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How To Squat – Low Bar Squat Form

There are many different variations of squats and each variation creates a different set of benefits for you.

I believe that the ‘Low Bar Squat’ is the best option for beginners because it puts less stress on your low back. The Low Bar Squat also works out more muscle mass than the other squat variations because it uses ‘Hip Drive’, which engages the hamstrings more.

Here is a check list of how to squat, for more details and to see it in action, I recommend checking out the videos in the following section.

How To Squat:

Heels are shoulder width apart

Feet are pointed out at a 30 – 35 degree angle

Knees aligned with the feet as you bend down

The Bar is placed on your rear deltoids, not on your traps. If you slide the bar under your traps, you will find bone (this is the spine of your scapula). The bar rests right below this bony part. Please see the video one bar placement in the video section.

Hands are wider than shoulder width apart on the bar. Place the hands so that you can keep the upper back tight. The closer your put your hands together, the easier it is to keep the upper back tight. However, people who lack the flexibility may need to place the hands further apart on the bar.

Head is in a neutral position and you are looking diagonally down infront of you. Imagine you are holding a baseball under your chin. This is the best position if you are a beginner because you can generate more hip drive this way.

Depth: squat below parallel which means that the hips needs to go below the knees.

Training Cues For Maximum Muscle Activation

Imagine that you are pushing the floor away instead of pushing yourself up. When I visualize this, I feel that my muscles are better engaged.

I have one of these visualizations for every exercise and it makes a big difference for me. Try it with a lighter weight at first and I’m sure that you’ll like how it feels.

Video Series on How To Squat

This is a very detailed video series by Matt Wenning, multi-world record holder in powerlifting. He gives a lot of great advice on how to squat properly.

If you want to finish the 600 Club smoothly, I recommend that you check out this series every few weeks to check yourself and make sure that your form isn’t slipping. It has been tremendous help to me.

In this series, he uses the box squat to safely find weaknesses. At the same time, he talks about proper form. You don’t have to do any box squats, but the same form applies for the squat without a box.

There is one final thing that I would like to point out:

Wenning talks about ‘looking forward’ during the squat. This is required when you are lifting heavier weights. But when you are a beginner trying to learn hip drive, it is much easier to keep your head in a neutral position like I talked about in the previous section.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Video Describing Hip Drive

Bar Placement

Platform: The Squat – Bar Position from stef bradford on Vimeo.

Are Full Squats Bad For My Knees?

Full squats are not bad for your knees when they are performed correctly. It actually strengthens the knees. When you break parallel, the weight is mostly received by your legs and glutes.

On the other hand, partial squats are harder on the knees. If you don’t break parallel, more of the weight is received by your knees.

Check out my article on How Deep To Squat, where I talk about the anatomy and bio-mechanics on squatting safely for your knees.

 

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