How to Squat
is one of
the most fundamental movements in human life. Think of how many times
you do these movements during the day.
more examples I’m sure, but that gives you an idea.
up from a chair or couch
something up off the ground
out of a car
out of bed
Since the squat is used so often in daily life, being able to do that
motion is quite important for quality of life and independence as you
That is why I regularly have my clients practice squatting. When done
repeatedly, it’s a great strengthening exercise since it uses most of
the larger muscles in the legs.
You may want to incorporate a set of squats into your workout routine,
too. But before you do, you’ll want to watch the video below. It shows
the common mistakes people make when squatting.
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Squatting Mistakes Explained
As you start moving upward, do your knees come
shouldn’t. The knee should line up between the hip and foot when viewed
from the front.
As you get up, do you feel yourself moving
slightly to one side? Does
it feel like there’s more weight on one leg than the other? Does one
leg feel like it’s doing all the work?
This is pretty common with people who’ve had an injury or surgery on a
hip, knee, or ankle. While the bad leg is healing, they shift more of
the workload onto the good leg.
Unfortunately, this pattern becomes so engrained that they continue to
squat this way even after the injured leg has healed. If you continue
to do this, you’re always going to have one leg that’s weaker.
When squatting, try not to shift your weight. Try to feel like you have
equal pressure on both feet and feel the muscles of both legs doing an
equal amount of work.
People who do this usually have trouble
getting out of a chair, so they
try to create some forward momentum by leaning their back forward and
looking at the floor. Then, once they’re off the chair, all they have
to do is straighten their back up.
Moving the head quickly from looking at the floor to looking straight
ahead is dangerous because it throws off your sense of balance
When getting out of a chair, it’s best to pick a spot out in front of
you on a wall or other structure that is about four or five feet high
and fix your eyes on it as you get up. Looking forward in this manner
will ensure that your head is up and your torso doesn’t lean forward
Wider objects are more stable. Squatting with
your feet together gives
you a narrow base of support and can result in a loss of balance. Get
your feet about ten inches apart or more before you try to stand up.
This is a simple fix and will result in much greater stability.
This is one of my favorites. I always tell my
students that I should
not be able to hear them as they are sitting down.
When you are squatting for exercise, remember that you are
strengthening your muscles both on the way up as you move against
gravity, and on the way down, as you try to control your descent.
Gravity wants to pull you down into that chair and make you PLOP. Try
to resist it and set down gently.
You may be too weak in the legs to do the squat correctly from a chair.
The good news is that you can improve your leg strength over time. For
now, you can try the squat from your bed instead of from a chair. That
will make it easier because the bed is higher. Or you could try the
squat from a chair that has armrests and push off of the armrests as
you get up. Over time, try to use your arms less and less.
Watch the video again if you need to, then go do some squats from a
chair. Are you making any of the mistakes? You may even want to have
someone watch you or do it in front of a mirror.
To strengthen your legs using the squat, you can do 1 or 2 sets of 8-15
squats 2 or 3 times per week. On top of that, try to think about your
squat form every time you get up from a chair.