Once you have mastered the bodyweight squat, it's time to move onto barbell squats.
Barbell squats provide your body with all the benefits of a bodyweight squat with added bonus of additional weight, to help push your body further and challenge your muscles.
Once you have moved onto the barbell, make sure your body is ready and braced for every lift. Make every rep the best it can be.
Here are five tips for getting the most out of your squat:
Before you try and get into your squat, make sure your body is perfectly braced. Before you put the weight onto your back squeeze in your glutes and lats and engage your core. Do this before you get under the bar as you are then primed to succeed.
When you are new to lifting with a barbell, it is quite common for it to roll or move in your hand. You need to make a conscious effort to grip the bar. The tighter you grip the better as it will have an impact on the quality of your squat. A tight grip ensures the bar is secure, removes tension from your upper body muscles and also gives you a boost mentally, asserting that you are in control of the situation. If you feel mentally prepared, then you may lift weights heavier than you expect.
There is always a temptation to squat as fast as possible so you can get the set over with. You need to take your time and move slowly down, sitting into the squat and focusing on each element of the movement. Moving too quickly will remove the tension from your body and then you may struggle to get up once you’ve squatted down.
Remember your standard squat position. Many people forget the need to keep their legs wide when they first take on the barbell. If your feet are too close together your squat will act more like a hinge and you will struggle to get the bar up and down safely and effectively.
This is both a mental and physical essential. Drive your shoulders up through the bar as it sits on them and your back and keep your elbows aligned with the bar too. Once you are squatted down to your lowest position, drive with your whole body through the bar and you will find it much easier to complete each rep.
Matt - I did a 100 squat a day challenge - gotcha there! I did spread it out throughout the day thought - a good tip for anyone wanting to do more squats.
Squats are the one exercise I do every day. I started doing a 50 squat a day challenge a few months ago, saw such a difference I didn't stop!
Somebody told me about doing slow squats years ago and I could notice the difference straight away. it's also strangely more satisfying than just going mindlessly up and down, aiming for maximum reps.