Squats are the best functional movement and exercise and should be a part of everyone’s exercise program. It builds core strength, stability and even flexibility and it works the entire body. No other single exercise does this. But before you start doing squats make sure your form and technique are correct.
With so many squat variations you can never plateau. Switch it up often and incorporate at least one in your exercise routines.
Too many people end up with knee problems because of improper form and technique and instead of correcting it they just stop doing squats all together. So don’t give up on the squat just yet, instead look at your technique and see if your knees are inline with your feet and if they track over your feet.
Other issues in the squat are tight hip flexors and tight hamstrings and quads. It’s important to warm them up and perform some therapy to increase flexibility. But the best way is to practice the squat frequently. It’s the best way to achieve the right balance of strength and flexibility in the right areas.
Start by practicing on a chair or stool first. Especially if you have knee problems. This is a great way to fix your technique. And move on to the other variations after you feel comfortable and don’t have any knee pain doing chair squats.
The basic movement is the same for all variations.
How to Perform a Squat
Stand with your feet about shoulder width apart and feet pointing slightly outwards about 30 degrees.
Pull your belly button in and slowly squat down by initiating the movement by shifting the hips back and down.
Avoid initiating the movement by bending the knees. This can cause knee problems. Let the knees naturally bend as you shift your hips back and down as if you are sitting in a chair.
Knees should be moving out and in the same direction as the toes. Make sure your knees are not caving inward on your way down and on your way up. Keep them pointing out all throughout the movement.
Maintain a natural spinal curve throughout the movement. You can lift your arms out in front of you for balance. As you go down in the squat you can raise your arms up further overhead to help from rounding your back.
Rise back up to full extension and squeeze your glutes at the top. Keep your weight on your heals and don’t shift your weight over your toes.
- Chair Squat
- Bodyweight Squat
- Back Squat
- Front Squats with barbell
- Front Squats with dumbbell
- Front Squats with Kettlebells
- Overhead Squats with barbell
- Overhead Squats with dumbbell
- Split Squats
- Squat with Feet Together
- Single Leg Squats
Place a chair or bench behind you and sit back in the chair. Make sure you follow the basic movement instructions above. If your knees are hurting check your technique. Master this before moving on to the other variations.
Follow the instructions above.
Barbell should be on a rack for safety. Dismount the barbell by getting under the bar and position barbell on back of shoulders and grasp the bar on the sides and step back from the rack. Follow the basic instructions above for the squat.
Barbell should be on a rack for safety. Dismount the barbell by positioning it on top of the chest and hold on the sides with hands just shoulder width apart. Lift your elbows up. Follow the basic instructions above for the squat.
Hold a set of dumbbells, one in each hand and place them above the shoulders with palms facing you.
Dumbbell Front Squat
Hold a kettlebell about chest level with both hands.
Kettlebell Front Squat
Barbell Overhead Squat
Dumbbell Overhead Squat
Feet Together Squat
Ok so there are more than 10. This one is a great one too.
Start with the weakest leg first. And repeat the same number on the strong leg. Resist doing more. Doing more with one leg will just contribute to more muscular imbalance. But this way you build balance between both sides of the body. The feet together squat is a good regression.
Single Leg Squat