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What is a Squat Press?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 29 November 2016
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    Conjecture Corporation
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A squat press is a type of weight training exercise that involves performing a squatting motion while supporting the weight of dumbbells or a barbell. A lifter can perform a squat press in several different ways, depending on his or her ability level, fitness goals, and available equipment. The most common version of the squat press involves the use of two dumbbells, one held in each hand, while performing a squat. For more advanced lifters, the most common form of squat press is one performed using a dumbbell with significant amounts of weight attached to it.

To perform a squat press with dumbbells, the lifter will choose two dumbbells that equal about ten percent of the lifter's body weight. Beginners should choose slightly less weight than this, while more advanced users may choose slightly more weight. The lifter begins by picking up the dumbbells and standing straight up with the back straight and the feet a bit wider than hip width apart. The lifter will then raise the dumbbells upward, palms facing outward, so the weights are in front of the chest. He or she will simultaneously squat until the legs are at a ninety degree angle, will hold that position momentarily, then explode upward into the standing position while thrusting the weights above the head.

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A barbell squat is a more advanced exercise and the potential for injury is greater, especially for beginners. There are two ways to perform a barbell squat press: with the barbell in front of the body or with the barbell behind the body. When performing the squat press with the barbell behind the body, the lifter starts in a sitting position with the barbell resting on the shoulders. He will then stand up, hold that position momentarily, then do several repetitions of squats with the weights on his shoulders. Gyms and fitness centers have a squat rack that will keep the barbell straight, and will catch it if the lifter loses control of the weight.

The barbell squat with the weight in front of the body is performed similarly to the press described above, except the lifter starts with the weight on the ground in front of him. He then lifts the barbell and rests it on his chest. Several repetitions of squats can be done from this position. A more challenging variation of this exercise involves lifting the barbell off the ground, resting it on the chest, doing the squat, and lifting the barbell above the head when standing back up straight.

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