Squats: The King of All Exercises

The squat is one of the most popular exercises performed in gyms around the world. Squatting provides core, hip and leg strength along with endurance and injury prevention benefits. It also provides the health benefits of raising metabolic rate and helping to maintain a healthy body weight. Correct form is key when performing squats, whether you are using a weighted barbell or simply using your own body weight for resistance. The lack of proper form while squatting can lead to all sorts of injuries from herniated discs to torn ligaments.

Let’s break down the form needed to execute a safe and effective squat. To start feet should be just wider than shoulder width apart with the toes slightly angled outward. During the repetition the knees should not cave inward and should stay over the feet with the knees never shifting forward past the toes. The back should remain flat throughout the duration of the repetition. To help to ensure this, pull the shoulders back and keep your chest up. If your back begins to round forward while squatting, that is an indicator that you are either using too much weight or need to adjust how low you are squatting and not sink as low. It is also important to maintain a slow and controlled speed throughout the repetition. It is important to make sure to keep your weight on your heels, and not shifting your weight forward over your toes as this adds extra stress to your knees and can result in injury. If you are new to squats it is wise to practice them using just your body weight. And if you are worried about falling, use a sink or counter to hang on to with your hands and have a chair close behind you to catch you.

You can also check out the advice and tips we found on this YouTube video:

Squats are very functional exercises and are used in our daily routines. Whether or not you notice it, we all squat every day. We squat when we stand up out of bed and get up from chairs and couches. Not to mention that we squat when performing activities such as picking up and moving furniture. Along with strengthening muscles, weight bearing exercises like squats also strengthen tendons, ligaments, and bones. Weight bearing exercises also help to prevent osteoporosis.

In addition, squats burn a high number of calories because of the sheer number of muscles that are engaged during the exercise. The benefit of this is an increase in lean muscle mass, which helps to raise your body’s natural daily metabolic rate. This, combined with proper diet, can help to maintain a healthy weight.

As you can see, when the right form, weight and safety procedures are used while squatting, the health benefits from this exercise greatly outnumber the risks that are associated with squats.


Peter Hammersmark

Physical Therapist Technician

North Office