Barbell Back Squat – Tutorial Guide and Full Video


By: Stuart Carter, Dip. PT, Precision Nutrition 1,

C.O.O., The Fit Father Project

The Barbell Back Squat is one of the king exercises for developing leg muscle size and strength. It will work your quads mainly but is also a great exercise for all over muscular development.

There are 2 types of Back Squat, which are a low bar squat and a high bar squat. If you have a shorter torso, you should use the high bar squat, and if you have a longer torso, you should use the low bar squat.

The reason you should use different types, depending on your size, is that your centre of gravity will be different when you have the bar in a different place.

When you have the bar on your shoulders, you should make sure you have the correct grip. This will depend on how much mobility you have in your shoulder girdle.

If you have poor mobility or range of motion, you should set your hands in a wider grip. If your mobility is good, then you can have your grip set closer to your shoulders.

Throughout the exercise, you should make sure you are squeezing your shoulder blades together, and your upper back is held strong.

Once you're in this strong start position, you can perform the exercise.

We have a full video tutorial below to show you the fine form points of the exercise. Also, if you need something to print off and take to the gym, you can find our step-by-step exercise walkthrough further down this page.

Barbell Squat – Step-by-step technique

    • Step 1: Raise the bar up onto your back, taking either a high or low position, depending on your height/torso length.
    • Step 2: Set your feet just past shoulder width apart and your hands in either a wider grip (if your shoulder mobility is poor) or a narrow grip (if your shoulder mobility is good) on the bar.
    • Step 3: Breathing in, hinge at your pelvis and push your butt back, like you are sitting in a chair. Keep your back neutral, with just a slight lean forward.
    • Step 4: At the lowest point, your feet should be flat on the ground, your knees behind your toes, your upper legs should be parallel to the floor, your back should be straight (not curved like a turtle shell), and your head should be upright.
    • Step 5: Pause at the low point, then breathe out as you fire back up to the start point, making sure not to lock your knees out at the top.

** Pro Tip #1: We recommend you mix up your reps and sets, using one heavy day of 3 sets of 4-5 reps and one light day at 3 sets of 20 reps.

** Pro Tip #2: We recommend using a lower weight when you first try this exercise to get the technique spot-on before you progress to the heavier weights.

To learn more exercises that you can use in your training, visit our complete exercise library on the Fit Father Project YouTube channel.


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* We hoped you enjoyed this article. Remember to always consult your doctor before starting any new exercise program and that this is not medical advice – just well-researched info. Please see our disclaimer at the bottom of this website. Exercise intelligently and safely at your own risk.


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