Tips: How to Do Westside Back Squats

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Doing westside back squats isn't nearly as difficult as you might think it is. Learn how to do westside back squats with help from a certified personal trainer in this free video clip.

Part of the Video Series: Weightlifting & Fitness
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Video Transcript

Hi, this is Tyler Tsujimoto with Tsujimoto Fitness in Midvale, Utah. Right now, I want to talk to you about how to do a west side back squat with a barbell. Okay, west side barbell squats are a little bit different than a traditional squat. I'm going to go over the differences, the variations in them and make sure that you understand them completely so that when we go though the movement, that you understand what it's supposed to feel like versus what you might be used to from doing traditional squats. Okay, first of all you're going to need a bench. You're going to need a bench or a box, okay that is going to allow you to be at about a 90 degree angle at the knees when you are in a seated position, okay, that's how we know if we have the right height or not. So when you find a bench or a box that gets you about that height, you are set with that because we are actually going to be sitting on this when we do west side barbells squats, okay. Now traditionally in a normal squat, your feet are a little narrower together pointed forward and we squat down. Alright, nothing wrong with that but west side barbell squats vary in the fact that we're going to get a really wide stance, very very wide stance, toes and knees are going to be angled out a little bit, okay and the purpose of this is to open up the hips a little bit more so that we can now start to generate power and flexibility through the hip and pelvis region. Okay, one of the strongest areas of your body is that hip and pelvis region and when we can generate more strength and power through there, we're going to be able to function much more effectively in every exercise that we do from here on out. So those are the big variations, okay? Just like any other squat, once you have the bar on and I'll demonstrate that in a minute, but once you have the bar on your back, you want to make sure you keep your torso as upright as you can and then as we squat down you're actually going to sit on the bench and then as you come back up we're going to focus on generating power through our gluts and our hips instead of pressing through our quads. Alright so now I'm going to demonstrate the movement. I have the bar on my back. Obviously it's not loaded right now but if you wanted to load it go ahead and do so. If you haven't done the movement before, though, I'm a big advocator for making sure you understand the movement before you put too much load on it. So if you haven't done it before, just do it with the bar. It will be safer that way and then once you get used to the movement, start adding some weight on. So the first thing we talked about again was the foot placement and how that differs from a traditional squat. So we're going to go really wide, okay, wider than the shoulders. I want your toes and knees to be pointed out a bit and we're going to keep the body as upright as we can through the movement. Now, this is a little different again than a traditional squat because we're going to focus on pushing your hips back as far as they go and you might feel like you're going to fall a little bit but that's why we have that bench behind us okay, so that's going to catch us from going all the way to the ground. So the downward movement is going to look like this. We push them out, force them back and we come to a seated position, okay? I don't have weight in my toes for this, I'm pushing through the heels. Now to stand up from here, has to be kind of an explosive movement. So I'm going to think about contracting my gluts and pushing my hips and pelvis forward fairly quickly. So the upward position or movement is going to look like this. So as I get to the top, gluts are tight, I squeeze, I'm nice and supported. My abdominals are tight, so my low back is safe as well okay? So again the downward movement, push the hips back, sit, come up and explode, push through the hips. It's going to feel different than the traditional squat. You work your inner thighs more on this one too as well but again it's going to teach us to generate more strength and power through the midsection and keep us safer in everything else we do. Okay key points again on the west side barbell squat, we want to make sure our feet are very wide, wider than shoulders, toes and knees pointed outward a little bit okay? Chest stays upright and we need the bench, the bench or the box. Don't forget to put that behind you before you do the squat, otherwise, you're going to go all the way to the ground, bad news in the gym okay? So, make sure we have that bench and box, make sure that the feet are nice and wide and as we squat down and we sit on the box, the upward move comes from the gluts and the hips. Squeeze tight, push forward, let that power your body up. This is Tyler Tsujimoto with Tsujimoto Fitness.


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