John Champion explains Barbell Back Squats

April 1, 2019

The barbell back squat, like the deadlift, is one of the most effective exercises out there. It is also one of the most difficult to learn and get right, as it can cause injuries if not done correctly. Therefore, it is essential to practice and develop proper technique.

Our Strength & Conditioning coach, John Champion has put together a step-by-step checklist to ensure you get the most out of your back squat;

  1. Rack should be slightly lower than shoulder height
  2. Step under the bar and position it on upper trapezius muscles and back of shoulder
  3. Hands as close as possible to shoulders with elbows pointing down (Create a ‘W’ position with your arms)
  4. Stand up and take one step backwards
  5. Stand with feet shoulder width apart OR shoulder width plus the width of a foot apart, head and chest up and eyes looking forward—NORMAL POSTURE
  6. Begin the movement by bending at the hips and the knees, keeping the feet flat on the floor, head and chest up, body balanced and spine maintaining normal lordotic curve
  7. Descend as far as possible while keeping the spine in a neutral position (slight curve in back)
  8. Keep knees over toes and heels on the floor
  9. Reverse movement on way up maintaining correct posture at all times

Squats are more than just a leg exercise. Your legs do most of the work to Squat the weight. But your abs and lower back muscles must stabilize your torso while your upper-body balances the bars. Squats work your whole body from head to toe. This is why you can do Squats heavier than other exercises, and why they’re more effective for gaining overall strength and muscle. Squats work the following muscles…

Before loading up the bar, it is really important to be aware of some common errors clients make. If this sounds like you, make sure you take a step back, and focus on building proper form before progressing with additional weight;

  1. Heels lifting off floor—trying to keep back vertical (straight) by keeping the chest up and pushing through the heels
  2. Knees traveling excessively forward over toes
  3. Bending at waist and losing lordotic curve
  4. Head and chest dropping

Happy Squating!



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