Squats work primarily the quadriceps, but also the calves, glutes and hamstrings. Using a bar and weight, also called a barbell, makes this exercise more difficult, which increases the chance to build muscle strength. To begin, start with only 5 to 10 pounds on the barbell to get used to the movement of the exercise. If you wish to build endurance, start with a few repetitions and then slowly increase the number of repetitions each day you exercise. If you wish to build strength, slightly increase the amount of weight you put on the barbell each week.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Point your toes slightly outward. Place the barbell behind your head, resting it across the top of your shoulders and holding it in place with your hands. Tighten your abdominals. Look at the wall in front of you.
Bend your knees slowly until your legs are bent slightly lower than a right angle. Don't allow your knees to go beyond your toes in order to prevent too much stress on your knees. Keep your back straight and your head up.
Push your heels into the floor as you stand back up to the starting position. Repeat the exercise 10 times.
- Talk to your doctor before starting any new exercise program.
Though constantly traveling the world, Julia Williams is based in Chicago and has been writing since 2006. Williams holds a Bachelor of Science in accounting. She is also a licensed fitness instructor, specializing in Pilates since 2003 and has written hundreds of articles on exercise and health.