How to Squat the Right Way: A Definitive Guide

How to Squat the Right Way: A Definitive Guide

How to Squat the Right Way: A Definitive Guide

In March of 2023, a new world record was set at 906 lbs (411kg) for the back squat. The impressive feats of powerlifters often make people believe these compound lifts are for competitions rather than living healthy, but this couldn't be further from the truth.

Learning how to squat the right way is a great way to engage the most muscles in your body with a single exercise. Squats in a leg routine make strength training more time and cost-effective because you can get quality gym equipment for less money, needing less home gym equipment for this simple but fantastic exercise!

Read our handy guide to learn more about the squat.

How to Squat the Right Way

For a basic squat, start by placing the bar on your trapezius muscles and standing with your feet shoulder-width apart directly beneath the bar. Begin the movement by lowering your butt to the ground; you should be bending at the hips and knees only, and your knees should stay over your toes (not shifting past your feet nor collapsing inwards). Focus on keeping your back straight as you move down.

There's a lot of debate as to when a squat is complete, but the general consensus is that you should stop once your hips have at least past the knee joint. From here, you want to push the bar back up (while keeping your back straight) until your knees and hips lock out at the top again, and you're perfectly upright.

It's very important to keep your core constantly engaged throughout to support your lower back.

Solve the Butt Wink Issue

When people who train regularly ask, "Am I squatting wrong?" it's usually either because their progress has plateaued or they're in some form of pain. The squat form is important in both instances. You won't see the full benefits of your diet or training intensity if your squat form is wrong because you'll ultimately use the wrong muscles.

Regarding pain, the most common injuries affect the knees and lower back. Doctors regularly tackle knee issues with exercises separate from the squat, but fixing the "butt wink" in your squat can directly benefit your lower back. The "butt wink" is the rounding of your back that occurs at the lowest part of your range of motion.

One way to fix this is by reducing the weight, as heavier weights often make us lose the required core control after a few reps. The next solution would be to turn your legs out a little. This takes advantage of existing natural ankle mobility (which you could also improve to solve the "butt wink").

Another way to solve this issue is by using free weights and other types of squats. This gets around the limitations of the bar squat, which is not always the best for all bodies. Arnold Schwarzenegger, for example, famously favored front squats and Smith machine squats for legs because his height made the standard squat form less effective.

Get Quality Gym Equipment for Less and Start Squatting

Learning how to squat the right way is incredibly beneficial for your physique, sports performance, and living a healthy lifestyle. The squat is simple, and the main pitfall to avoid is rounding the back at the bottom of the squat.

You can avoid a "butt wink" by using less weight, angling your legs out slightly, or using different types of squats. Very little home gym equipment is necessary; you only need a bar and a rack, kettlebells, dumbbells, or a Smith machine.

To find quality gym equipment for less, check out our collection of top-quality machines.