By: Kay Rivera

The Squat – a fundamental movement we use in our everyday lives. From sitting and standing back up from our office chairs, to finding a seat on the Subway, we perform countless squats throughout the day.

You will find variations of squats in both our Strength and Conditioning classes; from weighted squats, unilateral squats, to good ‘ole body-weight air squats.

In our Strength classes, you will find renditions of barbell squats as your main lift on Lower Body Day. This is where athletes are given the opportunity to load up the weight to build absolute strength.

The squat variation that usually allows athletes to lift the heaviest load is the back squat.

Back Squat Mechanics

Set up

  • Use the knurling (the rough texture) on the bar to measure our your hands and to place yourself centered on the bar for a secure grip.
  • Get under the bar, resting it on your traps and shoulders. Lift the bar from the rack and step back.
  • Make sure your feet are set properly and evenly with one another. Generally around shoulder width apart. Chest is up nice and tall.
  • Tip: Some athletes will notice they squat more comfortably with a wider or narrower stance. This is dependent on anatomy. Try multiple stances with body weight or with an unloaded bar to determine what is best for you.
  • Brace the core, bend from the hips, and bring the body down. Keep the core engaged and prevent rounding of the back. Keep your body tall and back straight as possible at the base of the movement. Focus on the full range of motion all the way down for every rep. Your range is based on personal mobility and flexibility.
  • Stand back up, the rep is completed at full extension of hips and knees.

The back squat is a compound movement, working more than one muscle group at a time. The major muscles worked are the glutes, the quads, the hamstrings, and the calves. Secondary muscles include in the back and core.

How do you know when to add weight to the bar?

Once you’ve mastered proper form and technique of the back squat, there are a few things to consider to start adding weight.

In order increase your strength and grow muscles we must train through progressive overload. This concept involves exposing your muscles to higher and higher workloads, whether through volume, weight, or frequency, in order grow and get stronger.

Provided that your form and range of motion remains the same, adding 5 to 10 lbs of resistance week over week will help increase strength and performance over time.

What is my one-rep max?

A one-rep max is the maximum weight that you can do for one repetition.

Determining what your potential one-rep max is, allows you to work in your sets as a percentage of that weight.

At Tone House, you will find yourself working anywhere between 50 to 85% of your one-rep max throughout the month in order to get certain adaptations, either in muscular strength, muscular hypertrophy, endurance, or power output.

Our Strength programming follows a monthly cycle. The beginning of each month starts with endurance and volume. Athletes can expect higher rep counts on the platform and will work around 50-80% their max.

As the month progresses, the programming reduces in volume and we focus on heavier weights on the bar. This focuses on building strength and power in your lifts.

By the end of the month, it’s time to test your strength with 1-2 heavy reps at 90-100% of your one-rep max.

Ready to load up and test your Back Squat? Try our Strength or Conditioning classes by purchasing a Rookie Pass to get your first two classes for the price of one.

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