The high bar squat is one of the simpler barbell squat variants. The bar position is more intuitive (and comfortable for many) than low bar squats, and compared to overhead and front squats, the position is more stable, giving a gentler learning curve.
Primary Purpose: Squats are a great leg exercise, emphasising the quadriceps (front of thigh).
Additional Purposes: Squats also strengthen the glutes (bum), hamstrings (back of thigh) and erectors (lower back/spinal support) to varying degrees. Correct technique strengthens the core and pelvic floor muscles, and supporting the weight on your shoulders strengthens postural muscles. Squats are a compound (multi-joint) exercise, which allows many muscles to be trained at once, sets a high cardiovascular demand and increases energy expenditure per rep.
- Place hands evenly on the bar.
- Sit bar on upper trapezius, just below the large bone at the base of your neck.
- Position feet about shoulder-width apart (closer or wider depending on what allows the greatest natural range of motion); turn toes out slightly.
- Squeeze scapulae (shoulder blades) together, lift chest, breathe deeply and contract your core.
- Unlock hips and knees.
- Push knees out.
- Sink down, as if sitting between your legs.
- Go as low as you can while keeping weight on your heels, knees out and lower back in a neutral arch.
- As soon as you reach the bottom, drive heels through the floor and lead with your chest.
- Use glutes to fully extend hips and knees.