How to: Squats

Client Question:

“I don’t think I’m doing my squats right.  How do I do a proper squat?”

Personal Note: This question is a bit more complex than I thought.  I knew there were two types of squats.  As it so happens, there’s over 20 variations.  However, there are 10 that I thought were the most beneficial.  (And Yes, I tried them!)

Check out these Squats from the Live Fit Girls: 


  1. Normal Squats– Work your Gluts, Quads, Hamstrings, and force your Gastrocnemius (calf muscles) and core to tighten for balance.According to Natural Living Ideas, the proper way to do a normal squat is to:
  • “Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes facing forward.”
  • “Place your hands on your thighs, gaze upwards and lift your chest high.”
  • “Bend your knees, placing weight on the heels, and sit back.”
  • “Keeping the head and chest upright, slide your hands down your thighs, ending where your elbows reach your knees (your knees should not go beyond your toes!)” Personal Note: You can injure the tendons around your knees if you allow your knees to go over your toes.  This is true of any workout.
  • “Hold for five seconds.”
  • “Rise up, pressing through the heels, and straighten out the hips until you’re in the starting position.”
  • Personal Note: Remember to keep a slightly bent knee when you come back up.  Don’t lock your knees!


2) Pulse Squats keep the leg, core, and glut muscles in a constant state of tension to effectively “feel a burn.”

3) Plie Squats work the Hamstrings, Inner Thighs (aka Adductors), Calf muscles, and Inner Gluts.  These also tighten the outer part of your thighs, so I recommend stretching your hips out after this.



4) Heels Up work like the Plie Squats, except the person is standing on their toes.  The Calf muscles are in a constant state of tension with these workouts, to help sculpt the lower leg.

5) Chair Squats effect the inner thigh adductors and hamstrings mostly.  A hamstring stretch would be recommended after this.



6) Suck in your core and try to balance on your toes for Sissy Squats!  These effect the same areas as the Chair Squats, but they also cause tension in your shins.  Point your toes after you do the reps to stretch out your shins.  (Personal Note: Sissy Squats are not made for people with bad balance.  Keep a chair or wall nearby, in case you fall.)



7) Figure 4 Squats are exactly like a Figure 4 stretch.  Only, instead of stretching the piriformis and gluts, this Squat helps to work them.  (Personal Note: I do not recommend this if you suffer from Sciatica. This exercise will either be hard to do, or make your symptoms worse. The Figure 4 stretch might help after doing this one.)



8) Jump Squats are just as the name indicates. Besides this exercise working both legs and gluts, it’s one of the fun looking Squats. (Personal Note: Make sure that your knees don’t go over your toes.  If your knees start to strain, stop the exercise and check to see if you’re doing it right.)

9) Frog Jumps are similar to the Jump Squats.  Watch your knees and have a wall nearby for balance.

10) Squat Jacks are the jumping jacks of the Squats.  (Personal Note: I believe this is the best cardio one of this group.)



Personal Note: I am not a gym instructor.  But as a health professional, I believe it’s important to research subjects I’m unfamiliar with, so I can help others. 

Always remember to go slow with any new exercise.  Consult your doctor if you’re unsure if these exercises are right for you.



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