Is The Barbell Back Squat Safe?

Squat Progressions for Beginners

Live Lean Nation, on today’s episode we’re discussing if the king of all lower body exercises, the barbell back squat, is safe for you to do, as well as some “safer” beginner squat progression exercises.


Today, I’m going to talk about if the barbell back squat is a safe exercise for you to do.

Also, be sure to stay tuned to the end of this episode as I’m going to show you how to do a few beginner squat progressions.

Now this episode is kind of in response to a video I did a few weeks called, “The Strength Building Exercise You Need To Stop Avoiding”.

This was a video on deadlifts where I showed you various versions, from beginner deadlifts, all the way up to the more advanced and traditional barbell deadlifts.

Similar to the deadlift, the barbell back squat also creates the same fear in people’s minds.

Even though barbell back squats have been shown to be one of the best ways to build total body strength, increase muscle size, and burn fat faster, and lets be real, it’s as functional as it comes…I mean you do sit down multiple times a day right…however with all that said, typically everyday people still say that barbell back squats are dangerous for your back.

And I have to say it again.

Barbell back squats are bad for your back when they are performed incorrectly and are overloaded with too much weight.

When you’re squatting with proper form, have good mobility, and are using a load that creates tension in your leg muscles and not based on your ego, then you’re safe.

But the issue is so many weekend warriors let ego get in the way, by loading way too much weight on the bar, thus transferring the focus of the from primarily being a lower body exercise, to being primarily a lower back exercise.

For most people the lower back is the weak link versus their legs, thus when people lift too heavy of a weight, the lower back takes on too much of the stress, which then can lead to injury.

These people also pay no attention to improving their mobility so the rounding of the lower back continues to happen, and then overtime, the lower back gets seriously injured.

This is when overloading weight on your spine can be dangerous, specifically your lower back, during barbell back squats.

So with that said, does this make the barbell back squat dangerous?

Yes, it can be more dangerous than a leg extension, as you’re loading your spine with weight, but you can also injure yourself when doing a leg extension wrong.

The bottom line is being smart.

Focus on the movement and the form first. If you can’t perform a bodyweight squat properly, you have no business adding a barbell to your back…yet.

So yes, doing barbell back squats can increase your risk of injury, if you don’t know what you’re doing, but when you do know what you’re doing, the strength, muscle, and fat loss benefits are worth it.

And if you’re worried about loading your spine with too much weight, consider cutting the weight in half and training your legs independently with movements like the bulgarian split squat.

Or simply take the weight off your spine by switching out the barbell, and hold dumbbells or kettlebells at your sides or in a goblet position.

So just like I showed you beginner progressions with the deadlift.

Here are a few beginner progressions with the squat, starting with the most beginner bodyweight versions, as well as some single leg unilateral versions, and moving up to the more advanced versions.

All these videos are on our other Live Lean TV Daily Exercises YouTube channel, so be sure to subscribe to that channel while you’re over there.

#1. Air Squat
#2. Prisoner Squat
#3. Y Squat
#4. Front Foot Elevated Split Squat
#5. Bench Get Up
#6. Dumbbell Goblet Squat
#7. Dumbbell Front Squat
#8. Dumbbell Bulgarian Split Squat
#9. Barbell Back Squat
#10. Barbell Front Squat
#11. Pistol Squat

So depending on your fitness level, start at the beginning, get comfortable with the squat movement, then progress up the ladder.

And if you’re not yet hanging with us on our new Live Lean TV Instagram page, go find us at @LiveLeanTV to see more videos of how to Live Lean 365 days a year.

If you enjoyed today’s episode, make sure you click the LIKE button below and click subscribe as we upload new episodes every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

I love you guys and keep Living Lean.

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If you enjoyed today’s episode, make sure you subscribe to my Live Lean TV YouTube channel as we upload new episodes every Monday and Thursday.

I love you guys and keep Living Lean.

This is sponsored content for BodyTech and Vitamin Shoppe. The opinions and text are all mine.

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