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How to Squat

By August 13, 2013January 14th, 2014Strength Training

Today I have a new article on TNation pertaining to squatting technique. In the article, I touch upon:

  • Knee position
  • Stance width
  • Bar placement
  • Foot flare
  • Foot action
  • Eccentric lowering initiation
  • Concentric rising initiation

This is my conclusion:

Optimal deep squat form is just common sense. You don’t need an advanced understanding of biomechanics. You just need to understand that it’s in your best interest to properly distribute the forces across and within the different joints involved in squatting.

Try these tips and see if they help your performance. And always remember to lighten up the load when learning new techniques.

Click HERE to read the article.

Some good points have been raised in the comments section already.




  • Eric Engelken says:

    Brett this is by far my favorite article you’ve ever written! I think all the points you made are a great recipe to avoid both knee and lumbar pain when squatting. Please keep writing more articles about squatting since this is my favorite exercise!

  • wickets says:

    Good article…thank you

  • Tyler says:

    Brett, I’ve been knees out squatting for well over a year now. Everything feels great and my numbers have gone up. Lately, I’ve been looking into getting into the Oly lifts, and I stumbled upon this site (dedicated to Chinese weightlifting). I would really love your thoughts on his new post about how they don’t go knees out.

    It would be awesome to hear your thoughts! But not til you’re back from Hawaii!!!

  • dave says:

    Hi Bret

    Great article
    I have trouble getting my glutes to fire particularily my right one. I get dull groin pain on my right side after squats. I am doing the things you recomend in a post you wrote about glute imbalances. Except the squats.
    I am thinking it would be best for me to learn to deadlift without weight with an arch at the bottom and a posterior tilt using my glutes and abs at the top before I start squating?

    On a completly different note I have been recording myself doing pullups recently and I tend to arch my back as I pull. So I am trying top get out of this habit. I have read doing them arched doesn’t use the latts as much but I thought when deadlifting the latts would make the arch. Do the lower fibres of the latt arch the back and the upper fibres pull the elbows down and back. I find it very difficult to activate my lower latt fibres when trying to do pullups un arched If I try to turn them on my back arches. What do you think?

    Thanks Dave

    • Derrick Blanton says:

      Dave, your abs are likely not strong enough to counteract the pull of the lower lats into spinal extension. Mike Robertson wrote an absolutely brilliant article on this recently: “Lats: Friend or Foe”. Worth a look.

      You are on the right track diagnosing the problem, and it will be a problem if you persist. Over time, over thousands of reps, lumbar hyperextension adds up to pain and mobility problems up and down the chain, as it just gets more and more dominant, and the opposing muscles just get more and more deactivated/inhibited.

      Yes you must stabilize one end of a muscle to get good contraction on the other end. The lower lat attachment must be buttressed, counteracted, by support from the lower abs and superior glutes, to prevent the excessive spinal lumbar extension and arching that you describe.

      Lower abs, superior glutes. PPT force. Over and over. It keeps coming up!

      (P.S> Inhibition of the glutes is another unfortunate side effect of this problem, which may or may not be part of the ‘dull ache’ that you describe with the SQ’s., as the adductor starts to pick up the slack for hip extension, and also put in a bad position within the socket due to poor hip external rotation.)

  • Mike Kerr says:

    Hi Brett

    Thanks for all your excellent work regarding rehab and strength work, it has been a real help to me and my clients. I have a quick question if that’s ok? One of my clients is having pain when squatting and lunging with weights. Normal body weight is fine. His form is good and foot mechanics and support are excellent. I wondered if you had any views on this at all?

    Many thanks


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