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Exercise 101: Back Squat Using Free Weights
Purpose —To develop strength in the legs, hips, and back
Muscles Used —Muscles of the thighs and buttocks
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- Grasp the bar of the barbell or dumbbell with a closed, overhand grip.
- Lift the barbell and place it across your upper back, just below the base of your neck. Or, you can lift the dumbbells up to shoulder height.
- Maintain your chest in an “up and out” position.
- Pull your shoulder blades toward each other while keeping your head slightly up.
- Position your feet shoulder-width apart and pointed slightly outward.
- Begin to slowly squat down by bending your knees. Control the downward movement by slowly flexing the muscles around your hips and knees.
- Keep your back flat, your elbows high, and your chest up and out.
- Keep your heels in contact with the floor and your knees aligned over your feet throughout the movement.
- Continue moving downward until your thighs are parallel to the floor.
- Maintain a rigid position at the bottom of the movement. Do not relax the trunk area.
- Begin to push yourself back to a standing position by extending the hips and knees at the same rate.
- Again, keep a flat back, high elbows, and your chest up and out throughout the movement.
- Extend the hips and knees until you are back in the starting position.
- Prevent your knees from going beyond your toes in the downward motion
- Control the speed of your movement during the entire range of motion
Repetitions, Sets, and Weight:
Muscle Strength : 1 to 3 sets of 8 to 10 reps
Muscle Endurance : 1 to 3 sets of 15 to 20 reps
Muscle Power : 1 to 3 sets of 3 to 5 reps
American College of Sports Medicine http://www.acsm.org/
American Council on Exercise http://www.acefitness.org/
Canadian Society of Exercise Physiology www.csep.ca/
Healthy Living Unit http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/pau-uap/fitness/
Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning . 2nd ed. Human Kinetics; 2000.
News and Publications. American College of Sports Medicine Website. Available at: http://www.acsm.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Brochures2&Template=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=8144 . Accessed January 17, 2008.