If you have ever watched the women's Olympic weight-lifting competition, you may have wondered how they manage to squat so deep with a heavy weight. Although you don't have to be an elite athlete to master the rock-bottom squat -- or deep squat -- this movement pattern requires high degree of stability in your core, proper breathing and hip mobility. With a barbell, you can do a simple front squat that mimics the Olympic version.
Barbell Front Squat
Hold a 30-pound barbell at your shoulder level with your hands about shoulder-distance apart. Hold it with your palms facing away from you. Stand with your legs about shoulder-distance apart with your feet pointing forward or slightly turned out.
Inhale as you squat down as low as you can while keeping your torso straight, bringing your buttocks below your knee level.
Exhale sharply as you stand straight up. Perform three sets of eight to 10 reps.
- Athletic Body in Balance; Gray Cook
- ExRx: Barbell Front Squat
- If you don't have a barbell, a pair of 15- to 20-pound dumbbells will also work. Just hold the weights near and over your shoulders with your elbows tucked close to your ribs. A Smith machine at the gym will also do the job.
- Although you need a significant amount of weight to gain the strength benefits, lifting more than you can handle can cause injury to your back, hip and knees. If you have pain or any medical issues that may worsen with exercise, check with your health-care provider before starting any exercise program. Work with a qualified fitness professional if you are new to squatting.
Nick Ng has been writing fitness articles since 2003, focusing on injury prevention and exercise strategies. He has covered health for "MiaBella" magazine. Ng received his Bachelor of Arts in communications from San Diego State University in 2001 and has been a certified fitness coach with the National Academy of Sports Medicine since 2002.