With proper form, squats not only help to increase leg strength but work your core and back as well. If you’ve never completed a squat before, start out with bodyweight squats to get the form down and work your way up to using a barbell. Squats can be performed as front or back positioning. Front squats use more quadriceps strength and back squats will focus more on hamstrings and glutes. Strong legs help to control movement of the bike while riding. Let’s think about it. When you first get on a bike, you use your legs to stand it up which requires you to engage the lower body muscles, major ones and the smaller assisting ones.
Important tips to keep in mind:
- High bar squats- bar will rest on your traps and hands will be wider than shoulder width apart.
- Use the little rings on the bars to measure and keep your hands even on the bar.
- Squatting will be more vertical
- This will depend on the person as well and their body structure or tightness in hips/joints (which can be fixed by stretching and other mobility movements).
- Low bar squats- bar will rest on muscles pushed together on your back by your rear delts. Your hands will be closer together near your shoulders and your grip will be slightly different. You will have more of a bear claw grip where your thumb does not grip around the bar but the bar rests in the palms of your hands.
- Squats will be more of a of a horizontal movement
- Do not round your back!
- Keep your spine straight and neutral
- Keep your head in line with your spine
- squeeze your lats together and contract your shoulder blades
- Engage your core
- Your core includes all muscles that support your spine
- A strong core will protect your back and keep you from getting injured
- Muscle-mind connection
- Focus on what muscles you should be engaging while squatting. You will make these muscles stronger and put on some mass as well. Booty doesn’t grow on trees guys!
- Major muscle group you will focus on for a back squat are your core, hamstrings, gluteus maximus, and quadriceps
- Squat until your thighs are parallel to the floor (if your physique allows you to)
- Try not to let your knees extend past your toes
- Toes will be pointed slightly outward
- Legs slightly wider than hip width apart
- Focus on driving your knees toward the outside of your feet which will open your hips
- You want to drive through your heels to bring the weight back up
- Take a deep breath in as you squat down and exhale the air as you come back up.
Article By Cassandra Carillo
By: Cassandra Carillo