Do you know how to squat properly for muscle growth? Maybe you think you do, but see this checklist to make sure all is right.
The squat is regarded as the best lower body exercise a person can do by many in the fitness industry. After all, it can be done using only your body weight, it involves all the major muscles on your lower body, it has immense benefits for everyone who does it, and you can also do it with a barbell to keep getting stronger and stronger.
But do you know how to squat properly for muscle growth? Specifically, speaking the barbell back squat? That is what Jeremy Ethier wants to address.
Jeremy Ethier is a kinesiologist and fitness trainer, co-founder of Built With Science. His YouTube channel has over 4 million subscribers and he delivers clear information with sound background research.
This is his 4-step checklist on how to squat properly for muscle growth.
How To Squat Properly For Muscle Growth
You will feel aches and pains in your knees, hips, and even your shoulders if you don’t do this correctly. So how to squat properly for muscle growth? This is what Ethier explains in 4 steps.
According to Ethier, your anatomy will determine what kind of setup you should take when doing back squats.
First, just hold a very lightweight barbell on your back, put your feet hip-width apart and squat down. See how low you can get and feel it. Then try it again with a wider stance and compare. Keep trying until you can squat the lowest possible.
As for foot angle, most people do better with toes pointing out slightly outwards. The wider your stance, the more your toes will be pointing out. Just make sure you have three main points of contact with the floor – big toe, pinky toe, and heel.
2. Create Tension
Don’t just squat down straight from here. You want to activate several key muscles that will protect your back and keep you strong.
Screw your feet as if you were trying to touch heels, level your pelvis with the floor, and squeeze your inner thighs, glutes, and quads. Pull elbows forward under the bar and pull the bar into your traps.
Next on Ethier’s checklist on how to squat properly for muscle growth is the descent part.
Use your hamstrings to pull yourself down to squat, let your butt drop between your heels and push your knees out in the same direction as your toes. Keep your back tight and go as low as you comfortably can, but at least close to parallel to the floor.
And finally, the ascend part of squatting, and we want to make the chest and hips rise at the same rate.
Push the floor away and drive your traps against the barbell. Keep going up until your legs are fully extended – keep pressure on your abs to protect your back.
And that is Ethier’s checklist on how to squat properly for muscle growth. To fully understand how to do each of these steps, click on the video below to see the man himself explain everything in deeper detail.
VIDEO – How To Squat Properly For Muscle Growth
If you want to keep making lower body gains, check out this curated list of useful links that will help you achieve the fitness you want.
Good Leg Workouts at Home for Stronger Quads, Hamstrings and Glutes
The Insanely Effective and Brutal 100 Rep Leg Workout
Best Science-Based Leg Workout for Hamstrings, Quads and Calves
15 Best Squat Variations for Strength, Muscle and Fat Burn
6 Most Effective Quad Exercises for Strong, Great Looking Legs
8 Squat Secrets EVERY Athlete Should Use to Improve Their Lift
- Portfolio: Courtesy of CrossFit Inc.
- Back Squat Exercise: Alona Griffiths on Unsplash