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How to Develop Better Squat Technique

Hey there,

If you have ever felt frustrated by or uncertain about how to squat properly, you're not alone! I've been there, done that and bought the t-shirt... and now I want to save you some pain and help you understand how to perform squats with the correct technique!

In this guide, I'm going to break it all down in a tangible, educational way that is going to help you squat better so you can feel strong in your glutes and move better overall on a daily basis.

Squats are important, but like so many women, I avoided them like the plague for years because they felt so bad. My knees or hip flexors would be in pain every time I did heavy squats and it felt really frustrating.

They pop up in pretty much every gym class, online program or workout you do - so learning how to do them properly instead of just avoiding them or following the modifications is going to be waaaay more empowering for you in the long run...

Thats why I'm here! This guide is my gift to you because I know how frustrating it feels to be in pain or limited in certain exercises and I'd love to save you some heartache...

Now let me preface this by saying that squats are NOT the be-all-end-all exercise for glute and leg development. They are, however, a foundational primal movement pattern that we can all benefit from for longevity so that is where the intention behind this guide lies.

There's so much I have to share about squat technique but for the sake of this guide, I am going to break it down as simply as I can by teaching you:

  • How to increase your range of motion (ROM) in your ankles to be able to perform squat

  • An effective single leg squat exercise designed to help you develop your leg strength unilaterally (one side at a time) first to iron out any imbalances or limitations

  • How to perform a 'typical' squat pattern with the correct spinal alignment and glute engagement

Disclaimer: Simply reading these instructions will not get you the desired results. Like most things in the gym and life, you develop strength with reps and sets. It's the compounded effort over time that gets you results. Consistency is everything when it comes to strengthening your body and learning to move better so add these exercises into your current program or get in touch if you want help and accountability with training so that you'll actually do the work and get results.

Alright, now, let's get into the guide...

Below is the written breakdown for each exercise and if you keep scrolling to the bottom, there's also a video guide where I break it down step by step in real time for you to follow along. Not leaving any stone unturned here. Get amongst it and liberate your body through kick-ass squat technique!!!

Part 1: Isometric Ankle Mobility Stretch

Step 1: Elevate your front foot onto a step, chair or bench

Step 2: Keeping most of your weight through the front foot, bend your front knee as far forward over the toes as you can without lifting the heel and lean your body into it to add some load

Step 3: Hold this loaded stretch for 30s and then repeat on the opposite leg

Part 2: Deep Squat Development

Step 1: Using a pole or something sturdy you can hold for support, place your feet hip width apart with your toes pointing forward like train tracks and move into your deepest squat range without lifting your heels or allowing your ankles and knees to turn in

Step 2: Lift up tall through your spine and don't allow the spine to tuck or curve. You want to stay in an active squat as long as possible to develop your quad strength and increase your ankle mobility.

Step 3: Aim to work towards holding for 30-60s. You can then start to move towards holding for longer periods up to 5mins to get even more benefit from the deep squat hold over time (this doesn't happen overnight, honour your pace).

Part 3: Front Foot Elevated Split Squats

Step 1: Elevate your front foot onto a step/bench/ chair (the higher the elevation, the easier the exercise because you're decreasing the range of the exercise. Elevate the back heel off the ground to bring your weight into the front leg.

Step 2: Keeping the back leg lengthened, drive your front knee over the toe keeping your front heel pressed down

Step 3: Drive back up through the front heel. Make sure your front knee is tracking over your little toes and not knocking inwards.

Muscles you want to be feeling: VMO (inside quad muscle), glutes, core

Pain you shouldn't be feeling: lower back, knees, ankles, hips

Part 4: ‘Typical’ Squat Exercise

Step 1: Using a bench for guidance, stand with your feet hip width apart slightly in front of the bench with your toes pointed forward like a set of train tracks.

Step 2: Gently tilt your hips back whilst maintaining a neutral spinal alignment (more on spinal alignment in the posture guide here).

Step 3: Keeping your weight in your heels, start to bend your knees over your toes maintaining spinal alignment and touch your bottom to the bench/chair/step and then drive back up through your heels keeping your ankles neutral and knees apart.

Muscles you want to be feeling: glutes, core, quads

Pain you shouldn't be feeling: lower back, knees, ankles, hips

Guided Squat Technique Video:

If you’ve been struggling with squats (or maybe you didn’t even realise you were struggling until you watched this), I want to hear from you! Let me know what changes you notice and if this was helpful for you by getting touch here.

Keep up the awesome work and move well legend!

Lots of love,

Shenoa xx

PS If you want to see more about squats, check out what my current client Sonita has to share about her own experience learning to squat properly here.

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