For beginners, try squats with no weight and increase the load once your proper form is nailed down. When using more weight, it’s more difficult to squat deeper. But deep squats with less weight trump shallow ones with heavy weight when it comes to making us stronger. Here are three of the most common weighted squats: Goblet, back, and front squats.
Hold a kettlebell, dumbbell, or medicine ball at the sternum (the center of the chest) while performing the squat. When performing a Goblet, drop the elbows in between the legs inside the knees, for a full range of motion. Goblet squats are great for beginners (and also experienced lifters) since they keep us from leaning forward (holding weight in front of the chest is very stable compared to other placements).
Squats can be much more difficult with a barbell, so if it’s your first time, it’s best to ask for a trainer’s guidance. For back squats, the weight rests on the back (in two positions: low or high) where it’s generally easier to squat a heavier load. The hands should be facing forward, along the same plane as the shoulders, with elbows pointing down to the ground (the arms will form a W along the bar). Make sure to keep the barbell over the center of the feet to keep the hips going back, and follow the same form for a bodyweight squat.
Considered one of the most advanced squat exercises, this movement and requires placing a barbell across the collar bones (resting on the deltoid muscles). It also requires more flexibility than other versions, so be sure to master the bodyweight and back squats first. The elbows should point straight out (the upper half of the arm parallel with the floor) while the fingertips reach back to grip under the bar, outside of the shoulders. While it may seem unstable to hold the bar with just the fingertips, the arm positioning forms a solid shelf, so the hands mostly prevent the bar from rolling. As long as the elbows stay up, extending straight out from the shoulders, the bar will be secure. Follow the bodyweight squat instructions for the rest of the move.