The back squat is the most effective exercise for building total-body strength and functionality. You will be hard-pressed to find another movement that can provide the same potential to load the skeleton safely while simultaneously building flexibility, coordination and balance.
Plus, squatting heavy provides a huge hormonal response in the body. In fact, the physical benefits are too numerous to list, but the most notable adaptations can be increased lean muscle mass, strength and bone density. Want great abs? Squat heavy! Want bigger or more defined arms? Squat heavy! Want to perform better on the sporting field, in combat or in the bedroom? Squat heavy!
1. The Setup
Load a barbell in a rack so that the J hooks are approximately 3 inches beneath the top of your shoulders. Walk under the bar and place it on the back of the shoulders between the traps and shoulder blades (for purposes of illustration, we removed the rack from the photo here). Your hands should be firmly grasping the bar just outside your shoulders. Take a deep breath, stand the weight up and walk back two steps.
Keep your back safe and train your core to the max by taking a deep breath at the top of every rep to maintain a fixed position of the spine as you move.
2. The Starting Position
Place your feet shoulder-width apart with your toes pointed slightly out. Keeping your eyes straight ahead, take a breath, brace your belly by contracting your abs and pushing them out, and get ready to squat.
Maintain a tight brace on your belly and keep your back flat and chest up throughout the movement.
3. The Action
Reach your hips back and down just as if you were reaching to sit on a low stool. Squat until the crease of your hips is below the top of your knees. Then drive back up, driving through your heels to a full standing position.
Keep your weight back in your heels and push your knees apart from each other, opening your legs as you squat.