The back squat is a compound resistance training exercise to strengthen the hip- and knee extensors.
In addition, the back squat can be used to improve neuromuscular efficiency, body control and flexibility.
It’s a skill and balance foundation for complex movements, such as Olympic lifts. It activates numerous muscle groups simultaneously and it forces your body to stabilize everything.
Therefore, the back squat is an essential resistance training exercise you should be familiar with. Especially if your goal is to perform Olympic lifts to optimize your athletic abilities and become a powerful athlete.
Back Squat Description
- Position barbell chest level on the rack; add resistance (plates) and attach safety clips
- Take an athletic stance; stand straight, feet are just wider than shoulder-width apart; knees slightly flexed; toes point slightly outward (10˚-20˚)
- Use a pronated grip (palms facing down) and place hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart on the bar
- Move head underneath the barbell and position barbell superior to the spine of the scapulae (on the top shelf created by the trapezius); do not place barbell on top of the cervical spine!
- First flex hips (~45˚) and then knees until knees are flexed to 90˚ (or as far as possible); maintain neutral pelvic position; keep knees inside shoulders; distribute weight through the heels; maintain neutral spine position (push chest out and scapulae [shoulder blades] together; maintain neutral head position (look forward)
- Extend the knees and hips and return to starting position
Note: If the athlete has flexibility issues and/ or for teaching purposes, a stance wider than shoulder-width is warranted.
Back Squat Targeted Musculature
- Gluteus Maximus
- Upper Hamstring
In this section we provide you with some exercises you can use to optimize your training.
The exercises have been grouped and selected based on the major muscle group(s) they target – the prime movers.
The first exercise is a dynamic warm up to increase muscle tissue temperature to prepare you for your workout.
For more info take a look at the benefits of a proper warm up routine.
The second exercise is a free-weight resistance training exercise to strengthen the respective prime movers and improve neuromuscular system efficiency.
Why? Find out more about the purpose of weightlifting for tennis players.
The third exercise is a static stretching exercise you can do following your workout as a cool down to improve flexibility and reduce muscle soreness.
Here is more information on the benefits of static stretching.