The squat is one of the most recommended strength training exercises for weight loss. Audra Wilson, CSCS, who's also a registered dietitian, said that weighted squats call upon all of the lower body muscles as well as recruiting some back and abdominal muscles for support. "These exercises burn more calories because more muscles are working."
Begin with bodyweight squats, then you can add dumbbells, kettlebells, or a barbell. Here's how to do a barbell front squat:
- Start with a loaded barbell; 65 to 75 pounds is a great starting point. Beginners should start with just the barbell, gradually adding weight as they become familiar with the movement.
- Position your hands about shoulder-width apart on the barbell and lightly grip the bar.
- Rest the bar on your clavicle and shoulders as you lift your elbows up. Your elbows should go as high as your mobility allows.
- With your feet about hip-distance apart, lift the barbell off the rack. Take 1 to 2 steps backwards.
- Shift your weight back into your heels. Brace your abs as you begin to lower into a squat, keeping your head and back straight. Your knees should be as close to 90 degrees as possible.
- With your core still braced, drive through your heels to stand back up. Be sure to squeeze your glutes at the top of your squat.
- That's one rep.