Athletes of all levels can successfully perform squats. Beginners can start with a smaller range of motion and hold a chair with one or two hands. This is also a helpful option for older adults who want additional stability during this exercise.
- Place feet just outside hips with toes slightly turned out
- Point knees and toes the same direction
- Hinge at the hips, pushing glutes backward
- Engage abs to support the spine
- Keep chest lifted throughout the exercise
- Keep weight in the heels
- Engage glutes as you rise
How Low Should you Go?
In a group exercise setting, hips are commonly found at or above knee level, and knees should not push beyond the toes. This is generally considered a “safe” level for most people. On the fitness floor or in CrossFit rooms, hips and glutes often dip lower, especially when used in powerlifting moves. Josh McIntyre is a Pittsburgh area athletic coach specializing in speed, agility, strength, and conditioning. “The deeper you squat the more you engage the glutes and hamstrings,” says McIntyre. “These muscles play a critical role in jumping and accelerating. So, the deeper the squat the more athletic you will be.” He does not use low squats with clients suffering from back, knee, or leg injuries. Work with an exercise professional to determine what level squats are appropriate for you.
Change the squat stance to shift the focus onto different muscle groups. A narrower stance works the quads more, while a wider stance focuses more on the glutes.
Once form is mastered using only bodyweight, you can make squats more challenging by adding:
- A medicine ball
- Resistance tubing
Recruit more muscle groups by adding movements including:
- Overhead press
- Front Raise
- Bicep Curl
- Heel lift after rising
“Cop a squat” in your strength routine 2 to 3 times per week to build strength in the legs and glutes!