Squatting safely

Squatting safely

Dec 22, 2013

Squats are an absolutely fantastic exercise for building strength, gaining muscle and losing weight. Regardless of your goals squats can help you get there. However, if you do them incorrectly you can do more harm than good.

How to squat with proper form:

  • Set feet slightly wider than hips distance apart and turn feet slightly outward.
  • Start without any weight to get a feel for the correct form; do not add any weight until the proper form becomes worked into muscle memory.
  • Squat down until the thighs are at least parallel to the floor, make sure feet and knees are pointing in the same direction.
  • Shift the weight into the heels so that the knees stay over the ankles or go just slightly forward.
  • The butt should be sticking out behind the body as if trying to sit down into a low imaginary chair.
  • Keep the  head and chest up while squatting down and up to avoid arching out the lower back.

Modifications for knees coming forward:

  • If the knees continue coming forward in the squat to the point where the knees are over the toes, or if you are feeling pressure in the knees grab a stability ball and place the ball between your middle back and a wall. Lean back against the ball with the feet slightly forward and feet hips distance apart. Squat down till legs are parallel and then back up.
  • Make sure the weight is in the heels or middle to back part of the foot, never the front of the feet or toes.
  • To reinforce where the weight should be in the feet practice lifting the toes up off the floor during the squat.
  • If the knees are still coming forward while against the stability ball then the feet are placed too far back; walk them forward a bit and you should notice the knees stay directly over the ankles.
  • The legs and gluts will really feel this; do not underestimate the ball squat!

Modifications if you do not have a stability ball:

  • Find a chair, bench or block of a height that when you sit your thighs are parallel to the floor.
  • Squat the butt backward to lightly tap the chair or bench and then stand up.
  • Make sure the knees are at all times above the ankles. If not step them further out from the bench.
  • Keep the chest and head up as in a regular squat.


Now that you know how to do a squat safely pass this on to friends. Friends don’t let friends squat with bad form.

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