Strength Training 101: How to Do Squats

how to do squats

Are you looking to sculpt a better booty but the stair climber just isn’t cutting it? The squat is a classic move we’re sure you’ve seen everywhere, from fitness infomercials to the gym floor. It’s one of the best ways to shape your backside, as well we strengthen your legs. The key to an effective squat? Form. We’ve broken down the basic bodyweight squat and added some fun modifications once you’ve perfected the original.

How to do squats

Squats may be a simple move, but they’re hard to get right. Posture is so important not only in our everyday lives (we slouch at our desks, too), but also while you’re working out. Improper form can make the move less effective and even lead to injury. Follow the steps below to perfect your squat.

  1. Stand with your feet slightly shoulder-width apart. Plant your feet firmly into the ground, focusing most of your weight in your heels.
  2. Stand tall and extend your arms out in front of you for balance. Keep your core engaged.
  3. Leading with your hips, slowly sink down like you’re sitting in a chair until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Try not to arch your back, but it’s okay if you naturally lean forward a little bit. You want to make sure that your knees stay over your ankles and don’t go past your toes.
  4. Push through your heels and rise back up to start.

Work every angle

Want to switch up your workout but still target your glutes? Check out these bodyweight variations that will leave your legs shaking.

Jump Squat

how to do a jump squat

Cardio + strength = full body workout.

  1. Lower down into a basic squat.
  2. Once you’re deep into your squat, press through your feet and launch yourself back into the starting position. Pretend that you are spring uncoiling.

Your movement can be as explosive as you want, whether that’s barely hopping off the ground or bringing your heels to your backside.


Want to really feel the burn? Try doing 100 mini pulses at the end of your butt workout. This mini movement will really make a difference.

  1. Lower yourself into a squat but instead of lifting all the way up, only raise halfway.
  2. Sink back down to the bottom of your squat and repeat.

Plié Squat

Have you ever noticed the legs of a ballerina? They’re rippled with muscles. After doing a few reps of plié squats, you’ll know why.

how to do a plie squat

  1. Stand with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart and toes angled outwards.
  2. Keeping your tailbone tucked and torso tall, lower down into your squat.
  3. Once your thighs are parallel to the ground, raise back to start.

Do you want an extra challenge? Try performing these just on your toes or perform plié squat pulses. This move will really target your inner thighs.

Put on some weight

You may be going to the gym to lose some pounds, but we promise that adding a few to your squats will get you to your goals faster.

Barbell Squat

Call in for back-up! Grab a partner in crime or a personal trainer to be your spotter for this one. We recommend starting off with the lightest weights possible until you’re used to the additional weight.

how to do a barbell squat

  1. Position the squat rack so that it’s appropriate for your height. We like to have the bar slightly higher than our shoulders.
  2. Place the bar on the back of your shoulders and slowly lift the barbell off the rack.
  3. Slowly squat down, keeping your core engaged and your torso as tall as possible.
  4. Once you reach the bottom of the squat, push through your heels and raise back to start.

Bulgarian Split Squat

We hope this foreign name inspires you to get in shape for your next vacation. All you need is a medium weight (e.g. dumbbells, kettlebells or a light barbell) and a bench.

how to do a bulgarian split squat

  • Stand about 2 or 3 feet away from a bench, feet shoulder width apart, and your back facing the bench. You can do this move with no weight, a weight in each hand, or a lighter barbell on your shoulders.
  • Move one foot behind you, and place it onto the bench; your toes should rest on the bench.
  • Keeping your upper body tall, lower into a lunge until your knees are over your toes.
  • Push through your standing leg and raise back to start.

Do you have trouble keeping your balance? Try holding a single weight to your chest.

Want to become a master of different types of squats? Try out a Group Power class today!

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