Barbell Squat: 3 Variations for a Better Routine

30th July 2019
If you're crazy about squats, read out post to find out how you can increase the intensity with barbells.

Squats are a great exercise for beginners. But they’re also effective for those who’re looking for a challenge to push their limits. In our post today, we want to show you barbell squat variations and additional movements for a better workout routine.

Squats mainly work out your glutes and the muscles on the front part of your leg. But by changing the position of your feet and the degree of your squat, you can work out other muscles, too.

As you might’ve guessed, adding a barbell to your squat makes workouts harder and gives you better results. But the increased difficulty of this exercise will also put more pressure on your joints. In light of that, make sure you stretch before and after your workout.

The different movements for your squat routine that we want to show you today are variations on barbell squats. These variations will give you a more efficient workout, keep you motivated to strive harder and more.

In short, these variations will keep your routine from monotony. By switching up your exercises, you can keep your muscles alert and ready for new challenges.

Barbell squats: 3 variations for a better routine

Barbell squats are one of the best exercises that you could add to your workout routine. They’re simple to do and offer countless benefits.

Whenever you add a different tool or movement to an exercise, you’re doing a new variation. Here are some variations to improve your routine.

1. Front barbell squat

By placing your barbell on your shoulders in front of your body, your squat will focus much more on your quads and upper back than a normal squat would. In any case, front barbell squats are still great for your glutes and hamstrings.

Make sure you keep your elbows pointing out in front of you through the entire exercise. Lower into a squat as you keep your weight over your ankles and keep your chest and elbows pointing upwards.

barbell squats front

2. Overhead barbell squat

The second variation on our list is essential for mastering barbell lifts. But for novice lifters, overhead barbell squats are also great for working out the lower body and developing balance and better movement at the same time.

However, overhead barbell squats can be a challenge if you use a barbell that’s too heavy.

To do an overhead barbell squat, lift your barbell over your head and as you hold it over you, do a squat, just as you see in the image at the top of this post. Your shoulders will need a certain degree of mobility for this variation. Hold the barbell with your hands far apart to make it easier.

3. Bulgarian barbell squat

The Bulgarian barbell squat is a single leg variation, which makes it exceptionally demanding. Only using one leg helps improve your balance and tone your muscles without having to lift heavy weight excessively.

bulgarian barbell squat
Image: Men’s Health

To get started, move one foot behind you on to a bench or another elevated surface. Keep your core upright and start pushing your hips outwards behind you, as if you were doing a squat.

Now, lower yourself until your front leg is parallel to the floor or until your other knee touches the floor.

As you’ve read with us today, barbell squats are great exercises for your legs and have lots of variations that can make an amazing workout routine. Whatever exercises you choose to do, remember to always stretch before and after your workout to reduce your risk of injury.

  • Glavina, B., & Pérez, J. (2009). Actividad muscular lumbar durante el ejercicio de sentadillas y su relación con sujetos de diferentes características físicas. Revista Iberoamericana de Fisioterapia y Kinesiologia12(2), 67–72. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rifk.2009.10.005