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Barbell Squat Targets Following Muscles:
Glutes, Quadriceps, Hamstrings, Lower back, Adductors, Hip flexors.
The squat is one of the most efficient exercises for increasing mass,
strength and power in the lower body. It is a compound movement that
involves many stabiliser muscles to complete the lift.
Starting Position of Barbell Squat
- Position the bar across the upper part of your back so it is resting on your trapezius muscles (not your neck).
- Firmly grip the bar, with your hands almost double shoulder-width
apart. As you lift the bar off the rack, keep your shoulderblades
together and chest up, and ensure there is a normal (stable) curve in
your lower back.
- Position your feet shoulder-width apart (or slightly wider), toes angled out at 30°.
The Movements of Barbell Squat
- Begin lowering by bending at the hips, then knees.
- Keeping your head up and your trunk erect, slowly lower yourself
down until your thighs are parallel to the ground; it is not wise to go
any further than this. Keep your knees aligned over your feet, pointing
in the direction of your toes. Hold for a count of one.
- From here, press the weight up, pushing hard through your feet
and keeping your body erect as you return to the starting position.
Tips, Tricks and Correct Technique for performing Barbell Squat
- You should maintain the natural curve in
your back throughout the movement.
- If you lack ankle flexibility, it's better to work on your ankle
flexibility to improve your range of movement rather than to use a board
under your heels. This is potentially dangerous for the knees because
it moves the knees forward over the feet and can actually reduce your
- Breathe in as you lower the weight, allow ing your chest to
expand and pulling your tummy button in towards the spine. Exhale as you
- Keep your eyes fixed on a point in front of
you at about eye level.
- Make sure you do not bend forwards excessively or curve your
back as this will stress your lower back and reduce the emphasis on your
- Keep your hips under the bar as much as possible and your knees tracking over your toes as you rise.
- Do not rely on a weight belt unless you are using maximal weight
or it could result in a weakening of the abdominal muscles. The
abdominal wall should be drawn in towards the spine rather than pushing
out against a belt when lifting.
Variations of Barbell Squat
Placing your feet just over shoulder-width apart (but not too far or
you may lose stability) and taking the squat slightly deeper than
parallel places more emphasis on the glutes on the upward part of the
movement. Make sure you practise perfect form and control the squat -
you will have to reduce the weight on the bar, since going deeper can
put greater strain on the knees. You'll find this technique will not
only increase your overall strength but also better shape your glutes!
Smith machine squats
Squats performed using a Smith machine; are less effective than barbell squats andj may increase injury risk when you are
not using a machine as it does not develop the stabiliser muscles.
Since the bar travels in a straight line, this alters your natural
movement, taking much of the emphasis away from your all-important
stabilising muscles. If you must use a Smith machine, position your feet
so that your heels are' directly under the bar.
Exercises for your Legs, Hips and Glutes Workouts.
Front Lunge (dumbbell or barbell).
Lying Leg Curl.
Straight-leg Dead Lift.
Standing Calf Raise.
One-leg Dumbbell Calf Raise.
Leg Press Machine Calf Press.