The back squat is the most basic leg and trunk strength builder for weightlifting.
Squeeze the shoulder blades together and place the bar in the trap musculature between the top of the traps and the top of the shoulders—it should not be in contact with any bone.
Place the heels at approximately hip width or slightly wider and turn the toes out 15-30 degrees from the center line.
Pressurize and brace the trunk forcefully with the back in its neutral curvature.
Bend at the knees and hips together to squat as directly down as possible, maintaining even balance over the whole foot.
Keep the knees approximately in line with the feet.
Full depth is the knee joint closed as much as possible while maintaining whole foot balance and a neutral spine. If you don’t yet have the mobility to squat to full depth, squat as deep as you can while maintaining proper back position and balance.
Maintain tension throughout the legs and trunk all the way through the bottom, and accelerate back up while maintaining an upright posture and whole foot balance.
Release a small amount of air as you stand without compromising trunk rigidity if you need to avoid dizziness.
Generally I prefer the back squat to be performed with minimal to no bounce in the bottom to ensure maximal leg strength development through the lowest range of motion.
Plenty of disagreement exists on how the back squat should be performed, but little within the competitive weightlifting community. This technique is specific to weightlifting to reinforce the postures needed for the snatch and clean & jerk.
The back squat is the most effective exercise for building basic strength, particularly of the legs and trunk. It is used for general leg strength development primarily, although nearly always is used in combination with the front squat for weightlifting.
There are a huge number of possibilities when it comes to programming the back squat. Most commonly weightlifters will use sets of 1-5 reps, but up to 10 reps are used in some cases early in preparatory phases of training and/or while gaining weight. Generally squats are performed near the end of a training session after all competition lift variations and any other speed or technique-oriented exercises. However, they can be performed first in a session if leg strength is severely lacking and needs to be emphasized, or as a way to force an athlete to be more aggressive in subsequent competition lifts and at least theoretically force the body to recruit more and higher-threshold motor units. They can also be done as heavy singles prior to other lifts for the sake of post-activation potentiation, although the effectiveness of this is far from reliable.
The back squat can be performed with a pause in the bottom and/or during the eccentric or concentric phases, with slow eccentrics (usually 3-6 seconds), to partial depths, from pins or blocks at various depths, with accommodating resistance, with different types of bars, and with different stances, with or without weightlifting shoes, among other options.
Find Your Squat Stance
Squat Depth & Variation
Hips & Knees Together
Dial in Your Squat
Back Squat Bar Placement
Breathing & Bracing