Squats definitly belong to the most powerful exercises in weight lifting. It doesn’t just train a part of your legs, but every single muscle group in them. It also works out back, butt and abs quite well. So if you are looking into starting weight lifting, you want to give this exercise some attention.
First off, there are mainly four different squat versions:
- Bodyweight squats
- Weighted high-bar squats
- Weighted low-bar squats
Since I am mostly doing weighted low-bar squats, I will feature this one first, but I will get to the others at one point as well.
Weighted low bar squats as a start for a leg day
How the name already tells: the squats are going to be weighted, so you will most likely have to do this exercise in a gym, except if you have a squat rack at home. I don’t, so this one is my first exercise on leg days. (TIP: Squats take a lot out of your body, so its a good idea to do these exercises first, while you still have all your power)
A low-bar-squat means, that the bar sits fairly low on your back, instead of resting on your neck like during a high-bar squat. The bar should sit right above the spine, just above the deltoids. When going down, you want to keep the bar in a straight line – just going up and down. So accomplish that with a low bar squat, you will have to lean forward with your upper body. Always remember to keep you back straight doing so. Another thing to have in mind is the wrist position. Keep your wrists straight the entire time!
Foot and knee position
Your foot position should be about shoulder width and the toes slightly turned outwards, so you knees will go out as well as going down. When going down, your knees should not go over your toes, that will hurt your knees in the long run. If you are in the bottom, push off from your feet (your toes, your heels, everything – do not put all the weight on one spot). With that force from your feet you can engage your legs and move slowly up.
On the top squeeze your butt together and push your hips forward. Repeat.
I would suggest to start with the bar only – no weights attached. The bar weights 45 pounds and will be plenty for the beginning. It is important to get the movement down first, before advancing to heavier weights, so you don’t get hurt.
With a low bar squat you are normally able to push more weight than with a high bar squat, since the center of the weight is different. Like I already said, I am doing almost entirely low bar squats, but if you would like to do high bar as well, I would recommend to do those on you easy weight – high rep days and go back to the low bar squats for your heavy days. Another Tip: Have another person watching you, because sometimes its hard to concentrate on everything at once. I for example have to watch that I spread out my weight evenly over my foot and keep my wrist straigt. So I have my husband reminding me throughout the sets.