How to squat

How to squat and why to squat !

The perfect squat and why it will save your life

Squatting is the most natural movement our bodies are supposed to be able to achieve with ease, however most people have spent their whole lives training their bodies to do the complete opposite. Years of sitting in chairs hunched over a desk staring at computers, lifting with their backs not their legs and generally doing everything to create inflexible weak bodies that will inevitably end up in chairs with no chance of fast strong movements. Painful knees and lower backs are a sure sign that things are going in the wrong direction! A great example of this is a toddler, if you look at them when they pick something up off the floor, they will squat as their bodies haven’t yet been taught bad habits, leaning over and hoisting things up with your lower back is the lazy way that comes with age.

A body that is able to squat perfectly is a sign that its owner has good strength and great flexibility. If this movement is perfected and trained regularly you will be in a much better position when you grow older.

Heres the know how.

The bodyweight squat is where to start.

1. Stand with feet a little wider than shoulder-width apart, hips stacked over knees, and knees over ankles.

2. Roll the shoulders back and down away from the ears. Note: Allowing the back to round will cause unnecessary stress on the lower back. It’s important to maintain a neutral spine throughout the movement.

3. Extend arms out straight so they are parallel with the ground, palms facing down . Or, if it’s more comfortable, pull elbows close to the body, palms facing each other and thumbs pointing up.

4. Initiate the movement by inhaling and unlocking the hips, slightly bringing them back. Keep sending hips backward as the knees begin to bend.

5. While the butt starts to stick out, make sure the chest and shoulders stay upright, and the back stays straight. Keep the head facing forward with eyes straight ahead for a neutral spine.

6. The best squats are the deepest ones your mobility allows. Optimal squat depth would be your hips sinking below the knees .

7. Engage core and, with bodyweight in the heels, explode back up to standing, driving through heels. Imagine the feet are spreading the floor without actually moving the feet.

The next progression .

Goblet squat: hold a kettlebell, dumbbell, or medicine ball at the sternum . With a slight bend in the knees, drop into a squat, going straight down and then standing straight up . When performing a goblet squat, drop the elbows between the legs inside the knees for a full range of motion. Goblet squats are great for beginners  since they keep us from leaning forward .

The barbell squat

Back squat: Squats are much more challenging with a barbell, so if it’s your first time, it’s best to ask for a trainer’s guidance. For back squats, the weight rests on the traps , where it’s generally easier to squat a heavier load. Hands should be facing forward, along the same plane as the shoulders, with elbows pointing down to the ground . Keep hips back, and follow the same form for a bodyweight squat . The back squat is different from the bodyweight squat in one important way: breathing. When you’re squatting a barbell, inhale before you descend, hold your breath for the squat, and exhale only once you’ve returned to standing.

The front squat

Front squat: The front squat requires getting comfortable with the front rack position. When front-squatting with a barbell, this means resting the barbell just above the clavicles, right on the neck  and laying on the fingertips, with elbows up and pointed out and triceps parallel to the ground. While it may seem unstable to hold the bar with just the fingertips, the collarbone is a solid shelf for the bar, so the hands are only needed to prevent the bar from rolling. As long as the elbows stay up, extending straight out from the shoulders, the bar will be secure. For the descent in a front squat, the body will stay signifcantly more upright than it would in a bodyweight or back squat. Do not reach back with the butt , as this will angle the body forward, making it difficult to stand the weight up. A great way to maintain an upright position is to think about keeping the elbows up and pointing forward throughout the movement.

These are the basics to get started, flexibility plays a very important role and you will start to realize where you are tight so work with your trainer on getting the squat position to be a comfortable one.


Leigh Carter

How to squat