How to Properly Perform a Squat

February 12, 2016 Updated: October 8, 2018

When performing any exercise, it is important to have a basic understanding of what constitutes good technique. Good technique ensures that the appropriate muscles and joints are targeted and reduces the risk of injury. 

Developing good technique is a process. As you become more familiar with a movement, you will develop a more nuanced understanding of how to do it. When you start though, it’s important to pay attention to good form. 

The squat is the fundamental movement for CrossFit training and Kevin Bouley, director of operations at CrossFit NYC in Manhattan, explains how to properly perform one.

Squat Technique

The primary goals of the squat are to increase the range of motion in the hips and strengthen the hamstrings, glutes, and spinal erectors. The key technical points from the standing position down to the bottom of the squat are the following: 

  • Stand up tall, shoulders back, chest up.
  • Knees should be unlocked. 
  • Initiate the squat by moving the hips back, not by bringing the knees forward.
  • Reach back while keeping the weight on your heels to activate the glutes and hamstrings before sitting down into the squat.
  • Sit down while keeping the shoulders back and chest up. Resist the urge to slump. 
  • Ideally, at the bottom of the squat, the hip crease will be below the top of the knee.
  • Drive through the heels when standing from the bottom position.

If it is not possible to perform the movement with full-range of motion, go as deep as possible with good form. As strength and mobility increase, a greater range of motion will develop. 

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