How to Squat: Perfect guide to squatting properly
The barbell back squat is a great, compound exercise for the lower body. However, it is a complex exercise that requires much practise and consideration of appropriate technique. In this short guide I’m hoping to take your squat from ‘ok’ to great.
In this how to squat guide I will cover everything from set up to body position in written form. However if you would prefer just watch this video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=8xjX6u1euiE&t=1s
First we want to cover the setup of the squat. You’ve probably seen many in the squat rack. They look a little unsteady, maybe even a little unsure just before they jump start squatting. With the setup we really want to nail down a confident, measured, systematic approach before performing the squat.
The position of your hands should be as close to your shoulders as you can. This then allows you to be able to pinch your shoulder blades together. Having the upper back, nice and tight will help you control your upper body position whilst squatting.
From there have your feet together and ‘glute’ the bar up. So stand up with the bar by squeezing your glutes. From here we want to start the ‘3 step process‘. Take one short step back to help you clear the rack. Then take the other foot and step back to where you would place it to start squatting. The last and final step will again be at the position you are about to squat from.
You can shuffle your feet just a touch to make sure you feel comfortable before squatting but be sure to stick to the ‘only 3 step rule’.
Now you are ready to squat.
First we want to make sure you are hitting appropriate depth. A good gauge will be where your hip joint is just below your knee. This is simply to set a good standard for all reps. If you are finding range difficult to this depth maybe consider introducing a box. Squat to this, lowering the height of the box each session.
From there we then want to make sure the knee’s are always tracking through the toes. You shouldn’t allow them to drift in so keep pushing them out as you squat.
At the start of the squat try to feel the weight through your heels. Then as you stand up transfer the weight through your mid foot.
Learning how to squat well take time and lots of practise. Try these basic tips but also play around a little with foot position, width of your stance and even the position of the bar on your back. I’ve been squatting for nearly 15yrs and still I play around with various parts of my squat.