Once you master the basic bodyweight squat, it’s time to move on to squatting with a bar, which is one of the best mass builders you could ever do. If you experienced knee pain because of bad form during bodyweight squats, just imagine what would happen when you place additional weight on your shoulders. That’s why you should never try to squat with a bar before you’ve mastered the bodyweight version with flawless form.
Squatting with a bar
The rules are basically the same and the only thing to keep in mind is that you should place the bar on the bottom of your rear shoulders, not on the top of your shoulders.
In general, you should try to keep your lower legs perfectly straight and avoid allowing your knees to drift out over your toes, but this is rarely possible in reality and there’s usually some degree of forward movement of the knees when squatting. It’s very likely that your knees will come slightly past your toes. However, this doesn’t mean that you should allow the knees to excessively move forward, so try to limit their movement as much as possible.
Keep your entire body tight, especially the abdomen, and lower yourself as deep as you can, then rise up explosively. Remember to keep your eyes towards the ceiling all throughout to movement – this will ensure that your chest is sticking out and the stress is not placed on your lower back.
Becoming able to squat properly will take some time and this is perfectly normal. Your body has to adopt the right mechanics and it needs to be strong enough to perform this complicated movement. To get there faster, practice squatting every day of the week and aim to get to 50 reps in three or four sets. Then and only then, progress to squatting with a bar, but whenever you want to lift anything heavier than your own bodyweight, make sure to wear a weightlifting belt to help reduce the stress on your spine.