Posted by: PFB
The squat is one of the most powerful moves in the bodybuiler's repertoire. It trains more muscles in the legs and core than any other exercise in the book and at the same time it presses lots of 'anabolic buttons' stimulating your body to release more testosterone and growth hormone. Once you get to a certain point many bodybuilders believe that without squatting, you won't grow.
Unfortunately however many people choose to ignore the squat rack for fear of damaging their back, or just out of sheer laziness. The squat you see is no doubt a painful exercise, but you know the old saying 'no pain no gain' - and nowhere does that apply more than the gym.
To perform the squat properly then and not cause any damage to your back, first set the dumbbell at a height so that you have to stoop just slightly to get underneath it (otherwise you'll need to go on tip toes to lift it off the rack which is just a tad risky). The weight should be roughly similar to what you use on the bench press, but if this is your first time start off a bit lighter to ease yourself in.
Now bend at slightly the legs so you are standing beneath the bar with it running along the groove across your shoulders and just behind the neck. If you get it in the right place you should find it almost 'slots' in like it belongs there. The bar on its own you'll find digs slightly into your skin and leaves a red mark, but there's always the option of using the Velcro pads found in most gyms (though the hardcore bodybuilder should get used to the feel of the bar to avoid ridicule). Now straighten at the knees and lift it off the rack, take a few steps back and you're ready to squat.
Once you begin squatting you should be standing with your feet shoulders width apart and facing forwards. The weight should be directly over your centre of gravity which may mean leaning slightly forward but it certainly does not mean bending your spine. Now simply bend your legs and sit into the move as though you were sitting in an imaginary chair - your knees should be at roughly 90 degree angles (though some go lower its not advised as it can put unnecessary strain on your joints and damage your cartilage - just type 'squatting accident' into Google Images). Hold this position for a couple of seconds and then return to standing. Congratulations - you've just done a squat! Now do it again. Lots.