Barbell Squats are one of the best leg exercises for athletes, women, and men.
For athletes, many strength coaches consider the barbell squat "The King" of lower body strength training exercises.
Barbell Squats should be used by any athlete involved in a running or jumping sport.
If you want to tone your thighs and tone your butt, barbell squats are a great leg exercise.
If you want to build rock solid quads and thighs, the barbell squat is a great leg exercise for you.
Squats can help with many different fitness goals. If you want to tone your thighs and focus on muscular endurance, focus more on 12-25 repetitions per set.
If you want to build up some muscle in your legs, aim for 8-12 repetition per set.
If you want to focus on power lifting, aim for 1-8 repetitions per set.
And if you want to improve speed and jumping ability, focus on 1-10 repetitions per set.
Note: Athletes use a variety of repetition ranges to improve every aspect of fitness and conditioning, but they focus on the one that is most important for their sport. It is also wise for regular gym-goers to switch the emphasis every 4-6 weeks to avoid hitting a fitness plateau and create well-rounded fitness ability.
The barbell squat strengthens all of the lower body muscles, but it emphasizes the calves, quadriceps (front of the thigh), hamstrings (back of the thigh), and glutes (butt). It also strengthens the stabilizers in the arch of the foot and it also works on the ankle stabilizers. In addition, squats help to strengthen the stabilizers in the outer hip and the inner thigh.
And since the weight is placed on the spine, barbell squats also help to strengthen the core muscles (abdominals and lower back muscles).
Starting Position: The barbell should be positioned in a rack at a height that allows you to walk underneath and lift off the weight with your shoulders. Step back from the front of the rack to give yourself room to squat down.
Form: Inhale and bend your knees and hips until you get to about chair height (90 degrees at the hips). Hold for a brief second and then exhale and return to the starting position.
Personal Trainer Tips: There are many adjustments that people make when performing barbell squats, but here are a few important keys to good alignment during the squat.
Keep your toes pointing forward.
Keep the pressure even throughout your foot. Don't keep excessive weight in the toes or the heels.
Keep your knees in-line with your feet. Many people have a tendency to allow the knees to cave-in and move towards each other.
It's okay to allow your hips to bend forward to maintain your center of gravity, but be mindful of the position of the lower back. The lower back should not be rounded or arched excessively.
The barbell squat is truly one of the best leg exercises, and it is also one of the most challenging to perform correctly.
If you experience pain in your ankles, knees, hips or lower back during barbell squats, check your form, use a lighter weight, or consult with a personal trainer or physical therapist.
You can perform squats in many different ways, so if you don't have access to a barbell you can still benefit from the squatting motion.
There are also many other great overall leg exercises, like lunges, step ups, and the leg press machine.
Yours in Health,
Dr. Charles PT/PT