As a Personal Trainer in Canterbury the back squat is a staple in almost all of my clients programmes, and here's why!
The barbell back squat is arguably the most important exercise in the gym. Many of us undertake it for different reasons and even more of us skip it on a weekly basis. So what are the benefits, does it fit into your training regimen and what is the correct way to perform the back squat?
Everyone should to some extent incorporate the back squat into their training programme. Arguably the best exercise for building strength in the legs, glutes, core and lower back.
The muscle groups running down our posterior from the shoulders to the knee are known as our posterior chain. These are largely responsible for everything from our posture to our power output. The back squat is arguably the best exercise (along with the deadlift) at developing all of these muscles within one movement.
So how does this fit into your training? Regardless of if we look at aesthetics, Power, strength or endurance training the back squat can be slightly altered to fit any programme:
The width of our stance and foot position in the back squat can determine where we shift the majority of the load in the movement to. If we take a wide stance and slightly point our toes out then we can increase the load on our glutes, hamstrings and adductors. By taking a narrower stance we can increase the load on our quads, abductors and ITB.
Just like most exercises we can vary the benefits of the back squat by changing the amount of reps we perform. 1-3 for power, 3-6 for strength, 8-12 for hypertrophy and 14+ for endurance are the numbers that tend to work for me but everyone is slightly different.
There are other factors like bar position, if you are in a lateral or unilateral stance and weather you want to add plyometric movements to your squat. All of these add further benefits to the back squat but in the interest of simplicity we will leave it at that for today.
In short. Regardless of your training you should almost certainly be adding the back squat in there somewhere.