

You want to make sure that you take the slack out of the bar before you pull. And the only way to do that properly is to shrug away from your ears.

Try it right now as you’re reading this.

Sit up nice and tall and try to push your shoulders down away from your ears. Take one hand and place it in your armpit while shrugging down. You should feel the armpit tighten. This is very effective when you perform deadlifts and will instantly improve your strength and safety of the lift.

The Strength Workouts for Fat Loss Challenge 

If you’re interested in gaining strength and losing body fat then be sure to grab your free training manual HERE.

The Challenge manual includes:

  • My brand new 31-day training program to boost strength by focusing on heavy, compound lifts
  • A 3x a week strength training program to strengthen the core, legs, back, chest and arms
  • 2 of my favorite metabolic conditioning circuits to improve fat loss, enhance recovery, and burn loads of calories
  • My top 5 strength building guidelines 
  • 4 of the most important nutritional rules to follow for fat loss
  • A how to section so you know exactly what to do over the course of the 31-day challenge
  • A commonly asked questions and answers section so you fully understand the program

You can absolutely gain strength and get leaner at the same time, and this challenge will show you just how to do it.

Take the Challenge to Burn Fat and Boost Strength Now


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