Back to Basics: Squats

Everyone has differing ideas of what they would call their ‘king of exercises’. Walk around your local gym and you probably see lots of people that would place bench presses or bicep curls at the top of their list, but here at Short Motivation we the squat as our premier exercise.

There are loads of different variations of the squat that we suggest you try, but our favourite is the good old barbell back squat. The one key thing to remember is everybody is made slightly differently, so the way that I will squat is likely to look different from the way Alex squats and different again to how Kevin will squat. Our unique bone structure means that the fundamentals are all the same, but we make small tweaks to make the move more comfortable for our individuality.

Keep your heels firmly on the floor when performing a squat

The first pointer for a squat is to keep your heels firmly on the ground. Try to think about pushing through the middle/back of your foot to keep them down. If your heels come up your knees tend to shoot forward and then you may feel pain in your knees. If you struggle to keep your heels flat, then try a slightly wider stance, that might make it a bit easier for you.

Next thing is to keep your chest and head up, think about keeping your spine in a neutral position. If your chest dips forward then you’re likely to lift your heels and the weight will start moving forwards which can become dangerous.

Make sure you keep your knees in line when you perform your squat

The last thing to keep your squat in line is to keep your knees in line! Some people find their knees cave in whilst they squat (normally when you push up). You need to focus on keeping your knees in line with your toes as you squat down, you might need to drop the weight slightly to get that technique correct but once you have you’ll be able to progress back up in no time.

So, there are our top 3 tips to improve your squat technique and minimize the pain in your knees whilst you do so! Give it a try and see what difference it makes for you.


About Author

Olly is the Short Motivation fitness and training advisor. He is a level-3 PT instructor, specialising in TRX and kettlebell instruction, and manages his own gym in the United Kingdom.