Content of the material
- How to Do a Bodyweight Squat With Proper Form
- Recommended Reading
- HOW TO SQUAT SAFELY
- Finding The Correct Hook Height
- Finding The Correct Safety Pin Height
- How To Correctly Spot The Squat With Two People
- How much does an EZ curl bar weigh?
- 7 Common Mistakes When Doing Squats
- Can you squat with a curl bar?
- How much Does a Trap Bar Weigh?
- The Gerard hex bar weighs in at about 45lbs –
- FAQs for Safety Squat Bar
- How Much Does A Safety Squat Bar Weigh
- Are There Any Additional Safety Squat Bar Attachment
- How Often Should I Use A Safety Squat Bar
- Difference Between Safety Bar Squat Vs Front Squat
- Difference Between Safety Squat Bar Vs Barbell
How to Do a Bodyweight Squat With Proper Form
The setup for the squat exercise is incredibly simple.
- Stand with your feet slightly wider than your hips.
- Your toes should be pointed slightly outward – about 5 to 20 degrees outward (the wider your stance, the more you’ll want to rotate your feet outward).
- Look straight ahead and pick a spot on the wall in front of you.
- Look at this spot the entire time you squat, not looking down at the floor or up at the ceiling.
I go over the setup and the full movement in this video:
1) Put your arms straight out in front of you, parallel to the ground. Keep your chest up and proud, and your spine in a neutral position.
2) Your weight is on your feet – it should be on the heels and the balls of your feet, as if they were pasted to the ground. You should be able to wiggle your toes the entire movement (though that’s not a part of squatting!).
3) Keep your entire body tight the entire time, your core flexed like you’re bracing to be punched in the gut!
4) Breathe deeply into your stomach, break at your hip and push your butt back. Keep sending your hips backwards as your knees begin to bend.
It’s important to start with your hips back, and not by bending your knees.
5) As you squat down, focus on keeping your knees in line with your feet.
Many new lifters need to focus on pushing their knees out so they track with their feet.
When your knees start to come inside the toes, push them out (but not wider than your feet).
Make sure your knees aren’t moving inward toward each other through the movement – this is very common.
6) Squat down until your hip joint is lower than your knees (what we call “parallel” in the squat game). Note: if you THINK you might not be squatting deep enough, you probably aren’t!
Once at the bottom, it’s time to stand back up from your squat:
7) Keeping everything tight, breathe out and drive through your heels (keep the balls of your feet on the ground as well).
8) Drive your knees outward (away from each other) the same way you did on the way down, and squeeze your butt at the top to make sure you’re using your glutes.
Here is a video from us nerds at Team Nerd Fitness (with instructions from Jim, lead trainer at our 1-on-1 Online Coaching Program) that will teach you good form on a bodyweight squat, including all the mistakes NOT to make:
Once you can do multiple sets of 15+ deep bodyweight squats with proper form, it’s time to move onto barbell squats!
If you are confident in doing bodyweight squats and want to work up to a barbell squat, follow our Gym Workout Level 4 Program, which includes dumbbell goblet squats, a good stepping stone to barbell squats:
The majority of the population has some sort of mobility issue (including myself!) that they are working on fixing.
We have LOTS of 1-on-1 coaching clients who are new to squatting, and it often comes down to ankle flexibility and hip mobility.
If you spend all day, every day, sitting in a desk chair, this might be you.
If you want us to help you fix your squat depth and start getting stronger, that’s what we’re here for!
The best safety squat bar on the market is the one that is going to last forever and be amazing to use over that time. For that reason, we strongly recommend either the Rogue or EliteFTS safety squat bars.
If you’re looking for a mixture of economy and quality then Rogue is the way to go, while the EFTS bar is a heavy-duty, hard-wearing piece of kit for dedicated powerlifting. These bars represent the best investments you could make into a safety squat bar by a significant margin!
There’s never a bad time to have more training options and the SSB allows you to let your upper body recover while building quad strength and better movement. These are great adjuncts for strength training, athletic performance, and especially Powerlifting.
A high-quality safety squat bar is an amazing investment for the decades of use you should be able to get from it. Considering the changes it can produce and the amount of use it will see, it only makes sense to go for the best!
Dumbbell Squat Vs Barbell Squat: Don’t Squat until You Read This
Front Squat Vs Back Squat: Why You Still Have To Back Squat
6 Best Olympic Weight Benches (2020 Reviews & Top Picks)
The 5 Best EZ Curl Bars to Buy in [year] (Reviews and Top Picks)
HOW TO SQUAT SAFELY
To squat safely you not only need to have good technique (as covered above), but you need to know how to use the rack correctly.
Occasionally, you may wish to have someone watch over and assist if necessary. This is called spotting. However,
- Learning how to adjust the rack should come first so that you have confidence when you train alone, and
- I would advise you don’t rely on strangers to give you a spot — they may be incompetent and cause you an injury.
Finding The Correct Hook Height
The hooks should be set so that the bar is somewhere between the midpoint of your chest and your armpit.
If the hooks are too high, it makes it harder to rack the bar, which isn’t safe when you are using heavy loads.
If the hooks are too low, you will need to lower yourself more than necessary to get under the bar. This might cost you some extra energy that you could have otherwise used for working sets.
The ideal hook height will be slightly lower with the low-bar squat than the high-bar squat. If you find that your rack doesn’t adjust with small enough increments to the point you would ideally like, choose the lower option.
It is better to be safe with lower hooks than to risk losing balance with hooks that are set too high. If you’re unsure, start with a lower position and gradually move the hooks up until you find an appropriate position for you.
Finding The Correct Safety Pin Height
The safety pins are there to help you squat safely. Yes, you will rarely use them, but you can’t always predict when you might need them, so I suggest you set them every time you squat. The pins should be set at a height where you can lower the bar onto the pins without rounding your back. A good rule of thumb is to set the pins an inch or so below the bar level when you are in the button position.
For guidance on hook height and safety bar positioning, see Troubleshooting 1: Rack Adjustments.
How To Correctly Spot The Squat With Two People
When attempting a one-rep max, or when pushing yourself to the limits towards the end of a set, you may need to be spotted.
Here’s how you do it:
- The spotters should position themselves on each side of the barbell and stand with their hands held just below the sleeves of the bar.
- Spotters should not touch the bar as the lifter is performing the movement.
- As the lifter squats down and stands up, the spotters should do so as well.
- When the lifter is unable to lift the weight on their own, the spotters should hold the bar with both hands.
- Spotters should pay attention to each other, and aim to assist with the same amount of force, at the same time. If the spotters fail to synchronize, it can tilt the bar and put the lifter off balance.
- The lifter should try to lift the weight and complete the movement themselves, even when being spotted.
I recommend you practice spotting with a couple of friends, before you give one when it really counts.
How much does an EZ curl bar weigh?
The EZ curl bar, which has a W-like shape in the middle, usually weighs around 10 to 40 pounds, much shorter and lighter than a standard barbell. EZ curl bar is a weightlifting bar variation typically used for biceps curls, triceps workouts and rowing movements to work smaller muscle groups. It’s ideal for those who lack wrist mobility or suffer pain when performing the straight bar curl.
Bar Weight: 17.5lbs
Weight Capacity: 350 lbs
Bar Weight: 17.5lbs
Weight Capacity: 350 lbs
7 Common Mistakes When Doing Squats
The squat is a basic movement, but those new to lifting often fall victim to a handful of common mistakes.
Let’s take a look at some of the big problems and how to fix it!
#1) Coming up on your toes with your knees forward during your squat
It’s important to keep your heels on the ground the entire time you’re squatting.
You should be driving down through your heels, and in order to do that, they need to be on the ground!
While some of your weight will be on the balls of your feet, you never want all of your weight to be on the balls of your feet or your toes.
You should be able to lift your toes up off the ground and wiggle them at any point and it shouldn’t change anything about your squat.
#2) Not going deep enough on your squats
Your squat should hit at least parallel (middle image above) – where your hip joint goes below the knee.
Depending on what you’re training for, you can go lower, but in order to maximize the muscles worked in the squat, it needs to be done to at least parallel or lower (you can see lower in the upper right image).
If you squat above parallel (a partial squat) you’re leaving the hamstrings out of the movement. This puts more pressure on the knee – the force put on your knee is actually reduced as you drop below parallel.
Unfortunately, there’s a lot of misunderstanding about squats and knee issues.
The deeper the squat, the more glutes that are activated as well. This will result in more muscle being created from the squat, as shown by this infographic:
Now, a deeper squat is typically harder, both strength and flexibility wise.
However, depending on your goals, squatting to parallel may make more sense.
If you’re struggling hitting depth there could be many causes – you could have poor ankle mobility, tight hip flexors and/or hamstrings, weak glutes, or poor pelvic alignment (among many other things).
This is something we work closely with our coaching clients on, and often prescribe ankle and hip mobility drills to help clients reach proper depth on squats!
#3) Knee Positioning
When you squat, you want your knees to track along with your toes.
This means if you are looking down at your knees and feet, your knees should be aligned at the same angle as your feet throughout the movement.
This infographic shows you the correct knee position for a squat:
Everyone’s exact positioning is going to be slightly different, but they should not be on the outside or the inside of the foot.
#4) Back Positioning
Your chest should be up and your shoulders should be back, like you’re King Kong about to pound your chest proudly.
Your body should stay in this position the entire time.
You don’t want your shoulders to round forward, but you also don’t want to hyperextend your back either.
Keeping your spine in a neutral position will help your spine safe and build a strong foundation throughout the heavy squat movement.
#5) Head Positioning
Many coaches will tell their lifters to look up, as that is the direction in which you want to be moving, but this is actually the last thing you want to do.
Take a second quick and look at the ceiling (I’ll wait! 🙂 ).
Now, see that position your neck vertebrae are in? That is a very unsafe position for your spine to be in, especially when more weight starts getting included in the equation.
You also don’t want to be looking directly at the floor.
Look straight out in front of you the entire time, with your head in a “neutral” position. Your chin should be in a position where you could hold a tennis ball between your chest and your chin.
#6) Attempting to keep your shins vertical.
Unless there is a current underlying knee issue that would cause additional pain – the shin can and should go past vertical in the squat. This will often allow a deeper squat which will build more strength and stability in the knee.
A forward lean in the shins is also present when we engage in any number of daily activities such as walking up steps or standing up from a chair. Squat as deep as you are able, but do not focus on holding a vertical shin.”
#7) Too much weight on the heels/on the outside or inside of feet during your squat
When trying to fix coming up on your toes, or your knee positioning, it is common for people to focus so much on keeping their weight on their heels that they forget to keep the balls of their feet on the ground!
Some of your weight will still be on the ball of your foot – if you are truly only having weight on your heels, it’s pretty hard to balance.
To the same effect, if the inside of your foot or the outside of your foot comes up off the floor, this is also not a good thing!
How do you know if you’re making these mistakes? Simple!
Record yourself doing squats.
And so does anybody else who is serious about improving their squats.
Often we look VERY different than we think we look when doing an exercise, so having a video of the movement is often the only way we can improve.
If you can’t self-diagnose your squat challenges, let us help!
Can you squat with a curl bar?
Every gym has an EZ-curl bar, and it’s not just for arm day. It’s actually a great tool for lower-body training. Due to the unique shape of the bar, two positions work well: the front rack or front squat position, and the Zercher.
How much Does a Trap Bar Weigh?
The hex bar has 3 different styles and each one has a different weight.
- The extra-large (XL) hex bar – ones that look like this
- The conventional hex bar – ones that look like this
- The Gerard hex bar
The Gerard hex bar weighs in at about 45lbs –
The Gerard hex bar it the most common bar you will find in your local gym.
FAQs for Safety Squat Bar
How Much Does A Safety Squat Bar Weigh Safety Squat Bar Weights vary from brand to brand, but you can expect them to weigh between 45lbs to 70lbs. Traditional straight barbells weigh 45lbs. Are There Any Additional Safety Squat Bar Attachment Safety Squat Bars may come with a pair of weight collars. These clamps that hold the weights in place so it doesn’t move when you perform your exercise. How Often Should I Use A Safety Squat Bar Squatting is one of the most basic functional movements and should be incorporated into all programs. The frequency you should use the safety squat bar depends on your experience and current goals. The bar can be incorporated into several different exercises that you can see above. With that being said, for a standard athlete, once or twice a week will be enough to get your legs looking big and strong. Difference Between Safety Bar Squat Vs Front Squat Front Squat is a variation of the squat where the bar is front loaded on the collarbone instead of your traps. This forces you to be more upright and teaches you to have correct back posture when you squat. The difference between a Safety Bar Squat and a Front Squat is the position in the load. You can think of the Safety Bar Squat as a Front Squat; however, the load is on your traps like a standard squat. Front Squats require extreme mobility for the wrists, elbows, and arms. At the same time, Safety Bar Squats focuses on the stability of your core, back, and legs. Difference Between Safety Squat Bar Vs Barbell Squats are one of the best exercises to build leg strength. It is one of the most natural movements and activates most leg muscles. When you load the weight with a standard barbell and squat, the barbell’s position is different in comparison to the safety squat bar. You are more naturally leaning forward than the safety squat bar where you will be more upright like a front squat. They are both beneficial in their regards; however, as a beginner, you’re able to refine your squat form faster than using a standard barbell. A study done in 2019 found that the safety squat bar uses more upper back while standard squats use more hamstrings, abdominals, and lats. However, both were beneficial in training leg strength.
Now I turn it over to you!
Knowing how much Olympic and other bars weigh in your gym, do you feel more confident?
Let me know in the comments below right now!