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How to Do a Barbell Squat

Check Your Squat Before You Drop It Like It's Hot — Here's How to Perfect Your Form

Whether you realize it or not, you've been performing squats all your life. Every time you sit down on the toilet or couch, or go to pick something up, you're squatting. Although it's a movement we do all the time, more often than not, we perform squats with incorrect form, which increases our risk of injury. Some of us round or arch our backs, others never activate their glutes, and some just don't get enough depth. If this sounds like you, or you're just a type-A person who wants to perfect everything, we've got a refresher on how you should be performing squats at the gym and in your everyday life.

Here's how to do it:

  • Start with a loaded barbell; 75 pounds is a great starting point. Beginners should start with just the barbell and gradually add weight as they become familiar with the movement.
  • Position your hands about shoulder-width apart on the barbell, and lightly grip the bar with an overhand grip.
  • Step in front of the rack, and rest the bar on your trapezius muscles (the muscle closest to your neck/upper back).
  • With your feet about hip-distance apart, lift the barbell off the rack. Take one to two steps backwards.
  • Shift your weight back into your heels. Brace your abs as you begin to lower into a squat, keeping your head and spine in a neutral position. Your knees should be as close to 90 degrees as possible. Hold for one second.
  • With your core still braced, drive through your heels to stand back up. Be sure to squeeze your glutes at the top of your squat. That's one rep.
  • Complete three sets of 12 reps.
Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Tamara Pridgett
Product Credit: Koral
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