How To Squat More (Add 10-20lbs+ On In 30 Days)

how to squat more

If you’ve reached a plateau in your squat and can’t seem to squat more weight no matter how hard you try, then you’ve come to the right place because I’m going to teach you how to squat more in just 30 days.

To increase your squat in the next 30 days, you will need to make sure you are (1) squatting 2-3 days a week, (2) introducing squat variations that train weaknesses, and (3) systematically progressing your loading every week to drive neurological and muscular adaptations.

To make the next 30 days easier for you, I have come up with a few common reasons why you may be struggling to increase your squat along with solutions for those issues.

I’m also providing you with a 30-day squat program that will help you increase your squat by 10-20 lbs or more.

If you are looking to build a strong squat, let Fitbod help. On average, a new Fitbod user who trains 3 times a week for about 45 minutes will see a 34% strength increase after 3 months. Try Fitbod for free.

Squat Overview

The squat is a lower body movement that involves sitting down and then standing up. The depth at which you squat can vary, however, squats are typically performed to the point where your hip crease is below the top of your thighs in the bottom position, if not lower.

Your legs make up the primary muscle groups required for squatting, and depending on your depth, you may be using more or less of one muscle group. 

It’s important to understand how each muscle group contributes so that you can identify weaknesses in your squat and work on them to squat more weight.



The quads help to lower you into the bottom of your squat with control, but their most important function during the squat is to extend the knees to help you stand back up.

Those who have a more upright squat will rely on their quads more than those who have a low-bar style squat. 

If you’re struggling to stand back up out of the bottom position then your quads are too weak for the weight you’re attempting to squat.



The glutes are also active in the bottom position of the squat because they work to extend the hips. The lower you sit into a squat (hip flexion), the more glutes you will recruit your glute muscles to extend the hips as you start to stand back up.



The hamstrings are not a primary mover in the squat, but they do help to extend (straighten) the hips and stabilize the knees. You should not feel your hamstrings working during a squat; if you do, then you might be pushing your hips too far back and turning your squat into more of a goodmorning exercise.

Need a workout program? Try Fitbod for Free.

5 Limiting Factors In The Squat

limiting factors in the squat

The following are five common limiting factors in the squat. Most issues in the squat will come back to one of these and can be addressed by implementing the tips below.

1. Poor Squat Mobility

Mobility, specifically limitations in the range of motion of your joints, affects your ability to sit low in the squat and maintain proper positioning.

If you can sit low enough that your hip crease is below the top of the thighs at the bottom of the squat, your back is flat, and your feet are flat on the ground, you have enough mobility to squat and this isn’t a limiting factor for you.

If you struggle to sit low in the squat or your heels lift when you try to squat lower, then you have a mobility issue.

You can work around this issue by placing small plates or wedges under the heels to elevate them 1-2 inches. This will help you sit lower and maintain a vertical back angle. 

However, this is just a band-aid solution so you should also focus on improving your mobility by incorporating stretches like the couch stretch and implementing an ankle mobility routine.

Being able to squat lower will help you build muscle at the weakest range of motion and improve your control at the bottom of the squat, ultimately leading to you squatting more weight over time.

2. Lack Of Muscle Mass 

I always tell people that growing muscle before entering a strength phase is key, as it allows you to increase your potential of getting stronger. Adding more muscle mass to your frame gives you more muscle fibers that can be trained to produce force, just like a car with more horsepower can go faster.

Once you have built muscle, you can teach those muscle fibers to contract together, exert more force, and optimize their activity to synchronize their contractions to improve peak absolute strength (the same way you would fine-tune a car engine to fire on all cylinders).

Too often, beginners (and even more advanced lifters) get hyper-focused on trying to get stronger and lifting heavy singles and doubles all the time rather than focusing on building a better foundation. 

You should be training for 6-8 weeks at moderate rep ranges (5-10 reps) for your strength movements before going into a 6-8 week strength-focused phase (1-5 reps). 

If you aren’t implementing distinct hypertrophy and strength phases, then you are missing out on the potential to produce strength gains year after year (and minimize injury from constantly training near your one rep maximum).

3. Inconsistent Squat Frequency

Squatting is a skill; if you want to improve, you must do it more often. This doesn’t mean you need to train it every day or train it to the maximum intensity every session, but you should be training it at least twice a week.

If you struggle with the squat, training it three times a week would be ideal as it would allow you to dial in your technique, train the muscle fibers and movement pattern in higher volumes, and help you gain more confidence.

If you’re only squatting once or twice a week, step it up to three times with the sample program below.

If you are already squatting three times a week, and have been for months, then your frequency shouldn’t be an issue. This means that there is another issue at play that’s preventing you from squatting more.

4. Loss Of Control In The Lowering Phase

When lowering into a squat, you want to ensure that you control the load and keep yourself in an optimal position. Many lifters will collapse into the bottom of the squat (often involuntary) due to a lack of strength in the bottom range or loss of tension in the body. 

If you dive bomb into the bottom position, it will be incredibly difficult to stand back up and it will dramatically increase your risk of injury.

To fix this issue, you need to learn to slow the movement down and focus on maintaining tension in your quads, glutes, and core as you sit deeper into the squat. 

This can be a very challenging task for many lifters, which is why I often have lifters (of all levels) train pause squats, tempo squats, and regular squats with moderate load to develop better control and awareness before entering into a strength block.

5. Bar Path Is Not Vertical

When you look at a video of your squat from the side angle, you should see that the bar moves up and down in a vertical line, always above the middle/front part of the foot.

If the bar travels forward as you lower into your squat, this tells you that there is a horizontal path the bar is taking during its journey which means you’re losing power and wasting energy.

An ideal bar path should be vertical throughout the movement, as this means you are applying your force directly upwards into the bar to move it vertically as efficiently as possible. 

To fix your bar path, you should practice squatting with low-to-moderate loads and video yourself from the side angle to trace the bar’s path. 

Oftentimes, simply becoming more aware of the ideal bar path and using the video for feedback is enough to correct the issue. However, if your bar path is off because of a weakness or mobility issue, it will take more time to address.

If you notice your hips are shooting up and your torso leans forward, then you have a technique issue:

  • If this issue is caused by a lack of mobility, refer to “Limiting Factor #1” (discussed above).
  • If you struggle to stay upright because your quads are weak, then you should do more hack squats, front squats, and safety bar squats to strengthen your quads.

Related Article: What to Do When You Have a Sore Back from Squatting

How To Squat More In 30 Days

how to squat more in 30 days

Below are five tips to squat more in 30 days.

Squat Three Days a Week

Squatting three times a week allows you to train it often enough to progress while also giving you enough time between sessions to recover optimally. 

By training your squat three times a week, you can have days where you perform sessions that focus on technique and speed, a session that focuses on strength development, and a session that focuses on absolute force output (your ability to move the most amount of loads, often for neuromuscular purposes).

Do One Max Effort Day a Week (Preferably a Squat Variation)

Training the squat more frequently allows you to add variety and spread your overall volume and intensity across the week. In doing so, you can dedicate a day to max effort squat training, preferably with a similar squat variation to the back squat (or whatever squat you want to increase in 30 days).

Choosing a similar yet slightly different squat version of this max effort day allows you to train hard but train the body differently enough that you can decrease the risk of an overuse injury. 

The key to choosing a variation is to choose something pain-free and that emphasizes a weak point. 

Here are some of my favorite variants:

Safety Bar Squat

The safety bar squat is a great variation for developing better core bracing (creating tension in the torso) and improving your quad strength in the squat. 

Due to the specialty barbell (the SB bar), the load is placed slightly in front of the midfoot, forcing a more upright squat and more quad usage (rather than allowing the hips to shoot back and letting the glutes and back take over).

Front Squat

The front squat is another quad-dominant squat variation that can improve the contribution of the quads in the squat and help you maintain a more upright torso position. 

The front squat is my favorite variation to use for lifters who struggle with their hips shooting up out of the hole, causing a forward lean.

While this is not necessarily the wrong way to squat, it shifts more of the loading onto the back and hips, which could result in more strain on the back and make it harder to progress over time.

With a front squat, the lifter can’t lean forward without the bar tipping off the shoulders so it teaches the lifter to use their quads and stay upright rather than letting the hips shoot up. 

Related Article: Using Front Squats to Build Bigger Quads

Box Squat

The box squat is a variation that can be helpful for lifters who struggle to load their hips and hamstrings in the squat or those lifters who need to develop more strength in a specific sticking point (such as getting stuck at parallel). 

Box squats can be a good way to address areas of weakness because you can squat to a few inches below that range of motion, pause, and then aggressively stand up and isolate the range at which you are weakest.

Squat with Bands or Chains

Squatting with bands or chains is called accommodating resistance, which can help increase muscle growth and strength. Researchers found that training with chains increased bench press and squat strength by 9 and 6%, respectively, as compared to those who trained strength without additional chains.

Adding bands is a very similar concept, and allows you to load tension without bands. When doing this, you will want to control the lowering phase as usual, and then work to lift the loads aggressively. 

As you lift the weight, the heavier it gets, forcing you to work hard throughout the entire range of motion which helps lifters to bust through sticking points.

Prioritize Recovery

If your goal these 30 days is to increase your squat to the best of your abilities, then you need to prioritize your recovery as much as you prioritize your squat sessions. This means eating enough calories to fuel performance, getting 7-9 hours of sleep, and limiting other activities that may conflict with your goal (i.e. running).

If you’re not recovering properly then you will not reach your full strength potential over the next 30 days, but you will increase your risk of injury.

Don’t Train to Failure Every Session

It is important to have a max effort day to train your body to lift heavier, however, doing that every day can result in injury or overtraining (especially if you’re an advanced lifter).

This is why having a program that progressively overloads every week is important. Progressive overload involves gradually and systematically increasing either load (weight), sets, or reps throughout a program. With planned progressive overloading, you will get the best results possible.

Most days of the week you should be training hard, but not to absolute failure. This will allow you to progress consistently over the 30 days rather than having one good week of lifting and then regressing (or getting injured).

Make Small Increases Every Week

When increasing stress (load or volume), it is also important not to increase it too rapidly. Otherwise, you can increase your risk of injury. 

For this program’s focus (squat more weight), we will increase the loading you lift by 2-5% weekly. 

More advanced and stronger lifters should opt for smaller increases (2-3%) whereas beginners could aim to increase weekly loads by 4-5%.

Improve Your Back & Core Strength

A strong back and core are essential to nearly every lift you do in the gym, including the squat. If you cannot maintain a neutral spine by resisting the weight’s desire to fold your chest to your knees in the squat, you will struggle to squat more weight.

The easiest way to improve your back and core stability is to train the back directly and to squat more often with your spine neutral to reinforce the position. 

Some of my favorite exercises to include are bent-over rows (both Pendlay rows and 45-degree angle), lat pulldowns, conventional deadlifts, back extensions, deadbugs, and weighted planks.

How Much More Can You Realistically Squat In 30 Days?

While it is difficult to give an absolute answer, most beginners could see a 5-10% improvement just from learning to be more efficient with their technique and bar path. 

For example, going from 200 lbs to 210-220 lbs.

More advanced lifters will see less of an increase because they already have good form and are more trained. Advanced lifters could see an improvement of 2-5% in their squat after 30 days.

 For example, going from 405 lbs to 415-425 lbs

It is important to point out that increases in the squat should be expressed as percentages rather than absolute numbers for context, as stronger athletes may have larger increases in total weight than beginners. 

For example, a more advanced lifter who improves their squat 20 lbs from 405 lbs to 425 lbs has an increase of 5%. A beginner who increases their squat by 20 lbs from 135 lbs to 155 lbs has an increase of 15%.

Looking for a workout program? Try using the Fitbod App, which will design your program based on your logged training data and goals. The workouts will adapt automatically to your levels of recovery and rate of progress. With over 600 movements and exercises videos, you can be sure to perform the movements correctly for optimal results. Take the guesswork out of your workouts. Try Fitbod for free.

Sample Workouts For Adding 10-20lbs To Your Squat In 30 Days

sample workouts for adding 10-20lbs to your squat

Below is a three-day workout program designed to help you add 10-20lbs to your squat in 30 days. The exact amount you can increase may exceed this range, as it depends on your overall lifting experience and level. 

10-20 lbs is a realistic, and very manageable amount of weight to improve upon in a month’s time with the program detailed below.

Note: you should only do this program if you have completed a program that had you squatting 2-3 months leading up to this phase in the 5-10 rep range. If you jump into this heavy squat training cycle without proper acclimation (a base, hypertrophy phase), you will be more likely to get injured and limit your results.

Day 1

  • Safety Bar Squat: see chart below
  • Week 1: 5 sets of 5 reps at 82%
  • Week 2: 6 sets of 4 reps at 85%
  • Week 3: 7 sets of 3 reps at 88%
  • Week 4: 8 sets of 2 reps at 90%
  • Romanian Deadlift: 3 sets of 8 reps
  • Seated Hamstring Curl: 3 sets of 8 reps

Day 2

  • Back Squat: see chart below
  • Week 1: 5 sets of 5 reps at 82%
  • Week 2: 6 sets of 4 reps at 85%
  • Week 3: 7 sets of 3 reps at 88%
  • Week 4: 8 sets of 2 reps at 90%
  • Hip Thrust: 3 sets of 8 reps
  • Lying Hamstring Curl: 3 sets of 8 reps

Day 3

  • Box Squat with Chains or Bands: work up to a heavy single
  • Hack Squat: 3 sets of 8 reps
  • Seated Hamstring Curl: 3 sets of 8 reps

About The Author

Mike Dewar

Mike holds a Master’s in Exercise Physiology and a Bachelor’s in Exercise Science. He’s a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), USA Weightlifting Advanced Coach, and has over 10+ years of experience working with collegiate athletes, national level lifters, and beginners alike. Mike is Founder of J2FIT Strength and Conditioning, a growing global training company with gyms in New York City, Cincinnati, and online offering personal training, online custom coaching programs.