What you need to know about Barbell Back Squat


Barbell squat

The barbell back squat is one of the most popular and effective strength-building exercises for the legs. Use them in your workout if you want increased strength, muscle mass, speed or power.

1. To perform the back squat you will want to use a squat rack for safety purposes.

To begin, set up the safety bars just beneath your maximum squat depth. Once this is done you want to set up the barbell at about the height of your upper chest and load it with the appropriate amount of weight.

2. To un-rack the bar, adopt a squat stance beneath the bar taking the bar in your chosen position.

Drive through the legs lifting the bar out the rack. Take 2-3 steps back and set your feet shoulder-width apart with the toes turned out to about 30 degrees.

3. To begin the lift, take a deep breath in and hold it.

Begin to lower the bar by simultaneously bending the knees and hips in tandem, sitting your hips back over your heels and pushing your knees out in line with your feet. Keep lowering until you break parallel (hips beneath your knees) this will ensure full hamstring and glute activation.

4. Once you have reached your maximum depth you want to reverse the motion and drive up out of the bottom of the squat.

Hips and knees should rise at the same rate until you are standing upright again. At this point, you want to release your held breath and squeeze your glutes at the top.

High Bar vs. Low Bar Squats:


High Bar – with the bar resting on your traps (upper back) muscle, squeezing them together so the bar doesn’t dig into your spine. This bar position will keep your torso more vertical.

Low Bar – with the bar resting between your traps and rear shoulders, around the top of your shoulder blades. With the low bar squat, you will lean forwards more.

Generally speaking, the low bar squat will increase your squat by 10-20%, however, the high bar is a more natural position so it is a matter of seeing what works for you personally.

Depth: An important note on squat depth, to receive the full benefits you MUST break parallel (hips beneath knees) when squatting. Without this range of motion, you will not get activation of the glutes and hamstrings.
On any matter relating to your health or well-being, please check with an appropriate health professional.
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