The barbell front squat is a resistance exercise that works several major muscle groups. It’s a compound exercise that can enhance your core strength and improve flexibility, helping you to build powerful thighs, a strong lower back and firm abdominal muscles. This is an exercise that’s also flexible, as it can be performed with the barbell resting across the back of your shoulders, or with a set of dumbbells for variation.
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Better With Resistance
Squatting with a barbell adds resistance to a standard squat exercise, giving your muscles a much better workout. It's an exercise that develops a strong core by building solid abdominal muscles and a reinforced lower back. The benefits of a strong core include greater balance and stability, along with good posture, which all contribute to the prevention of falls and injuries. The barbell squat also benefits you because the added resistance of the weight develops strength and conditioning, meaning a reduction in possible knee injuries through increased leg power.
Get Your Technique Down
To perform a barbell front squat, hold the barbell at chest height and rest it against your shoulders. Cross your arms and put your hands on top of the barbell. Your arms should be parallel to the floor. This should be done while you remove the barbell from a rack to ensure safety and correct technique. Once you have the barbell in position, bend your knees and perform a squat while bending your hips back. Your knees and feet should be pointing in the same direction and each foot should be shoulder-width apart. Your squat should take you down so your thighs are parallel to the floor. Hold the position for two seconds and then push back up with your legs and hips.
Developing Thighs of Steel
Muscle building and strengthening of the lower body is the key benefit of a barbell squat. Your thighs are the main body part targeted, although many other parts of your leg, chest and back will all be engaged as you squat with the weight. Along with your quadriceps -- your thigh muscles -- you’ll also feel your gluteus maximus -- the main muscle in your butt -- working, as well as a muscle at the top of your inner thigh called the adductor magnus.
Stabilizing and Revitalizing
Along with your thighs and butt, your hamstring muscles and calf muscles will all benefit from a barbell front squat. These muscles are stabilizing muscles that help with your posture. The muscles include the erector spinae located in your back, the deltoids in your shoulders, the pecs in your chest and the trapezius in your upper shoulders, neck and back. Also engaged are the serratus anterior muscles covering your ribs, and your abdominals and obliques.
Always consult your doctor before engaging in any resistance exercises. Make sure to seek expert advice and guidance from a qualified instructor before lifting weights.