No matter what exercise you’re trying to learn, it definitely takes some practice to get your technique down – but this is especially true for squats. Hopefully, after going through this article you will be well on your way to achieving the perfect squat form!
Let’s start by taking a look at this excellent video:
This is a fantastic squat technique video and the guy who made it really does a great job of illustrating the perfect form for this exercise. I’m now going to break this down a little further, recap some brief points mentioned in the video, and add a few more tips.
OK so first things first – you need to “squat to parallel”. You’ll hear this phrase thrown around a lot and it just means that at the bottom of a rep the tops of your legs should be parallel to the ground. I would advise squatting in front of a mirror until you get used to it, because it’s very easy to think you’re doing a full depth squat when in reality you’re a few inches too high. If the tops of your legs aren’t parallel to the ground at the bottom of your rep, then it’s not a squat – simple as that.
To recap a few points from the video: you need to keep your upper back tight, bend your knees to start the movement (rather than bending at the hips first), and open your hips. The upper back thing is pretty well explained in the video so there’s not need to touch on that again but I’d like to talk briefly about the other points. The reason to bend your knees first is to help you keep what’s known as a neutral spine – your back is straight and in a stable position with perfect posture as shown in the video. Keeping your back in this position is crucially important to avoid injuring your lower back. As to the last point about opening the hips, this is required so that your knees don’t go past the tips of your toes when you’re at the very bottom of your squat – this can be bad for your knee joints as it puts excess pressure on them. I would advise taking a stance slightly wider than shoulder width, pointing your toes outwards, and then tracking your knees out in line with your feet as you squat.
If you can achieve all this, you will have the perfect squat form. It is well worth it to put time into getting your technique down before you really start to progress and increase the weight because it will mean that you don’t develop bad habits or muscle imbalances as you progress. Proper squat technique does take some practice – but stick with it, it’s worth it.
Feel free to ask any questions in the comments below and I will do my best to answer them.