Barbell squat

Fitness dumbbells

woman doing barbell squat

This exercise targets the front of the thighs, adductors, and glutes, and to a lesser extent, the hamstrings and lower back. In particular, the quadriceps and the large gluteal muscle (glutaeus maximus) get a good workout. Ideal for jumping, running or kicking sports, the barbell squat is a great exercise for toning the lower body. The bar rests on the upper back during the movement, but you must position it correctly to avoid injury. Only when you have mastered the technique well, you can add extra weight. You can also do this exercise at home.

How

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Place the barbell over your shoulders and rest it on the top of the trapezius. Grab the bar and place your hands slightly more than shoulder-width apart. Set your gaze at eye level in front of you – don’t look down. Bend the knees and lower yourself slowly, keeping the heels on the floor. Stop when the thighs are parallel to the floor, then straighten the legs. If the heels come off the floor, stop lowering.

Do it well
Keep the back straight, with the normal curve in the leather. Do not arch the back while lowering or stretching.

Warning
Do not place the barbell at the back of the neck, as it could hit a cervical vertebra. Keep the heels on the floor.

Variations

Light
Try a quarter squat, which uses the same technique as the standard squat, but with a shorter range. Stop lowering when the thighs are halfway between upright and parallel to the floor, then straighten the legs again.

Heavy
Try a front squat. First, reduce the weight to be lifted. Rest the barbell on the front of the shoulders, palms turned toward the body and fingertips loosely wrapped around the bar. This grip stretches the wrist muscles. Follow the standard exercise, but keep the torso more upright so that the barbell doesn’t slide off the shoulders. The elbows should point forward and the upper arms should remain parallel to the floor.

Active muscles

  1. Adductor brevis (onder adductor longus)
  2. Vastus intermedius (onder rectus femoris)
  3. Adductor longus
  4. Adductor magnus
  5. Vastus lateralis
  6. Rectus femoris
  7. Vastus medialis
  8. Glutaeus maximus