How to Perform a Weighted Squat
Performing weighted squats has many health benefits. This can range from increased strength throughout your entire body, including your legs, core and back, to increased running speed, increased jump height and even fat burning. To reap these health benefits, you must know how to properly perform squats; from warm-up, to replenishing your body after the exercise.
Begin your warmup by running on a treadmill. Running on a treadmill before squatting is a great way to get the blood flowing into your legs. This allows you to perform your workout better.
- Start at a low speed setting and fast walk, until you feel your heart rate has started to increase.
- Increase the speed, until you reach a comfortable jog.
- Continue jogging at this pace for 5 to 10 minutes, so that you break a sweat.
Perform a toe touch stretch. This stretch is good for loosening up your hamstrings, which play a large role in performing a weighted squat.
- Begin by placing your feet shoulder width apart.
- With both hands, reach first to your right foot, aiming to touch your toes.
- Reach until you can feel a stretch in the back of your leg.
- Hold this position for 10 to 15 seconds.
- Repeat the above steps for the opposite leg.
Stretch your quads by doing a hurdler stretch. This will stretch your quad muscle group, which is a very active muscle group when doing squats.
- Place your hand against a wall for balance.
- Bend one knee behind your body and grab it with the corresponding hand.
- Pull up on your leg, until you feel a stretch in your quads.
- Hold this position for 10 to 15 seconds, and release. Repeat these steps on the opposite leg.
- Repeat these stretches until you are satisfied that you quads are sufficiently stretched.
Performing the Squat
Set the bar at the correct height. Properly setting the bar is important, because you will be lifting from and returning the bar to its original position on the rack. If the bar is not at the right height, you may hurt yourself by dropping the weights when trying to replace the bar on the rack.
- Setting the height of the bar is based on the height of the person performing the exercise.
- Set the bar so that it is at your upper chest level.
- Depending on the type of squat rack used, the way the height is adjusted will differ. Consult an instruction book for the specific rack if further explanation is needed. Alternatively, if you are preforming the exercise in a gym, talk to one of the attendants who work there.
Perform your first set of squats. For your first set, do this without adding any weight to the bar, to practice good form. Begin squatting by lifting the bar off the rack.
- Step under the bar.
- Grab the bar with both hands at equal distance from the center of the bar.
- Position the bar to focus on your upper back muscles (also known as the traps).
- Straighten your back and stand up to lift the bar from the rack.
- Take two steps back and position your feet shoulder width apart.
Squat with the bar using proper form to avoid injury. The squat is a full body compound exercise, which works multiple muscle groups at the same time. Pay close attention to your form, ensuring that you are properly performing the exercise.
- Bend your knees while the bar rests on your upper-back.Make sure to keep your back straight.
- Keep your weight on your heels, not your toes.
- Squat down, until your hips are below your knees. Keep your knees and lower back neutral, meaning you should keep your knees in line with your toes.
- Push back up with your legs, while keeping your back straight.
- When you reach the top, lock your hips in to finish the motion.
- Your abs and lower back muscles stabilize your body while you perform this motion.
- Use your upper back and arms to balance the bar.
Recovering from the Weighted Squat
- Stretching immediately after a workout will increase muscle recovery speed.
- Get at least eight hours of sleep each night.
- Stretching each day, after a regular workout, will help with muscle recovery.
- Avoid fast foods.
- Eat at least three meals per day.
- Include protein, carbs, healthy fats, and lots of vitamins in your diet
ry some of these healthy meals after your workout:
- Salmon and sweet potato
- Tuna salad sandwich
- Omelet with avocado
- Cottage cheese and fruits
When adding weight to the bar for the first time, it might help to have a partner spot you while performing the exercise. It’s always a good idea to start with no weight and add it gradually on a weekly basis.
If you’re feeling some muscle tightness, try stretching with a vibration ball to loosen your body and make your muscles less tense to start.
Always practice proper form. Using improper form can lead to injuries to your knees, back, hip, neck, ankles, and other body parts.