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How to Squat

By October 20, 2020No Comments


The squat is perhaps the most fundamental movement you can do.  Whether it is weighted (like a back squat), or unweighted (an air squat), the squat recruits almost every muscle in the legs and torso.  Because of that, the squat may also be the greatest movement you can do to improve your overall health.  However, there are right and wrong ways to squat.  Further, done incorrectly, you can seriously hurt yourself.

Because of the benefits of squatting, and the potential for injury, below is an explanation of how to do it properly.  It is always best to perform any movement or lift under the eye of a trained professional.  However, if you are looking to get fit on your own, these points of performance will set you up for the greatest potential success.

Get Ready to Squat

Whether you are performing an unweight squat, back squat, front squat, overhead squat, or any other variation, your squat should always look the same and hit the points of performance discussed below.  Because of that, this article will only address the air squat.  If you are able to master the air squat, then adding weight will be simple.  Trying to squat with weight before you master the air squat is one way to expose yourself to potential injury.

Here is a Checklist to Follow

  1.  Stance:  Stand up straight with your feet under your shoulders or sightly wider.  Foot place is very individual, but this is a good starting point.  Additionally, point your toes about 45 degrees to the side.  They don’t have to point straight forward.
  2. Body Position:  Before you start, pull your belly in tight and think about squeezing your chest down toward your belly button.  Another way to think about this is to imagine someone is going to punch you in the stomach.  Squeeze tight.  You want to hold this core position throughout your squat.
  3. Start Squatting:  Begin by shifting all of your weight back on your heals.  Drive your hips and butt toward the wall behind you and start to bend your knees.
  4. Knee Tracking:  As you start to squat, stay back on your heels.  This will keep your knees behind your toes.  Additionally, press your knees out to the side to track at the same angle as your toes.
  5. Squat Depth:  Ideally, squat until the creases of your hips pass below the creases of your knees while keeping your chest up and your core tight.  However, if you are not able to do this, you probably have some tight joints.  It is no big deal, but you want to work on loosening those joints so you are able to squat below parallel in the future.
  6. Stand Up:  Once at the bottom, don’t pause, just stand back up.  Remember to keep your weight on your heels and stand until your hips and knees are completely open.

That’s it.  Need a visual?  Watch the video above a few times.  Now, do another one, and another one, and another.  Here is a 4 minute squat workout you can do with no weight:

0:20 As many squats as possible
0:10 Rest

If you move fast enough, this workout will leave your legs burning.  Remember, perfect form first and always.

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