Back squat

Level

Beginner

Muscle Groups

Planes of Motion

Outer Unit

Necessary Material

Progression Material

Objective

The squat promotes lower body strength and develops the foundation for more sport-specific training.

A good strength level in the squat exercise contributes significantly to athletic performance.

Starting Position

Position a bar on the back of the shoulders. Choose between a jump stance, an athletic stance (feet slightly wider than shoulder-width and toes pointing forward) or a power-lifting stance (feet wider than shoulder-width apart and toes pointing outward).

Keep the torso erect and the core tight. Look straight ahead.

Execution

Descend with control until the thighs are parallel to the floor. Keep the body weight centred over the heel and mid-foot. Keep the heels in contact with the floor throughout the descent.

Squat back up by extending the knees and hips.

Coaching Keys

Descend in a controlled manner when squatting, with a descending speed of 45 °/second or less, to ensure a strong eccentric contraction. This prevents bouncing out of the bottom position, which can cause knee injury, and prepares the lower body to decelerate movements. Good eccentric strength improves performance and is injury-preventative.

The knees should point in the same direction as the feet throughout the movement. Do not let the knees sway in.

Let the knees move slightly in front of the toes during the descent. Keep the heels in contact with the floor. Restricting the knees to move in front of the toes, results in a more anterior lean of the trunk to maintain the centre of gravity within the foot base. This may minimize the stress on the knees, but forces are inappropriately transferred to the hip and lower back region.

Excessive forward lean of the trunk is a common error for novice lifters performing the squat.

To assure proper positioning of the torso, when there's restricted movement at the ankles, choose for performing the squat in a power-lifting stance. The front squat is a also a good alternative for athletes with limited mobility at the ankle joint.