Free barbell squat is by many considered THE exercise. The best, most powerful and effective exercise to build muscle. The one that gives the average bodybuilder the greatest results in terms of muscle gains in legs and not only.
I always get excited when I talk about free squats.
You've probably heard that
Free Barbell Squat Helps You Build Muscle in Your Whole Body
right? Sooner or later we all encounter someone that says that.
...is it TRUE or MYTH?
I'd say both.
It's a myth if you believe that doing free squats will make you gain bicep size, or chest size...or any other muscle that is not legs.
It's true if you trust that your other muscles exercises will be much more effective if you include barbell squats in your routine.
When you do squats your body is stimulated to produce more testosterone and HGH and this is what makes other exercises work better.
Barbell Squat Details
PRIMARY MUSCLE: Quads
SECONDARY MUSCLES: Hamstrings, Glutes, Lower Back, Abs
EQUIPMENT: Barbell, Squat Rack
INITIAL POSITION: Adjust the barbell at that height that allows you to step into the squat rack and lift it easily after position it on your upper traps and rear shoulders. You should be positioned in the center of the bar. Squeeze your shoulder blades. Look up or straight, not down. Grip should be wide enough to for a 90 degree angle between arms and forearms. When you feel comfortable, un-rack the bar and step back. Position your feet flat on the ground, slightly wider than shoulder width and toes slightly pointing outside.
MOVEMENT: Keeping your back rigid and straight (which doesn't mean upright straight) lower your body as much as you can, at least down to parallel. Chest out, belly in. Always look up or at least straight. Take a big breath and push up on your heels till you extend your legs again, without locking your knees, keep the tension.
BREATHING: Breath as much as you need. your body needs lots of oxygen when you do squats. Inhale while you lower your body, exhale when you lift the bar. Once up allow yourself some more breathing as needed.
TIPS and ERRORS: You need to be very careful when doing free squats. First, never lift your heels from the ground, keep your feet flat, and use your heels to push up with force. Then, when you squat, your knees should never go pass your tip toes. Don't ever bend your back, keep it rigid or you'll snap! Look up or straight because if you look down you bend your neck and your spine can be injured. Use a foam pad where you rest the bar on your back. Looking at you from the side, you should see the barbell moving up and down on a vertical line. To help you, push your butt out.
Click here to read more about the top squat mistakes to avoid
Oh, btw, this might sound silly but let me give you some advice.
As you can already imagine, for each barbell exercise there is a corresponding dumbbell version. Also squats can be done with dumbbells, but I really don't recommend it.
Free barbell squat can be dangerous if the form is not 100% correct. Plus, squat is an exercise that requires you to lift heavy weights in order to be effective and build muscle fast.
You would have to use very heavy dumbbells, which:
- First, it can be very difficult to just hold them, and then
- They may be harmful for your arm ligaments and
- It could be hard to hold the balanced position that you need
If you lose balance and stability when you do exercises with very heavy dumbbells...you are likely to snap!!
Just stay with barbell squats, I don't see the advantage of trying dumbbell squats!
Return to Home Page