We want to make sure that you have the best form possible, so we created these quick guides to make sure you are at your best. The idea is to use the guide to get the general movement down, and to correct any imperfections through video analysis.
When performing a barbell squat, we want you to have your body in the best possible position to safely and effectively push the weight. You should be pushing the weight through your hips, and this means that your torso will be more horizontal than you think it should be. The danger is from a rounded back, not a tight, flat back leaned forward. The bar should be moving in a straight line and remain over the middle of your foot. Here is how to do this:
- Place the bar on the hooks at about the level where your chest and neck meet.
- Step in front of the bar and position it to where it is touching your back just under the little “knob” you can feel below your neck. If you can’t get it that low, get as close as you can.
- Grab the bar and grip it with your hands as close together as you can get them with your fingers wrapping over the bar and your thumbs wrapping underneath for a secure grip. Your wrists should be neutral — not bent backward or forward. Keep them straight.
- Assume a shoulder-width stance. Your heels should be shoulder-width apart, and your toes should be pointing outward about 30 degrees (11 and 1 on a clock).
- Take a deep breath, stand up tall, unrack the bar, and step back to clear the hooks.
- Ensure toes are out and fix your eyes on the floor a few feet in front of you.
- Take a deep breath and hold it like you are going push for a poop (but, as mentioned in the bench press guide, don’t push) and begin the descent.
- As you do this and get about halfway down, remember three things: Butt back, knees out, chest pointing down.
- As you descend, your knees should be moving in the direction that your toes are pointing, butt going backward, and chest pointing toward the floor.
- Descend until your thighs are below parallel with the ground. Your hips will be lower than your knees.
- When you get to the bottom of the movement, drive through the hips to push back up. Don’t let you knees cave, force them out. Think about “pulling the ground apart” with your feet. This ensures that you have a stable base on which to squat.
- Extend your legs all the way at the top of the lift, locking your knees. Let your breath out, take another, and repeat until you hit 5 reps.
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