Muscles Targeted: The squat exercise targets so many different muscles of the lower body and it’s one of the most important compound movements to include in your weight training program. The primary muscle group it targets is the quadriceps which are the 4 muscles on the front of your thighs. This exercise also hits the hamstrings (back of legs), gluteus maximus (butt) and also strengthens the secondary muscles of the lower back.
Exercise Instructions: Stand in an area just in front of a squat rack and place a flat bench right behind where you are standing. Place a barbell behind your neck (on your trapezius muscles) and securely rest it on your shoulders. Your feet should be just beyond shoulder width apart. Begin this exercise by squatting to sit down on the bench behind you. Slowly lower the weight down and softly touch your butt onto the bench for a second and then return to the starting position. It is very important that you keep your back as straight as possible throughout this movement. One way to help do this is to keep your shoulders back and your chest out while focusing your eyes on a spot in front of you throughout the entire exercise.
Why This Exercise is Important: This exercise is excellent for people who may have issues with their knees or have limited range of motion and just can’t go below parallel on the normal squat exercise. The bench allows you to only go so far down before pushing the weight back up. The squat is one of the cornerstone exercises for the lower body and it’s critical to include into your workout routine for building a well-rounded physique. It hits so many major muscle groups and is the one compound multi-joint movement you definitely want to focus your attention on if your goal is to add maximum muscle mass to your body.
Things To Avoid: Always make sure to focus on your technique when doing this compound exercise and always monitor your back and knees. Avoid having a rounded back and avoid your knees from going inward. Your back should be flat with your shoulders back and your chest high. Your knees should be pointed a little outward.
Reps and Sets: Overall repetitions should be in the range of 6-12 for normal working sets. Warm-up sets should be in the range of 15-20 reps with very light weight to make sure you are fully warmed up and ready before moving into heavier sets. Total sets should be anywhere from 3-8 depending on how many total exercises you will be using for your leg workout.
Other Exercises To Use: Other great mass building exercises to include are leg press, walking lunges and dumbbell squats. It’s always important to include hamstring and calf exercises into your leg workout to make sure you have a balanced leg training routine.