In this article, nattyornot.com will present you a guideline that you can follow for your first squat workout. The information below is aimed at beginner bodybuilders with little to no experience with squats.
1.Learn how to correctly perform bodyweight squats
The barbell squat is nothing more than a regular squat with a barbell on your back, at least on paper. If you haven’t squatted in a long time, start with regular bodyweight squats. The technique for bodyweight squats and barbell squats is fairly similar.
You cannot learn how to squat correctly with a barbell if you only do bodyweight squats, though. The role of air squats is to learn some of the basic biomechanical principals during squats.
Notes on Bodyweight Squats
Stand tall and look forward. Look forward during the execution of the whole movement. If you look up or down, your spinal alignment will be affected.
Assume a shoulder width stance with your toes pointing slightly out.
Take a deep breath. Don’t exhale just yet!
Begin squatting down. Look forward and keep your feet firmly planted on the floor. Try to keep the weight evenly spread over your foot. Never lift your heels off the ground.
Make sure that your toes are in line with your knees. This means that your knees and toes should be pointing in the same direction.
If your knees point straight forward and your toes point to the sides, your knee ligaments and tendons are at risk due to poor alignment.
You may get away with poor form on air squats, but when the heavy barbell comes, the weakness will be exposed.
During the whole movement preserve the natural arch of your back and keep your chest up.
Lower yourself down as far as you can go without losing tension in your back.
Push-up yourself up to the starting position and exhale through your teeth during the ascend.
Proper breathing is very important. Holding your breath makes you stronger, but doing so for an extended period of time can be dangerous. That’s why it’s recommended to breathe through your teeth. This will allow you to remain strong while reducing some of the stress induced by breathless lifting.
Build up to about 3 sets of 20 repetitions before attempting barbell squats. Squat with a broomstick on your back if you have one.
Note: Record yourself and analyze your technique.
2.Find a gym with a squat rack or a power cage.
To squat safely, you need a squat rack or a cage.
The squat rack
The squat rack is a simple piece of equipment that comes with two parts – rack and safety catchers. If you cannot lift the weight, the safety catchers will allow you to place the barbell on them and get out.
The power rack
The power rack is not much different than the squat rack. However, it gives a little more freedom since you can reposition both – the pins as well as the safety catchers. The power rack is not built solely for squatting. Many people use it for the bench press and other accessory lifts such as
The power rack is not built solely for squatting. Many people use it for the bench presses and other accessory lifts such as rack pulls, heavy shrugs, partial lifts…etc.
If you can’t find a gym with a power rack or a squat rack, you cannot squat efficiently and safely.
3.Find a ”healthy” Olympic bar.
When you are a beginner, every bar will look the same to you. However, this is an illusion.
You need a straight bar with rotating ends. Don’t underestimate that step. If the ends are not rotating well, the bar will try to slide down your back. This is dangerous and should be avoided.
4.Place the bar at the correct height
The bar should be placed on a pin at the height of your middle chest. If it’s higher, it’s really hard to unrack it without losing upper back tightness. If it’s too low, you will lose too much strength and energy unracking the barbell.
Also, make sure that the bar is evenly placed. Otherwise, you will be thrown out of balance, the second you unrack the load.
5. Get in position and squat
Stand in the middle of the rack. Grab the bar evenly and get under it.
Flex your upper back and place your contracted traps (trapezoids muscles) in the middle.
Assume a shoulder width stance.
Look forward. Push a little to unrack the bar.
Step back with one of your legs and then follow with the other. Make 2-3 steps to clear the rack.
Adjust your squatting stance if needed. Look forward and squat while keeping your spine in a neutral alignment.
Go as low as you can and push back up. Perform a few reps and then move forward one step at a time until the bar touches the pillars of the rack. Once you now for sure that the barbell is touching the metal just above the pins, slowly and under control squat down until the pins are holding the bar.
Repeat the same procedure a few more times and call it a day.
The Squat Series so far:
Learn How To Squat: The Perfect Squat Stance
Bar Position During Squats – Low Bar Or High Bar?
Shoulder And Elbow Pain During Squats
Thumbless Grip During Squats – Fix Your Wrist Pain
Head positioning: Where To Look During Squats?
How Deep Should I Squat?
Mark Rippetoe’s Hip Drive Explained
Disclaimer: You should consult your physician or other health care professional before starting this or any other lifting program. NattyOrNot.com holds no responsability for any injuries that may occur during the practice of the above techniques. Be smart. Listen to your body! This is the only way to protect your health.