The Squat. What is it?

The squat is a compound strength exercise that mainly targets your hip (glutes) and thigh (Quads) muscles.

Important Cues

  • Keep your weight through your heels, avoid raising up onto your toes
  • Make sure your knees stay in line with your toes throughout the squat
  • Try and maintain a neutral spine
  • Keep your gaze forward, do not look down

If that sounds confusing, here is a video of a how-to simplify the squat:

Deep Squat or Not too Deep Squat?

Squat to a depth that is comfortable and does not provoke any pain in your knees or hips. Going beyond 90 degrees is not damaging, only avoid it if it is painful or if you have had any previous meniscal or knee joint injuries.

Variations of the Squat

Depending on the type of squat you choose, it can alter the way the glutes or quads are activated. If you experience knee pain, it might be beneficial to choose a glute dominant squat and vice versa if you experience hip pain.

Glute dominant squat exercises include:

  • Bodyweight squat with greater hip flexion (i.e. chest facing towards floor)
  • Low bar back squat
  • Split squat with knee behind toes
  • Lunges with knee behind toes
  • Bulgarian split squat with greater hip flexion

Quad dominant squat exercises include:

  • Bodyweight squat with less hip flexion (i.e chest remaining upright)
  • Front barbell squat
  • Goblet squat
  • Goblet combined with a Sumo squat
  • Split squat with the knee in front of the toes
  • Lunges with the knee in front of toes
  • Bulgarian split squat with less hip flexion

However, if you are struggling with these squat variations and still experience pain, please reach out to a health professional. Every individual is unique and one squat technique does not suit all. Finding what works for you is what takes precedence.