How To Do a Proper Squat

By: Chris Freytag, CPT // December 1, 2022

The basic squat is an extremely effective lower body move that strengthens all leg muscles including glutes, quads, hamstrings and calves. During the squat you use every single lower body muscle, the motion of keeping your balance all while maintaining an upright posture will deliver an entire leg workout with core strength as an added bonus making the squat the ultimate lower body workout.

The basic squat is a user-friendly exercise that anyone can do. Body weight alone is always a great way to build strength and challenge your muscles. That being said, if you have moved past the beginner level you can always add holding dumbbells or supporting a barbell to make the squat more effective. However, make sure you use the instructions below and practice a basic squat until you learn how to do it properly and with a good range of motion. Range of motion is the key to effectiveness in this exercise. Slightly bending your knees is not truly a squat – it’s a knee bend. To be effective in having a stronger and tighter butt and legs.

Related: 11 Squat Exercises for a Strong Lower Body

Squats also help strengthen your back when you practice good posture in your squat and pull your abdominal muscles in throughout. The squat can also reduce future injuries by strengthening both the knee and ankle muscles.

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How To Do A Basic Squat

  1. Stand tall with your feet hip distance apart. Your hips, knees, and toes should all be facing forward.
  2. Bend your knees and extend your buttocks backward as if you are going to sit back into a chair. Make sure that you keep your knees behind your toes and your weight in your heels.
  3. Rise back up and repeat.

What Muscles Does a Basic Squat Work?

How to Do a Basic Squat

Basic Squat is an awesome lower body exercise that works your quads, hamstrings, glutes and core.

Benefits of A Basic Squat

There are many reasons you should incorporate basic squats into your workouts. Here are just a few:

Strengthen and Sculpt Your Legs

The Basic Squat is one of the most perfect exercises for strengthening and sculpting your legs. Not only is it low impact, but it starts with a wide, solid base making it safe for most people to practice. Those who have bad knees might struggle with lunges, but squats give you the stability of both legs working in unison.

Tone and Shape Your Tush

And nice strong, shapely rear end is the envy of all. If that’s what you’re looking for, look no farther than the basic squat. Sitting back into your heels and squeezing your backside as you come up helps you focus on correct form and fire your glute muscles for real results.

Burn Calories

The Basic Squat uses the largest muscles in your body so it ends up burning more calories than things like bicep curls or tricep extensions that rely on smaller areas. You see, the larger the muscle being used, the more energy needed when you work that muscle.

How Many Calories Does a Basic Squat Burn?

People often ask how many calories they are burning in their workouts. Most exercises will generally burn about 100 calories for every 10 minutes you are working hard. Want to burn more? Add weights to your basic squat. Bottom line – the harder you work, the more calories you burn.

Other Exercises Similar to Basic Squat

If you like the Basic Squat and the results you get from it, here are a few more exercises you might want to try.

How To Do Plie Squats

How To Do Glute Bridge

How To Do The Perfect Stationary Lunge

Incorporating Basic Squats Into Your Workouts

Basic Squat is an amazing cardio exercise all on its own! However, you could also incorporate Basic Squat into other workouts to mix them up. Here are some ideas to make that happen.

Use Basic Squat In A Leg Workout

Leg workouts can be done in just a few short moves. Just take these 4 simple moves, do 12 reps each and go through the series three times. We promise you WILL feel your work the next day.

Leg Day Blitz

Do a brief 3-minute warm-up and then:

Basic Squat – 12 reps

Cross Behind Lunge – 12 reps

Forward Lunge – 12 reps

Single Leg Hamstring Bridge – 12 reps each leg

Complete This Series 3 Times

Use Basic Squat In Your Circuit Training

Circuits are a fun way to exercise and get your strength and cardio in all at the same time. The idea behind circuits is to go from one move, or one “station”, to the next with little or not rest in between. Check this out:

Fat Blasting Circuit Training Workout

Move directly from one exercise to the next with little to no break in between. Rest for 1 minute at the end, then repeat the sequence.

30 seconds side lunges

30 seconds high knee run

30 seconds push ups

30 seconds split jumps

30 seconds basic squats

30 seconds bear crawl

30 seconds modified army crawl plank

30 seconds crab walk

Rest 1 minute. Repeat. Stretch.

Use Basic Squat in Your Full Body Strength Workout

Leg Day is great. Upper body day is fantastic. But FULL BODY day is the best! Take one workout and get it all done at once. This one gets it all done and includes the Basic Squat as well as a bunch of other basic strength moves.

Full Body Basic Move Strength Workout

Warm up for about 2-3 minutes then:

Do between 10-15 of each of the following moves:

Basic Squat


Side Lunges

Tricep Dips

Alternating Forward Lunges

Dolphin Dive

Repeat the Sequence

Here are 3 more workouts for you to try that incorporate the Basic Squat!

20-Minute Back to Basic Strength Workout

30-Minute Full Body Workout to Do At Home

Targets: glutes, quads, hamstrings

Exercise Form, Fitness, Lower Body Workouts, Strength Workouts, Training Advice, Workouts

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on Reply

Chris you are phenomenal! I have a long way to go!....I'm 50....and going through menopause hasn't been a fun journey! I watch your videos and I'm struggling to see a energy level is a 4 out of 10....any helpful hints??

    on Reply

    Hi Becky, thanks for your kind words! I hear you - menopause is no fun... Check out these two articles: & Hope they help!

(This will help us personalize your experience so that you can get the best advice possible from us!)
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