The glute medius is used to abduct the hip. You essentially create a shelf for the bar to sit on with your muscles. Squat Biomechanics: How Joint Angles Impact The Muscles Used, Squat Anatomy: Which Muscles Are Worked In The Squat, Muscles Used in Different Variations Of The Squat. Doing the same old things will cause some muscle groups to lag behind others. In this article, I’ll discuss what each muscle is responsible for in the squat. This depth is called a squat depth that is below parallel and is considered the full range of motion in competitive powerlifting. And the addition of the SS bar will demand more of your upper back and thoracic extensors to stabilize the bar on your back. All examined muscles were more activated during concentric phase of the squat cycle ( p < 0.05). The greater the distance between the line of force and your joints, the harder your muscles need to work to overcome the external load. Maintain the brace throughout the squat, on the descent and the ascent. Also, squats require ankle, knee, and hip extension all at the same time, which is why squats are called a compound movement as opposed to the biceps curl, which consists of single-joint elbow flexion alone. While the squat is a powerful movement that can turn you into an athlete or looking like one, it is a dangerous movement. The bar should be set around chest height. Stand to full height with the barbell across your back and firmly pull the barbell down onto your shoulders. Certain muscle groups are more or less engaged depending on which variation of the squat you’re doing and the range of motion emphasized. Many people might be surprised that the calves have a (small) role in the squat. On a personal level, I’ve been dedicating myself to the world of powerlifting for the past 15 years, having both competed and coached at the highest level. For example, if your knees do not travel forward during the squat, then they won’t experience any stress and your quad muscles won’t be significantly loaded. In the squat, keeping the hip abducted will ensure your knees track over your toes properly. When doing a low-bar squat, you have to shoot your hips back, thus, lengthening the hamstring. This will require you to use your quads a lot more to drive up because of the greater angle at your knee joint. The quadriceps are one of the strongest muscles in the human body, which accounts for the transformative power of squats. As the knees straighten, the hamstrings are engaged more in order to bring the hips to the bar. Muscles Worked in the Squat. However, the biggest conclusion was that there was greater glute activation in the wide stance squat. The glutes are made up of three muscles: glute maximus, glute medius, and glute minimus. To maintain a flat back, before you squat, you must take a deep breath and brace, contract your abs, and maintain this intraabdominal pressure throughout the squat. The Fit Apprentice™ - Copyright © 2020 - - All Rights Reserved - Hosted by BIGSCOOTS, The sheer number of muscles worked by the squat explains why many. Squats can improve your performance as an athlete or only improve your functional daily activities and quality of life. Duck your head under the barbell and get your shoulders under the barbell. Furthermore, as you remember from the biomechanics section, the knees will travel in front of the line of force as it descends into the squat. In the high bar squat, you will place the barbell on your upper traps just below the big bony bone at the bottom of your neck (C7). To back this up, a study by Paoli et al. Your erectors are the muscles that run along the outside of your spine. You should now have a strong understanding of each of the muscles involved in the squat, and how they function together to complete the movement. In the bottom of the squat, you’ll use more quad muscles to extend the knee out of the hole. This is because in order to prevent your elbows from dropping forward, and the barbell falling off your shoulders, you need to stabilize through the muscles in your upper back. Everyone will have a natural forward torso lean in the squat based on their individual leverages. It’s just likely that they’re not working as hard as other squat variations that require more forward knee bend in the hole. Pull yourself under the bar and trap it tight against your tops of your shoulders and back of your neck. Take a guy who can high bar / low bar at 200 / 180lb respectively. If you find that you squat in a fairly narrow stance, you can consider implementing wide stance squats as an exercise variation in your program in order to gain greater glute activation. Once you are ready to start squats, use the beginner squat workout routine mentioned above, and experience the transformative power of barbell squats muscles worked on your mind and body. It is obvious that the low-bar squat recruits more muscles than the other. Adductor muscles group. Muscles Used In The High Bar Squat. Pin and share the 7 Powerful Squats Muscles Worked That Will Improve Your Life (Whether You’re an Athlete or Not), Hashi Mashi™ Diet + Training System is Designed for Informational Purposes Only & Does Not Provide Medical Advice, Treatment or Diagnosis. The wide stance squat is considered a hip-dominant movement where you’ll use more musculature of the glutes. The glute medius is the side part of your glute. Med Sci Sports Exercise. The barbell should sit on the ‘shelf’ of your traps across your shoulders. Bracing, which some also call blocking, will help prevent injury to your spine during squats, as well as when you deadlift. How Many Calories Are Burned Deadlifting in One Workout? Warning: To repeat, you must maintain a neutral back, a flat back, throughout the squat from when you lower your hips to below parallel and back to a standing position. These are powerful muscles, which help you to bend forward as well as return to a standing position. Before you begin the descent with the barbell for any squat variation, you must take in a deep breath of air and contract your abdominal muscles. They are also known as the hip adductors and are composed of: Like the gluteus maximus, the adductor Magnus is one of the largest muscles in the human body. However, it means that all of the stress gets transferred to your hip extensors, which requires your glutes and low-back to work much harder. This is the case when squatting ass-to-grass. A brief synopsis of how to barbell squat: Get the right footwear for squats. So the deeper you go and the greater forward knee bend you have, the more you can expect the quads to work. They extend from the lower back of the skull down to the Pelvis. A squat variation that primarily works the quadriceps and gluteal muscles are dumbbell squats. If this is the case, then you likely won’t get the quad activation you’re seeking by doing the high bar squat. Squats work the muscles you can see in your lower legs, the quadriceps, and the ones that you cannot, your glutes and hamstrings. This wider position of the barbell squat engages the adductor group muscles as you lower and lift your torso. 531 for Beginners – How to Set Up this Classic Strength Program, NASM CPT Exam – Top 12 Tips To Pass On Your First Try. The effect of stance width on the electromyographical activity of eight superficial thigh muscles during back squat with different bar loads. ‘The Erector Spinae provides resistance that assists in bending forward at the waist. Spend plenty of time performing the squat with the bar high on the traps and the heels elevated. Air squats, meaning bodyweight squats (not using weights), are excellent for conditioning and mobility. Keep a neutral back by lifting your chest and maintaining the intrathoracic pressure created by your deep breath before beginning the squat. For my athletes, I generally don’t use the pin squat to target the knee extensors. Unlike the high bar squat, the low bar type works your hamstrings and gluteus muscles more than the quads. A cue often used for low-bar squat placement … Joints will experience more or less stress the further they are in relation to the load, which requires your muscles to work harder. You can place more emphasis on your knee or hip extensors depending on where you are failing in the squat or notice the movement breaking down. Unsurprisingly, this bottom position requires the most mobility in your knees, ankles, and wrists compared with other squat variations. Setting the bar too high or too low can force a lifter to put themselves in a dangerous position in order to un-rack and re-rack the weighted barbell. The muscle groups targeted are your quadriceps on the front of your thigh and your hamstrings on the back. This is not to say that your quads aren’t working at the bottom of the squat. If you want more quad dominant squat variations, use the high bar squat, pause squat, front squat, or a low pin squat. It performs a similar function to the glute maximus, which allows the hips to extend fully. If you are using your hip extensors, it will look like your hips are popping up out of the bottom where your torso becomes more horizontal to the floor. a bar on your back), your muscles have to produce sufficient torque at the joints to … The first part of successful barbell squats at the rack. You can perform the pause squat in either a high or low bar position. What happens when your quads are fatiguing is that the body will want to shift the loading demands from your knee extensors to your hips extensors to finish the movement (putting you into a good morning squat position). One of the most important actions you must take when you squat is to brace your core. In spite of the lower EMG readings in this study, a recent longitudinal study found similar adaptations with barbell and safety bar squats. Quadriceps. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to To see some amazing demonstrations of the Olympic snatch, see this article on the spectacular Dmitry Kolokov and his halting snatch deadlift warmup for the Olympic snatch. The spine should stay rigid in order to transfer the force effectively from your knees and hips into the bar. Using the SS bar for Bulgarian split squats will allow you to use more weight than you could with dumbbells. In the concentric phase, significant differences between the loads were generally not observed between just 5% 1RM change in load … The abdominals and obliques prevent the spine from extending (arching back) or twisting. Now you can see how the squat works your entire leg, from the front to the back. The bar load will come to a dead stop, and then you’ll push up and back into the bar to drive it off the pins to standing. What this means is that regardless of the type of stance you have, you’ll still be required at some point to push your knees forward to get the required depth in the squat. Your feet should be a bit wider than shoulder-width. The high bar squat is considered a knee-dominant movement and will require your quads to work much harder. Paoli, A., Marcolin, G., Petrone, N. (2009). The quads are the primary muscles used to extend the knee. What this means is that no matter what stance you pick, you’re going to get the same level of quad activation; however, the wide stance squat will allow you to place even more loading demand on the glutes. Can You Squat and Deadlift on the Same Day or Not? Muscles worked: inner thighs, glutes Start by standing with your feet out wide and your toes pointing out. As a result, it’s a much more physically demanding variation. The deeper you squat, the more your knees bend forward, and the greater your quads need to work. An excellent squat workout routine for beginners (including warmup), and Point the toes of your shoes to 11 am for your left foot, and 1 pm for your right foot, approximately 30 degrees. One quick note: the more you bend forward into your knees though, the greater your ankle mobility needs to be. This is great, since the posterior chain is important to back health. In the Low Bar Back Squat, the bar sits 2 to 3 inches below the high bar position, between your rear delts and upper traps. In short, the more muscle you’re using, the more muscle you’re developing.Additionally, the low-bar squat puts a great amount of stress on your posterior chain. This barbell position is called a high bar squat. This will put more loading demand on your quads because you’re spending more time under tension with your knees bending forward in the bottom of the squat. In the high-bar position, more knee bend happens and more anterior thigh muscles (especially quadriceps) become involved in the movement. The three main squat variations are the low-bar back squat, the high-bar back squat, and the front squat. The hamstring has two roles in the squat. The high bar squat is the choice of many Olympic weightlifters because the snatch and clean and jerk require an excessive amount of forward knee bent. Meanwhile, the low bar squat places the bar approximately three to four inches lower so that the bar sits right above the spine of the scapula. Starting Strength vs. GSLP, A Great Beginner Deadlift Workout Routine for Powerlifting and Fitness, The Best Dumbbell Chest Workout at Home - No Bench Needed, 7 Best Compound Exercises to Get Lean and Strong + Workout, 5 Best Shoes for Squats and Deadlifts 2020 Buying Guide, 5 Best Deadlift Shin Guards on the Market Today in 2020, The Obesity Code Summary Guide to Get Lean, How to Deadlift for Beginners - A Step By Step Guide, 5 Best Deadlift Bars for Beginners on the Market Today in 2020, Compound Exercises for Weight Loss – The Best Workout Plan, 5 Simple Steps to Stop Elbow Pain From Lifting Weights, 12 Awesome Benefits of Rebounding to Improve Your Health and Fitness, What Is Powerlifting? The high bar squat is defined by resting the bar on your back, on a muscular shelf created by your upper trapezius muscles.This would be the “standard” variation of the back squat that you will see in most commercial gyms. They attach at the top of the pelvis, ribs, and the spine itself. With weak abdominals and obliques, the erectors don’t maintain as much tension potential as it otherwise would. To get a bigger squat and improve your mechanics, you need to have a complete understanding of the muscles used in the squat. But, if you want even more quad activation then choose the high bar position. If you struggle to squat below parallel, you can read my 9 tips to squat deeper. With a low bar squat, you’ll have slightly more forward torso lean. The variations that will be discussed are: The low bar squat is considered a hip-dominant movement and will use more muscles of the posterior chain, such as the spinal erectors and glutes. This would mean that your glutes and adductor magnus, and to a lesser extent your hamstrings, need to be addressed through several variations, such as high pin squats, wide stance squats, and Romanian deadlifts. Alan Thrall Squats Tutorial – How To Squat: Low Bar. But it’s something worth getting better at if you want to work your quads in a squatting variation. A normal stance width for most people will be slightly outside of shoulder-width distance. Rack a 45-pound Olympic barbell approximately chest height in front of you. A lot of times you’ll hear people cue high-bar squat placement by saying, “Use your traps to create a shelf for the bar.”The low-bar squat places the bar further down on the back across the spine of the scapula. You’ll want to pick up on these signals as much as possible. If you find yourself in this position, you’ll want to recognize that you have a quad weakness and implement squatting variations that will increase the strength of your knee extensors. Additionally, the squat engages your glutes, hamstrings, and calves, as well as muscles in your lower back. What To read next? An “antagonist stabilizer” will help maintain the postural alignment of specific joints. (2001) showed that a narrow, medium, and wide stance squat were all considered ‘knee-dominant’ movements. This site is owned and operated by Top 10 Types of Deadlifts + Which Variation is Best for You? This position will force you to maintain an upright torso, even more so than what I described previously for the high bar squat. #6. Still, to build strength, you need to follow a linear progression program like the. When your hips move back behind this line, and your knees move forward, you create additional stress on these joints. With all that said, it's still not a great idea to spend every squat session using the low bar squat only. One of the main differences between the low-bar and high-bar squat is bar placement on the back. Both use exactly the same muscles, but the front squat also involves the shoulders which the backsquat (low and high bar) doesn't use at all or at the very most just a tiny bit of the posterior deltoids. The squat activates almost every muscle in your body, including your abdominal muscles, as well. Sure, there are regions of the body, muscle groups, and movements that respond extremely well to torturous high-rep sets to produce a desired training response, but there are also movements that, in my experience, should not be challenged with reps. You may have heard of them: the back squat, barbell deadlift, and bench press. In summary, the squats work all the major muscle groups of your entire lower body. This article is part of a series on the muscles used in the powerlifting movements. The sheer number of muscles worked by the squat explains why many consider the squat to be the number one free weight exercise on the planet! Outside of work, Dr. Steven Armus is committed to maintaining physical fitness through activities such as weightlifting. Besides the erector spinae muscles, squats also work your upper back muscles, especially your latissimus dorsi muscles, as you brace and balance the weight on your back. Therefore, the glute maximus serves an important function in the top range of the squat in order to bring the hips into full extension. The bottom line is that squats are one of the most effective movements you will ever do. Squats target and develop nearly every muscle group in your body, as well as your cardiovascular system. Squats muscle groups used include your abdominal core and obliques. This tightening of your core is also called blocking. A wide stance squat is considered somewhere between 1.5-2X shoulder-width distance. This action seems counterintuitive, but it is a helpful cue to solidify your body together with the barbell, whether you have weights on the barbell or not. 20 Greatest Benefits of Squats; The King of Free Weight Strength Training, Calculate Calories Burned Doing Squats in 3 Easy Steps, 5 Best Shoes for Squats and Deadlifts on the Market Today in 2020, One Great Beginner Squat Workout Routine for Powerlifting and Fitness, The Top 10 Squat Accessory Exercises for a Bigger, Better Squat, Overhead Squat Assessment Muscles Mnemonic for the NASM CPT Exam, 15 Big Bulgarian Split Squat Benefits Unlock Your Fitness, Proper Way to Do Squats; 26 Secrets for the Perfect Squat, Top 10 Ways To Avoid Knee Pain After Squats, The Spectacular Muscles Worked by The Incredible Push-Up. However, you’re not all of a sudden going to fail in the bottom range before at least grinding a few reps out. You cannot compare the number of squats muscles targeted to most other weight training exercises. A strong set of Adductors typically increases stabilisation. Low-Bar vs. High-Bar Squats... (continued) better squatter at 611 than Phil’s 589. The hack squat is a compound movement that works all lower-body muscles (quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, calves, and hip flexors) and the core muscles; which include the rectus abdominis and internal/external obliques. This just means that your erectors will need to be much stronger if you have more forward torso lean. The Overhead Squat effectively raises the body's center of gravity and the core muscles are called into play to stabilize the arms and torso throughout the movement. Having your hips and knees travel in an opposing direction to the line of force in the squat is totally normal. In this position, you’ll be hinging from your hips more, and flexing into your knees less. If you’re someone who has longer legs and a shorter torso, then you’ll experience more forward lean than someone who has shorter legs and a longer torso. Keeping weight in your back heels, … Goblet Squat vs Front Squat: How-To, Differences, Benefits. #7. Escamilla, R., Fleisig, G.,, Lowry, T., Barrentine, S. (2002). As you drive out of the bottom of the squat, and you enter the mid/top end of the squat, the greater your glutes, adductor magnus (inner thigh), and hamstrings need to work to extend the hips. As soon as your hips reach below parallel, pull the barbell down on your body even more, and drive your feet into the floor, which will generate the force necessary for you to stand up. Be aware that while the muscles listed below are predominantly lower extremity muscles, the squat should be considered a full-body exercise.