Primary Muscle Group: Quadriceps, Hamstrings, Glutes
Secondary Muscle Group: Abs, Adductors, Calves, Lower Back
Equipment Needed: Barbell, Weight Plates, Squat Rack
The Benefits of Barbell Squat
The barbell squat is a key compound movement that emphasizes building muscle in the legs muscles and overall body strength. It's the classic way to start a leg day, and is a worthy focal point to a lower-body training workout plan. The squat is a competitive lift in the sport of powerlifting, but is also a classic measurement of lower-body strength. With the barbell resting on the upper back, the emphasis is placed on the posterior chain but the entire body gets worked. The back squat can be trained in everything from heavy singles to sets of 20 reps or higher, depending on your fitness goals.
Some of the benefits to the barbell Squats are;
Adds size and strength to the quads, glutes, and hamstrings.
Helps build a strong lower back and core.
Can be used to improve conditioning and cardiovascular health.
Considered by many to be "the king of exercises".
If you are looking for other exercises that are the best for building muscle or wanting to lose body fat then you should check our Free Workout Plan or our Workout Plans With Coaching for professionally designed workout plans that have been proven to get results.
The Risks of doing Barbell Squat
The risk that comes with squats are based on improper form or current injuries or movement issues. A perfect squat requires ankle mobility (dorsiflexion) , Hip Mobility (external rotation) and thoracic spine mobility. Lack of mobility in any of these areas can contribute to bad form. Bad form will contribute to an increase injury risk.
How To Do Barbell Squat
1. Set up for the exercise by setting the barbell to just below shoulder height and loading the weight you want to use.
2. Stand under the bar with your feet at about shoulder width apart.
3. Position the bar so that it is resting on the muscles on the top of your back, not on the back of your neck. The bar should feel comfortable. If it doesn't, try adding some padding to the bar.
4. Now take your hands over the back and grip the bar with a wide grip for stability.
5. You should now bend at the knees and straighten your back in preparation to take the weight off the rack.
6. Keeping your back straight and eyes up, push up through the legs and take the weight off the rack. Take a small step back and stabilize yourself.
7. Keeping your eyes facing forward slowly lower your body down. Don't lean forward as you come down. Your buttocks should come out and drop straight down.
8. Squat down until your thighs are parallel with the floor, and then slowly raise your body back up by pushing through your heels.
9. Do not lock the knees out when you stand up, and then repeat the movement.
For Perfect Technique
Keep a strong core and don’t let your back round off. It's crucially important that you keep a straight back when you squat! You can ensure your back is straight by keeping your eyes facing forward, chest out, shoulder blades back, and back arched. Keep your core muscles tensed throughout the movement to help hold your back in place.
In order to get the most out of squats it requires squatting down at least until your thighs are around parallel to the floor. This will ensure that you engage all your leg muscles and will help avoid any muscle imbalances.
Once you have mastered the Barbell Squat exercise you can try alternative exercises that target similar muscle groups such as;
How To Do Smith Machine Squat
1. Position the bar just below shoulder level and adjust the safety stops right above knee height.
2. Place your pinkies on the smooth ring of the barbell.
3. Get under the bar and position at the base of your traps looking straight ahead.
4. Unrack the bar by rotating your wrists to remove the safety hooks.
5. Take a deep breath and keep your elbows in line with your torso.
6. Descend by simultaneously pushing the hips back and bending the knees.
7. Once your thighs reach parallel with the floor, reverse the movement by driving your feet into the floor and flexing your quads.
8. Finish the lift by exhaling as you fully extend the hips and knees.
How To Do a Lunge
1. Stand tall with feet hip-width apart. Engage your core.
2. Take a big step forward with right leg. Start to shift your weight forward so heel hits the floor first.
3. Lower your body until right thigh is parallel to the floor and right shin is vertical. It’s OK if knee shifts forward a little as long as it doesn’t go past right toe. If mobility allows, lightly tap left knee to the floor while keeping weight in right heel.
4. Press into right heel to drive back up to starting position.
5. Repeat on the other side.