How to perform squats
The movement begins from a standing position. Weights are often used, either in the hand or as a bar braced across the upper back.The movement involves bending the knees and hips to lower the torso and accompanying weight, then returning to the upright position. The squat can continue to a number of depths; the deeper the squat, the greater the training effect. Quarter squats do not bring the thighs parallel to the ground, while parallel squats do. Squatting below parallel qualifies a squat as deep while squatting above it qualifies as shallow
• Position the bar on the squat racks at a height approximately three to five inches lower than your shoulders.
• With at least one spotter standing by (preferably two, especially if attempting a heavy squat), position your hands evenly on the bar and, with your feet squarely under the bar, lift it from the rack with the legs.
• Step back just enough to avoid bumping the rack during the exercise, and position feet at no more than a bit more than shoulder width.
• The weight should remain centered over the back half of the feet, not on the heels or toes.
• Slowly descend into a near-bottom position, keeping the torso and back erect so that the hips remain under the bar at all times. Do NOT allow the hips to drift backward or the torso to incline forward.
• A check on proper position is to ensure that the angles formed at the knee joint and hip joint are close to being equal.
• Do NOT relax or drop swiftly into a rock-bottom position. Keep the muscles contracted and stop just short of the bottom.
• Rise out of the squat position following the same path that you descended — the torso and back remain erect and the hips remain under the bar throughout the ascent.
• Repeat the squat movement for the required number of reps.
• The use of supportive devices is not advised except in cases where the weight is extremely heavy.
• When returning the bar to the rack, have your spotter(s) carefully guide you in, being sure that the hands are not in the way of the bar or racks. Your fatigued state will diminish your control over the heavy weight.
Video: Weighted Bar Squats
Muscles Targeted: Quadriceps, Calves, Hamstrings and Glutes. Core Muscles.
Points to Note
• Your feet should be always flat on the floor and you should always perform these exercises on flat floor itself. Otherwise this can lead to some muscle problems in your feet.
• Back should always be upright and use a weightlifting belt if possible. Keep your chest straight.
• You should always distribute the weight between your heel and balls of the foot. Uneven distribution can cause pain in your feet.
• You should not perform these exercises with heavy weights individually. While performing with heavy weights, you should always take help of your physical trainer or your friend.
• You should always be cautious when you are performing squats with heavy weights.
• Overhead squat – a barbell is held overhead in a wide-arm snatch grip; however, it is also possible to use a closer grip if flexibility allows.
• Zercher squat – the bar is held in the crooks of the arms, on the inside of the elbow.
• Hack squat – a barbell is held in the hands just behind the legs; invented by early 1900s professional wrestler Georg Hackenschmidt.
• Sissy squat – a dumbbell is held behind the legs while the heels are lifted off the ground and the torso remains flat while the lifter leans backwards; sometimes done with a plate held on the chest and one arm holding onto a chair or beam for support.
• Single leg squat – a freestanding one-legged squat where the non-lifting leg is held in free space. Also known as a “Pistol.”
• Split squat – an assisted one-legged squat where the non-lifting leg is rested on the ground a few ‘steps’ behind the lifter, as if it were a static lunge.
• Bulgarian squat is performed much like a split squat, but the foot of the non-lifting leg is rested on a knee-high platform behind the lifter.
• Hindu squat – is done without weight where the heels are raised and body weight is placed on the toes; the knees track far past the toes.
• Jump squat – a plyometrics exercise where the squatter jumps off the floor at the top of the lift.
• Bodyweight squat – done with no weight or barbell, often at higher repetitions than other variants.
• Box squat – at the bottom of the motion the squatter will sit down on a bench or other type of support then rise again.
• Pistol Squat – a bodyweight squat done on one leg to full depth, while the other leg is extended off the floor. Sometimes dumbells or kettlebells are added for resistance.