The back squat is known as the “King” of all exercises. A squat variation is one of the foundational exercises to my programming with clients, young or old, youth athletes, or college athletes. It is one of my favorite exercises when it comes to developing strength and power in the lower body, in addition to building mass throughout the entire body. In this weeks post, I have provided a step by step guide to learning the back squat, in addition to a video to help you understand it more visually.


  • After the athlete has earned the right to get under the bar and has progressed in the program to be able to back squat, I would Introduce the exercise to the athlete. My athletes have to master the fundamentals and demonstrate proper form before performing and sort of barbell movement. Proper form while performing body weight squats, proper mobility, full range of motion, developing a stronger core, and performing a good, thorough warm up are just some of the things an athlete must improve before performing a barbell back squat.
  • Getting set up with the bar centered on to the high to mid traps, hands spaced out evenly on the bar. The feet will be directly under the bar, and the athlete will grip the bar with a “death grip”
  • Set tension and position: Pull your hands towards your shoulders and drive elbows down while gripping the barbell as tight as possible. Take a deep diaphragmatic breathe, exhale and drive the ribs down. Perform the second breathe, which while expand the lower torso 3 dimensionally, and then continue to hold your breathe while isometrically bracing entire torso.
  • Unrack and walk: Continue to hold breath, drive the bar straight off the rack. Take one step back, with both feet, setting up in a squat stance. The goal is to minimize the number of steps taken to get into squat position.
  • Set lats and position: tell the athlete to imagine there is a string connected to the top of their head that is pulling them tall to help them understand to get straight with their torso.
  • Reset position and squat: the 3rd breath is taken, fully expanding lower torso, 3-dimensionally. Brace entire torso. Drive elbows down, head looking straight, back tight and locked into place.
  • Descending into squat: slight hip hinge is initiated and the athlete will pull themselves down into the rep by spreading the floor, driving their knees out, and keeping their chest up.
  • Driving back to lockout: At the lowest point, a powerful leg drive is performed and momentum of the barbell is reversed back to lockout. The athlete is to maintain a powerful 3-D brace of their entire torso. Makes sure the hips are fully locked out with a powerful glute contraction. Once the bar is locked out, the athlete will reset their air and get tall again before continuing the next repetition.

Now that you have a better understanding on how to perform the barbell back squat, get out there and SQUAT! Thank you for reading.

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