Barbell squats are one of the best exercises to strengthen your legs and glutes.
However, mistakes in technique can be dangerous. Squatting overloading the knees is common, and lower back injuries can occur.
How do barbell squats correctly, and what are their benefits?
Barbell Squats: What Are They?
Barbell squats are a vital strength exercise to achieve muscle hypertrophy in the legs.
The glutes, quadriceps, calves, the middle zone, and the lower back muscles are involved with a correct movement technique.
No professional trainer can deny the benefits of squats as leg strengthening exercises. However, errors in barbell squat techniques can cause significant damage to the joints and spine.
How to do barbell squats? – Correct technique step by step
How to squat is something that both a beginner and an advanced athlete should question at least once. Achieving the correct barbell squat technique is key to bulking your leg muscles. Minimizing loads on the lower spine and knees is critical to the method. Here’s how to do squats step by step:
- Starting position: legs about the width of your shoulders.
In the starting position, the legs should be shoulder-width apart. Toes slightly turned to one side, about 30 ° from the center. The types of barbell squats with the most excellent legroom, like sumo squats, are not recommended for beginners as they increase the load on the lower back.
- Bring the shoulder blades together.
The bar should be located in the upper part of your back muscles. Your elbows should be pointing downward. The hands must keep the bar in a fixed position; without supporting its weight. Also, when doing squats, the chest should be as open as possible. If you cannot hold the bar at first, you must lower the weight.
- Achieve a line between the neck and the spine
The third key point is when barbell squats, align your neck with your back. Avoid the temptation to twist your head. Trying to look in the mirror or looking ahead is likely to lead to long-term neck pain.
- Lower until you form a parallel line with the ground.
When the barbell squats, the lower point of your hips forms a parallel line with the ground. The knees should not extend beyond the line of the feet. It is not advisable to go down excessively; This will increase the load on the lower back. It is one of the most common mistakes in the barbell squat technique. Finishing the movement high up will only engage the back of the legs and will not work the glutes.
- Don’t go up with your knees.
When climbing, the pelvis must be used. Only at the end of the movement should the knees be stretched. If you go up with your knees when doing barbell squats, you will inevitably have some injury to this joint in a couple of years. An easy way to avoid this is to imagine that you are being dragged by a rope tied to your pelvis.
- Always keep the abdomen under tension.
When doing barbell squats, the abdomen should always be kept tight. Accompanying a constant breathing rhythm is essential to provide the muscles with as much oxygen as possible. One of the most common barbell squat technique mistakes is forgetting to stress your midsection when going down and up.
Can you do squats with knee injuries?
If you have chronic pain in your knees or spine, your best option will replace barbell squats with isolation exercises as long as your sports doctor authorizes it. Although the benefits of squats for the development of the muscles of the legs cannot be neglected, This exercise is not recommended when there are previous knee injuries.
To replace the squats with a bar, you can use physical warm-up exercises. As well as static exercises with body weight. The main difference between machine exercises and barbell squats is squatting, which simultaneously works for several muscle groups. However, both types of exercises are good for strengthening the lower body muscles.
Benefits of barbell squats
The benefits of squats with a barbell, dumbbells, or bodyweight are the harmonious development of the legs and strengthening of the middle zone and the lower part of the back. It is considered one of the five basic multi-joint exercises and can never be absent from a gym leg routine.
Another benefit of barbell squats is improving posture. As well as improving neuromuscular communication between the muscles of the legs and the abdomen. This means that the coordination of the hips, knees, and joints is enhanced with each movement.
Among other things, barbell squats benefit from a positive effect on the hormonal level of hormones related to muscle growth. Working large muscles increases testosterone. It has been confirmed that the concentration of growth hormone increases when doing barbell squats.
Barbell squats – physical warm-up
It would help if you always prepared the muscles and joints involved with physical warm-up exercises when doing squats. Before doing barbell squats, you should perform at least two bodyweight exercises. They can be the same squats with arms stretched forward, jumping in place, jumping rope, etc.
During squats, you don’t just work the front of your legs: your quadriceps. But they are also an excellent exercise to work on increasing the volume of the buttocks. When doing barbell squats, the lower back is essential. To do this, it is best to do lats and hyperextensions.
- Squats are a fundamental exercise to work the muscles of the lower and middle zone of the body.
- How to do barbell squats? In a correct movement technique, the weight must be pushed upwards using the force of the legs, hips, and pelvis muscles. In no case should the loads be diverted towards the knees and the lower part of the back?
- When doing squats, you should keep your back as straight as possible. One of the most common mistakes is using your back and knees as support.
- One of the benefits of barbell squats is stimulating the synthesis of hormones related to muscle growth and improving posture.