Quarter squats serve as a variation of the traditional barbell squat – like standard squats, this exercise targets the quadriceps, calves, hamstrings and glutes. If you've been practicing body-weight squats and would like to increase the intensity of the exercise, quarter squats serve as a segue into full-fledged barbell squats. Likewise, you can perform this exercise without the weight – pointing your arms straight ahead or resting your hands on your hips – to transition into body-weight squats.
Load a barbell with weight suited to your skill level. Position the bar at a little lower than shoulder-height on a squat rack and then position yourself under the bar so that you support the bar with your upper shoulders, not your neck. Grasp the bar overhand with a wide grip – your hands should be about 6 inches out from your shoulders.
Straighten your back and push up through your heels to lift the bar off the rack. Take one step forward and plant your feet at shoulders-width, your toes pointed slightly out. Maintain a straight back and neck and keep your eyes directed straight ahead.
Lower into a partial squatting position, keeping your back and neck completely straight – avoid slouching or curving your spine. Drive the squatting motion with your hips, lowering your thighs about 6 to 12 inches. Hold for a count.
Return to the starting position without locking your knees, keeping a straight back as you rise. Repeat with a smooth, deliberate motion – focus on proper form and bar control rather than speed.
Items you will need
- Loaded barbell
- Squat rack
- Perform the quarter squat with no weight or with an unloaded bar to practice form and body control.
- While squat standards from ExRx.net suggest that a woman who weighs 148 pounds should begin squatting with 65 pounds of weight on the bar, err on the side of caution. If you feel a healthy engagement of the quads and hamstrings after one full set of quarter squats, you have enough weight. Reduce your load if you cannot perform the exercise slowly while maintaining full control over the barbell.
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