Proper Placement of the Barbell for Squats

Rest the barbell on your shoulders, not your neck, to prevent injury.

Rest the barbell on your shoulders, not your neck, to prevent injury.

When you feel like you've reached maximum booty shaping from your squat routine, add some resistance to make your muscles work harder. Barbells add weight to your squats, but it also looks impressive when you hit the free-weight side of the gym. Use the proper form to make sure you target the right muscles and don't get hurt.

Grabbing the Bar

Although you should always use a spotter when working with free weights, it's not a good idea to have him place the barbell on your shoulders for you -- he might be distracted by your beauty and drop the barbell or set it in the wrong place. Use a barbell rack instead. Set the barbell on the rack a little lower than your shoulders, then step under it and push up from your legs. Give yourself a little clearance from the rack by taking a couple of steps back.

Hand Position

When you grab the bar, think "chicken wing." Bend your elbows behind your back slightly and hold the bar with your hands right beside your shoulders. It feels a bit awkward at first, but the best way to keep the bar stable is to keep your hands close in to your body. Your palms should be facing forward with your fingers on top of the bar.

Barbell Position

They don't make neck braces to match your purse and shoes, so take the time to put the barbell in the right spot before you squat. Placing it too high, where it rests on the bottom of the neck, can damage your neck muscles and your spine. Instead, put it below your neck in your shoulder girdle. This is a narrow space between the bone that runs across the top of your shoulders and the top of your shoulder blades. Squeeze your shoulder blades together to help create a little shelf to keep the barbell firmly in place. The barbell should not rest on top of your shoulders; it should be slightly below.

Proper Form

When the barbell is comfortably resting across the back of your shoulders, watch your form to help prevent injury to your back. Keep your chin up, your chest out and your back straight. Tighten your abs to help support your back, and lean forward slightly. Then, do what you typically do with a squat. Push your hips back and down as you bend your knees to 90 degrees, then push up through your heels to stand up. If you start to lose your grip on the barbell, don't try to catch it with your back. Step forward quickly and bend your knees slightly to place the barbell back on the rack, or call for help from your spotter. He'll be more than happy to assist a damsel in distress.

 

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