Introduction: How to Barbell Squat

In this instructable, you will learn how to properly prepare for, set-up and execute a barbell squat.

Equipment Needed:

  • Flat soled shoes
  • Athletic Shorts and a Light T-shirt
  • Squat Rack and Barbell

Step 1: Warming Up and Stretching

It is crucial to warm up and stretch correctly before performing the squat or any exercise that is strenuous on your body. Without proper care and precaution, risk of injury during the squat can increase drastically.

Here is a video that shows the main stretches to be done to increase mobility and flexibility to get into the squat positioning. Once comfortable, use this warm-up routine video to prepare to execute a squat.

Step 2: Finding Your Stance

Once acquiring your equipment, finding your stance to squat is more crucial that learning how to squat under load.


  1. Stand in front of the squat rack
  2. Find the positioning of your feet that would suit you best to jump as high as you can in the air
  3. This is your stance, this should be roughly shoulder width

Step 3: Starting With an “Air Squat”

  1. Positioned in your squat stance, squat down
  2. Allow you knees to travel forward
    1. Keep your heels on the ground
    2. Get to the lowest position possible for you
    3. Hold this low position
  3. Squat up slowly
  4. Repeat steps 1-3 until you feel comfortable with this movement

Step 4: Breathing: the Wrong Way Vs. the Right Way

Once completing the “air squat,” we will learn how to properly breath while completing a squat, weather it be under load or free weight.

  1. Breath in, filling your lungs with air
    1. You should feel a rise in your shoulders
    2. Repeat step 1, twice
    3. This is how you should not be breathing during a squat
  2. Breath in, filling your lungs with air
    1. Focus on breathing into your abdominal area
    2. As you breath in, your abdominal area should feel like it is filling up
    3. Repeat step 2 until comfortable with breaking into stomach, otherwise known as breaking into your diaphram
  3. Once mastering breathing into your diaphragm
    1. As you breathe in, tighten your abdominal muscles as your diaphragm fills
    2. Your should feel great tightness in your core region
    3. Repeat step 3 until confident with this movement
  4. This type of breathing and creating a tight core is the basis of completing a strong and safe squat
  5. Now you know how to correctly breathe when conducting a squat

Step 5: The Barbell Squat

Everything that you have done has been to build up to this moment. This is where you learn how to correctly and safely squat under a barbell.

  1. Obtain a barbell and a squat rack
  2. Position the squat rack pins to suit your height
    1. The barbell should lie somewhere between your shoulders and upper chest as you stand up against it
  3. Position yourself under the bar
    1. Place the bar on your trapezius muscles
    2. This is a good resting position for the bar
  4. Now that you are under the bar, use your legs to stand up and move backwards, away from the rack
  5. Find your squat stance from the previous Step 1: Finding Your Stance
  6. With this, complete a squat as if it was an air squat
    1. Keep your weight centered on your mid-foot
    2. Keep your heels on the ground
    3. Allow your knees to come forward
    4. Control yourself on the descend
    5. Push yourself up once going to your deepest position