Barbell Exercises: Squats

Barbell squats are a challenging exercise that is a great choice for individuals who have perfected more basic forms of the exercise. In order to achieve optimal results with this exercise, be sure to start by positioning your body correctly.

Benefits of Barbell Squats

In order to understand whether or not barbell squats are right for you, you must first understand exactly the benefits of the exercise. As with most forms of the basic squats, barbell squats help to strengthen and tone the muscles of the quadriceps and hamstrings. In addition, the inclusion of the barbell in this exercise also results in an increase in core muscular strength, thereby helping to prevent any pain or injuries commonly associated with this trouble zone.

Positioning Your Body for Barbell Squats

In order to achieve optimal results when it comes to performing barbell squats, you must first be sure that the equipment is positioned properly. Start by examining the barbell squat rack. Ideally, the pins that hold the barbell in position should be at a spot a few inches lower than shoulder height. If the bar is too high or too low, adjust the pins accordingly so the bar is in the right place. Once the barbell has been positioned properly, you can lift it onto your shoulders. Do this by stepping in front of the barbell, positioning it along your shoulder blades. Hold the bar with your hands positioned approximately one foot away from both shoulders, with your fingers spaced widely apart. Squeeze your shoulder blades together, and carefully roll the bar off its supportive pins and onto your shoulders. Perform this move with care to make sure that you avoid dropping the barbell. This could result in injury.

Performing Barbell Squats

Now that you are positioned properly, you can begin to perform the barbell squat. Start by standing tall with your feet planted firmly on the ground. Make sure that your toes are facing forward before attempting the squat. Finally, take a few deep breaths. As you exhale, lower your buttocks toward the ground, as if you were about to sit in a chair. Continue lowering your body towards the ground until your knees are bent to a 90 degree angle. At this point, use the muscles described above to push your body back up to the original position. Continue performing this exercise until you have done two sets of ten repetitions of the exercise. Take a short break between each set in order to achieve optimal results.

Preventing Injury during the Performance of Barbell Squats

The barbell squat is a relatively challenging exercise, and more basic forms of the exercise should be perfected before this one is attempted. In addition, individuals who have chronic back pain or injuries should consult with their doctors before attempting the exercise is order to prevent possible aggravation.


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