Incorporating the squat into your strength training routine and is one of the best exercises for building your legs, glutes and core stability.
This is actually an excellent upper and lower body exercise that targets the quads (thighs), glutes (your butt), lower back and hamstrings (back of your legs).
A few pointers beforehand:
- Stretch good before you do this movement, especially if you will be using weights. I usually stretch my legs and back really good since they need to be warmed up.
- Warm up good. I also do a set of squats without any weight as a warm up set.
- Using a barbell is best for this exercise.
- Use a weightlifting belt to support your back
- Use a rack if you are lifting really heavy - if you can't lift the weight over your head, you'll need a rack to get under the barbell
- Don't stand with feet farther than shoulder width apart; stand with your feet underneath your shoulder width
- Stand with your toes pointed slightly outward.
- Don't let your knees extend beyond your toes when going down
Using a barbell for this exercise
Make sure that the barbell is across your shoulders and resting on the trapezius muscle, not on your neck. Place your hands about 6 inches from your shoulders when grasping the bar.
When using a rack, I always face the rack because after raising up with all that weight my your back, my legs are shaking and I like to move forward quickly to get that weight off my back.
So get under your bar, place it across your shoulders, tighten your core and lift the bar a couple of inches up off of the rack.
Lean forward slightly - not a lot- just to where you are balanced under the poundage - and step back a bit, stabilize the weight and go down into the movement. Check out the video below to see it in action.
Notice when after she has gone all the way down in her movement and starts to come back up, she pushes back up with force into the upright position. You don't want to travel slowly back up when under this much weight. Just force that weight back up and go back into another rep.