The barbell back squat is a very well-known exercise in the weightlifting world. This exercise has the ability to build extreme strength in the entire leg muscle, as well as promote growth of new muscle in the rest of the body. The one problem with this exercise is that it must be done with correct form. If it is not, it can lead to severe joint problems and other injuries. I’ll try to give you a clear idea of what to do when you step up to the barbell back squat plate.
Here is what you need to do in order to prepare for, and perform, the barbell back squat. Position a barbell on the squat rack at about 2 to 4 inches lower than your shoulder height (you should have to bend your knees slightly to get under it). Place you hands evenly on the barbell and make sure that you have a firm grip on the bar. Your feet should be placed about shoulder width apart, and your eyes should always be focused up on the wall above you…kinda like you’re looking at a clock. This helps keep your back in the correct shape.
Once you’re set to do the barbell back squat, press up a bit with your arms and push hard with your legs to get the weight up. Step back about a foot and make sure your feet are in a comfortable position. Once you’re ready, squat down to about parallel, keeping the wight focused over the back of your feet and not on your toes. Your butt should be sticking out a bit and your back should be curved in a bit at the lower portion of the spine. Be sure to keep your weight evenly balanced and don’t allow your legs to buckle inward or outward. This can cause some serious knee problems.
Once you’re down to parallel, push back up as hard and as fast as you can. It doesn’t matter how fast this movement is, just give it your best. You should not lock your knees out at the top position when doing the barbell back squat. Your leg muscles should be supporting the weight at all times.
Here is a checklist for the barbell back squat:
- Weight loaded evenly with safety clips in place
- Barbell positioned 2-4 inches below shoulder height
- Hands placed evenly with firm grip
- Feet placed shoulder width apart
- Slight push up with arms and strong push with legs when lifting the bar
- Adjustment of feet position after bar has been lifted
- Eyes focused on wall above you
- Squat down to parallel keeping weight centered over heels
- Knees straight with no buckling
- Push back up as fast and hard as possible
This may seem like a lot, but it will become second nature quickly. You’ll notice your strength improving greatly after a few weeks with the barbell back squat. A lot of people hate squats, but I personally think it’s just because they’re lazy. This is a tough exercise, but it also comes with great rewards. If you really want to improve your vertical jump, you need to do this exercise.
Barbell Back Squat Video