If you look at body builders, it’s about building muscle, it’s all about the pump you’re getting, it’s all about trying to build new muscle, getting the muscle stronger. With power lifting you have to do both. You have to move the barbell efficiently, you also have to get bigger because at some point you’re not going to get more efficient with the barbell, you have to get bigger to get stronger or if you’re big, at some point you have to get more efficient with the barbell for your number to go up. It’s a combination of both.
A really good way, if you’re somewhat new with squatting, to figure out how to make your squat more efficient is to get an exact side view of your squat and draw a line in your bottom position, going from the middle of your foot to your shoulder and that’s basically going to show you how efficient your bar path is. If your foot to your shoulder, if that straight line, if your knee’s like behind it or too far forward, you won’t have an efficient bar path. Ideally you want it cutting your leg directly in half. If you don’t have that, you have to figure out how to get to an optimal position.
On ways to improve your squats, slow descending squats are awesome for people who have issues kind of like, what a slow descending squat basically will do, you go down for about a five second count, you do a slight pause, you explode up. What that does, is it slows down the process of the squat and it makes you more efficient and it makes you more aware of what you’re doing to get to your bottom position. To be a good squatter, you have to have a great bottom position. You have to figure out how to get to that optimal position the best way
When you slow down your squat and you do enough reps, your body will naturally just figure out the best way to get there. That’s why you do slow descending squats. That’s one way to optimize your squat like off the bat without even having to put much thought in it. Other than that, you just have to figure out what you’re bad at and then do accessory work to directly combat that issue. Pole squats are always good, no matter what. High bar squats are good. I’ll say this, if you’re someone who dead lifts a lot more than they squat, typically you’re going to be someone who is posterior chain dominant.
You’re going to want to do a lot of high bar squats. If you squat more than you dead lift, you’ll probably be quad dominant and you’re going to want to do things to work on your posterior. Things like seated good mornings, standing good mornings, low bar squats, anything like that. In general, you have to be able to look at a situation, figure out what you’re good at, figure out what you’re bad at, attack the things you’re bad at with everything in power lifting. That’s just how it is. You can’t really have everything like always spoonfed to you. You’re going to have to look at these things, figure out what you’re bad at, learn exercises and attack them.