Here’s How to Really Do a Squat (With Perfect Form)

Your step-by-step guide.

By: Emily Freeman

Squats are at the forefront of every trainer’s playbook. They’re the super-effective exercise that builds strength in your entire lower body, engages your core, gets your heart rate up, and gives you the booty of your dreams… which is really why we all squat, right? 

However, not doing them properly can turn magic into poison. Because they recruit multiple muscles and require coordination of multiple joints, it’s easy to get them wrong and end up injuring yourself. There’s also a chance you may see no booty gains (gasp!) if you don’t understand how to engage your glute muscles at the correct times. 

We believe no squatter should be left behind! We are breaking down exactly how to do the perfect squat to sculpt your lower body and build strength. 

What is a Squat?

A squat is a lower-body compound movement, meaning it requires movement in multiple joints and targets multiple muscle groups. Primary movers in a squat are your quadriceps and glutes. However, because it is a dynamic movement, it also recruits your hamstrings, hip flexors, and core. 

The Benefits of Squats

The squat does more than build a nice behind. Squats target the muscles surrounding your knees, and incorporating them into your workout routine helps prevent knee injuries in other activities like running, cycling, dance, chasing after children, hiking, and plyometric workouts. Since they also require core strength, squats can help improve your posture and prevent lower back injuries from poor abdominal conditioning. You’re also going to notice your heart rate increase when squatting, resulting in a nice calorie burn that can help you lose body fat. 

As a strength exercise, they also help naturally boost testosterone and growth hormones that help you build muscle and burn fat. Squats also target the muscle groups necessary for coordination, balance, speed, agility, and vertical jumps. One of the best parts of squatting — they make you feel like a total boss. Seriously, you will feel like you can conquer the world after a good squat session. 

How to Do a Squat: Step by Step Guide

Step #1: Start with feet slightly wider than hip-distance. Turn your toes out about 45 degrees. 

Step #2: Pull your belly button into your spine to engage your core. 

Step #3: While keeping your back straight (no arching!) and shoulders away from your ears, shift your weight back on your heels and bend your knees down to at least a 90-degree angle. 

Step #4: Make sure you’re pressing your knees slightly away from each other to prevent them from caving in. 

Step #5: Your back should be as upright as your hip flexibility will allow. 

Step #6: When you get to the bottom of your squat, drive through your heels and squeeze your glutes as you straighten your legs back to standing. 

Step #7: Woohoo! You did it, rockstar!

Get Started With a Squat Challenge

Need some added motivation to add squats to your fitness routine? Try this 30-Day Beginner Squat Challenge. You’ll target and tone all the muscles in your lower body with daily squat goals that keep you accountable. 

Want to start adding more squats to your workout routine? If you haven’t already joined our community, sign up for free and get access to unlimited free workouts, with classes for every fitness level.