(Primary muscles: quadriceps, gluteus maximus, and lower and upper back muscles. It places more emphasis on the front thigh than barbell squats)
Step up to the bar and position it across the deltoids at the base of the neck just above the upper pectorals. With your upper arms parallel to the floor and keeping your elbows just below shoulder height, cross your arms over the weight. Lift bar off the rack, step back, and set your feet at shoulder width with your toes pointed outward. Tense the back muscles and midsection throughout the exercise. Focus your eyes high on the wall in front of you in order to keep your head up and back straight. Keep your torso upright and slowly lower yourself until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Without bouncing, reverse direction and slowly straighten legs to return to the starting position.
Note: Usually, you will only be able to lift 60 % of the weight you can use for barbell squats.
Shaun Karp is a certified personal trainer in Vancouver. For further information call his office at 604-420-7800.