Barbell Squat

  • Alternative Names: Barbell back squat, barbell full squat, squat with a barbell
  • Type: Strength
  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Equipment: Barbell
  • Muscles Targeted: Quads, calves, hamstrings
  • Mechanics: Compound
  • Average Number of Sets: 2-3 with 8-10 reps each
  • Variations: Barbell squat press, one leg, and overhead barbell squats
  • Alternative: None

The barbell squat, also known as the barbell back squat, is a leg exercise that engages important muscle groups in the lower body, including the hamstrings, glutes, and quadriceps. It is commonly used as a leg-building exercise by professional powerlifters, bodybuilders, rugby players, and footballers.


  • Strengthens the joints, tendons, and ligaments around your hips and knees
  • Boosts your performance by improving ankle and core stability, as well as increasing shoulder mobility
  • Burns a lot of calories, helping you in losing weight

Barbell Vs Dumbbell Squat

Barbell Squat Dumbbell Squat
Weight Used Involves working with a heavier load Usually performed by holding a weight lesser than that used in barbell squats
Easy to do No. Requires space and can be performed only in a gym Yes. Can be done in your home
How does it help Works your posterior chain, promotes good posture, lessens lower back issues Prevents muscle imbalances

How to do Barbell Squats

Barbell Squat

40-50 lbs weights are good for this exercise. Balance the bar carefully on your shoulder traps, without putting any extra pressure on the back muscles.

Barbell Back Squat Tips

  • If you find the exercise difficult to perform, practice the squat with a dumbbell or kettlebell first and then progress to the barbell version.
  • Try to push the elbows forward before starting the lift, as it will help you in maintaining a strong position when moving the weight.
  • Wear knee wraps to prevent straining your hamstrings and add more stability to your hips.


  1. Barbell Squat Press: Performed in the same way as the basic barbell squat except that you press the bar over your head as you return to the standing position.
  2. One Leg Barbell Squat: Involves placing the barbell on the base of the neck with one foot resting on the bench and the other foot positioned in front of you.
  3. Overhead Barbell Squat: Is done by holding the barbell over your head with an overhand grip and the hands spaced twice as wide as your shoulder width.

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