This movement is one of the best you can perform because it stresses the major muscle groups of the entire body. The primary muscles stressed are the muscles in your upper legs (the quads, hips, glutes, hamstrings) and lower back. The secondary muscles used are the upper back, abdominals, calves, chest and shoulders.
With the bar centered across your upper trapezius and holding the bar a little further than shoulder width apart, press up against the bar until it is fully resting on your traps. Step back from the rack, keeping your back straight and place your heel on a squat board.
Fix your eyes on a point straight in front of you (at or just above eye level) and keep them there throughout the entire movement. Bending at the hips and knees, take two to three seconds to squat down until your thighs are parallel to the floor – (NO FURTHER). Keeping your back straight, push up off the floor, through your heels, then return to the starting position. Contract your abdominals, quadriceps and glutes hard throughout the entire movement.
- Keep your back straight throughout the entire movement to reduce the stress placed on the lower back.
- Focus on pushing your feet through the floor.
- Contract your abdominals throughout the entire movement. This will help support your lower back.
- When performing any squatting movement from the floor you must evaluate the flexibility of your Achilles tendon. Poor flexibility will result in your heels coming up off the floor before your thighs are parallel to the floor. This will create an unstable situation for your knees. Depending on the degree of flexibility, a 1/2 inch, 1 inch and 1 1/2 inch board should be placed under your heels.
- Make sure your knees stay over your toes at all times.
There are three stances that can be used for this exercise:
- Close Stance – The feet are placed one to two inches apart. Concentration is on the Vastis Lateralis (outer thigh).
- Medium Stance – The feet are placed shoulder width apart. Concentration is on the entire quad, hamstring and glutes.
- Wide Stance – The feet are placed just outside the width of the shoulders. Concentration is on the Vastis Medialis (inner thight).
- Do not lean forward at any time during this movement. This can cause serious injury to your back.
- You must keep your back straight throughout the entire movement. Failure to do so may result in serious injury to your back.
- Do not bounce as you reach 90 degrees. This can cause serious injury to your knees.
- Do not squat down any faster than two to three seconds. You must be in control at all times during this movement. The faster you perform this movement, the less control you will have which in turn will increase your risk of injury.
- Do not lock out your knees. This can cause serious injury to your knees.
Robert Bovee Certified Master PPT, RTS, ETS, FTS
As one of the most successful Professional Personal Trainers and Exercise/Fitness Therapists in the United States, Robert continues to remain at the forefront of the industry by providing his clients with a thorough education and the tools to implement that education. By improving his client’s physical health, strength, endurance, cardiovascular fitness and nutritional habits, he is able to motivate them to lead longer, happier and more productive lives. Find out more about Robert and his personal training career and services, here.