T Nation

Need to know how to Squat

I’ve been doing the Body for Life (yes, I understand it is complete CRAP now) for like 3 months. Since I’ve started reading this, I’ve taken maybe a 2 month break, giving me more time in school. I’m ready to start training again, but now I need to know how to do the moves. I’ve been doing Leg Presses (which I have learned from Tmag are inferior). I have never squated in my life and would LOVE to learn the 100% correct form to prevent injury. I’ve found a good instruction through the “previous issues” on deadlifts, but I can’t seem to find anything except for the “box squat”, which I’m not quite ready for. Can anyone give me a detailed instruction on how to do squats? I don’t want to break my back, legs, or knees.

Box squats are the easiest way to learn how to squat correctly.

I think dave tate wrote two articles on squat form in the tmag archives. One is called “Squat 900” i think… it’s proper form all the way. Or go to www.deepsquatter.com and go to “strength online” and read Jason Burnell’s article on squatting. They both discuss a wide stance. If it’s a regular (traditional, conventional, narrow-stance) squat you want, just put your feet in (about shoulder-width or a little wider), toes face out a bit, and go deep. In a traditional squat rack for a guy about 5’8", you’ll be pretty low below parallel when the bar touches the racks, so you can easily crawl out from a squat that you get stapled under. I’m no authority on squat, so I won’t go into how I squat. I read the tate and burnell articles - they were very helpful for me.

Just keep in mind that Tate’s stuff is about powerlifting, not bodybuilding. For example, he wants you to use all glutes adn hams on the squat. Most people squat for quads though. So what are your goals?

(1) always warm up with 10-15 min of light cardio and then stretch your quads and hamstrings first (2)I just received Ian King’s video “Killer Leg Exercises for Strength and Mass” (from biotest) and it has great info on the correct way to do squats, dead lifts and many other lower body exercises (3)as TEK has said you need to know your goals e.g. quad vs hamstrings. I squat wide with my legs turned out and “sit back” on my heals which works hams better (you will need flexibility for this). Others squat with something under their heels (e.g. 2 X 4, wedge) and the quads are emphasized more.

To Kyle Witter, learn deadlifting, reverse hypers, split squats, good mornings etc. Try to activate your hams and glutes. I understand some individuals tend to think squats are quad dominant and deadlifts are hip dominant. If you squat back with shins vertical, then you are using your posterior chain more than your quads. If you squat down by allowing the knee to travel forward, you will invariably use more of your quads.

It depends on your preferred method. Regardless of which method you use, Ian King gave an interesting example in this week's SWIS Article. You need to learn to activate your glutes in the bottom position of the squat and to see if you are firing your glutes efficiently, you should be able to get up from a seated position by squeezing your glutes. This sounds similar to box squats, so actually performing box squats may help you (how do you get up from the toilet?)

Try to learn this skill. You can use a partner or a post to help you up initially. Or learn partial back squats first then progress down in range using the same weight. Make sure you squat in a cage or a power rack for added safety.

Since you are a newbie to squats, you need to understand the fundamentals first. Perform those exercises that will assist you in squatting correctly and with perfect technique. Read and get different opinions from those who already have good squat technique. I think Ian King's Killer Leg routine had some very good lower body exercises. It's a good starting point. Hope this helps you.