ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Adding Squats to Your Workout Routine

Updated on February 11, 2012

What is a Squat?

Briefly, before we begin learning what a squat is, I want to compel you to read through the whole article and if you can't, read the last section, "Why Should I Add Squats to My Workout?" There are great reasons to add this exercise to your training regime from the strengthening aspect to the simple everyday practical reasons that you should not pass up on. Check it out, thank you, and please enjoy!

So What is a Squat?

Simply put, a squat is exactly what comes to mind, squatting. Concerning the exercise, a squat can be accompanied with a weight either held chest high, such as with a dumbbell or kettle bell, or with a weight upon the shoulders, such as a barbell. (Honestly, just the squatting motion with no weight at all can be a suitable exercise!)

While everyone knows how to squat, when exercising with the squat, there is a proper form to protect your body from injury. Proper form will also guarantee you get the most benefit from this full body workout that not only strengthens your legs, but also strengthens your core, back and shoulders. This is great for everyday activities like picking up your kids or even putting the dishes away.

For another good explanation of what a squat is see the article: Adding Dead Lifts to Your Workout Routine

So do you have the general idea in mind? Let's move forward.

How to Squat

To get ourselves ready for the weight room, lets use imagery to visualize good form then apply it to our exercises. Much like the Deadlift article, we should imagine ourselves standing before a milk crate full of bricks. To lift this crate we are not going to bend over, but we are going to lower our buttocks to the space behind our heels*. Keep your back as straight as possible and what helps with that is sticking your chest out and sticking your butt out.

*The goal here is to keep your knees from reaching over your toes. If you haven't been aware of this before, it isn't a great error, but something to be mindful of. If you are having trouble seeing the meaning, take a moment to stand up and then squat down, most likely your knees are farther forward than your toes. You can also correct this by trying to keep your shins perpendicular to the ground (or always straight up and down).

Once you have lowered yourself, grasp the crate and push your yourself up with your legs. Keep your chest out and your bottom out to make sure your back stays straight, and you just learned how to properly lift an object off the ground! Along with proper squat form....

Squat Rack
Squat Rack
Barbell Placement
Barbell Placement

Adding Weights

In the example above we lifted a crate of bricks, but now let's place ourselves in the gym standing before a squat rack.

You might have seen this rack before and seen men or women doing their squat workouts here. While it might seem intimidating, these people who squat regularly had to start somewhere too. There should be a barbell on this rack and it might not be at the right height for you. Feel free to adjust the height for your use, preferably chest high.

Begin without adding weight plates to the barbell so you can get familiar with the feel and form. This next part is crucial and you will probably decide you do not like squats if you get it wrong. We are going to position ourselves under the barbell, resting it on our upper backs. You want to squeeze your shoulder blades together to create a 'muscle cushion' on which to place the barbell. Warning: If you place the bar too high, you can hurt your neck and if you place it too low, you are at risk of dropping the barbell behind you.

  • Make sure the barbell is centered and balanced.
  • While you have the barbell positioned on your back, grip and hold in place on each side a comfortable distance from your shoulders.
  • Now be sure you back is straight (chest out - butt out) and push up with your legs

Now that you have the bar on your shoulders, centered and grasped, under your control, take a step backwards and position yourself in the squat rack so you are centered (to keep from hitting the sides when squatting).

Now lower your buttocks with your chest out and back straight. For this first time, just get comfortable and keep yourself balanced. Lower yourself until your thighs are parallel to the ground then push yourself back up. That is your first rep! I would suggest doing three super sets of 12 repetitions. When you feel comfortable with the technique, add more weight.

If you go too hard at first, you are guaranteed to be sore afterwards. Feel free to take it at an easy pace, gradually increasing weight and intensity.

There are thousands of variations on the squat, here are some resources:

Why Should I Add Squats to My Workout?

The barbell squat demonstrated above along with other variations are great ways to work out fast. Are you looking for economy in your gym time? Squats will work several muscle groups at a time, eliminating the need for so many isolation workouts.

Once you get the hang of barbell squats, the variations are endless and each one just as valuable as the next. If you want a cardio workout, lower the weight and raise the repetitions for an exhausting good time. If you are looking for muscle growth and strength gain, raise the weight and watch your body transform into one solid machine.

The most important benefits might simply be the balance improvement you will have in day to day life and the injury prevention that will occur from not only your muscles growing stronger, but your ligaments and bones also. As your muscles grow, you will begin to lose excess fat. Ultimately, with a proper workout regime you can quickly reach a place you have always wanted with the squatting workouts.

Please feel free to ask questions and seek assistance from others. Sometimes the best resources will be the guys in the gym who have done it before.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • daisyjae profile image


      6 years ago from Canada

      I think squats are the best exercise for your legs. I do them all the time. Rated up& useful

    • Millercl profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      I never water skied but I am sure they would be helpful!

      Thanks for the comment!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      great way to get exercise. i use to do lots of squats to condition myself for watering skiing.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)