Barbell back squats are fantastic exercise for strengthening your whole lower body. Quads, hamstrings and glutes are all involved. Back squat is not the only exercise that engages the lower body.
Barbell Back Squat demonstrated by Julie Lohre, CPT and women’s fitness expert
All squats will help us get stronger, jump higher and run faster while shaping your legs and butt. I wrote an extensive article outlining the difference between Front Squat versus Back Squat – and how to determine might be best for your goals. Read more on squat variations here in this article.
Here’s how to Squat with proper form, using a barbell.
How to perform Back Squats:
When performing a BACK squat, begin by setting up a barbell on a squat rack. The rack should be about an inch below your shoulder height. This will allow you to easily unrack and rack the barbell as you begin and finish your front squat. Hand position is critical for the front squat. Wrap your fingers lightly around the bar, do not squeeze too tightly. Step forward toward the bar, ducking underneath and allowing the bar to rest across your traps. In the back squat, your arms will remain on the bar, out to the sides about 6-8 inches from your ears. With the back squat do not allow your back to arch significantly or to round forward for proper back squat form.
With the back squat, your feet should be about shoulder width apart, toes slightly turned out and the majority of your weight should be pressing through your heels. Stabilize your core and then begin to lower yourself to the bottom position of the front squat, keeping your chest up, knees pressing slightly outward as you sit back into the back squat. The optimal depth for a back squat is slightly below parallel. As you return to the top of the front squat, maintain a tight core, keep your chest up and knees pressing gently outward. Drive through your heels keeping the toes light.
**Julie’s tip – If you have trouble knowing how far to sit i the back squat, use a bench that is about your knee height to act as a guide. When you glutes barely reach the bench, you will know you have reached full back squat depth and you can press back up to the top.