Workout of the Day

What's the Best Way to Squat?


It’s easy to get caught up in the paralysis by analysis of seeking out the best version of something. After all, we are into best practices, best movement, and best quality living. But some questions that ask for the “best” X, Y, or Z don’t have a very straightforward answer. Squatting is one of those.

The real answer is that the best way to squat is individual to you. It will depend on why you are squatting (general strength, sport specific training, powerlifting, etc.), your individual anatomy and limitations (limb and lengths, hip anatomy, ankle, hip, and knee mobility, previous injuries, etc.), and what the primary goal of your training is. This also means that the best squat for you may be something of a moving target, changing as your capacities or goals change.

There are, however, rules of thumb that you can use to set yourself on the right squat path.

1 - Your squat pattern should look like your sport.

If your sport is soccer, for example, it would behoove you to spend the most time developing a squat that trains the athletic positions seen in soccer -- feet approximately shoulder-width apart, toes forward, and torso upright. If you are a football lineman, your stance should perhaps be wider, with toes forward and a hip angle that approximates that seen in a drive block, for example. A powerlifter’s stance may be wider, and may use toes forward or toes out, whichever allows the athlete to lift the most weight. If your sport is life, a neutral position of feet shoulder width apart and toes forward that mimics the safest and most functional positions in daily life will be preferred.

2 - Your squat pattern should allow you to adhere to key points of performance.

Neutral spine, femurs tracking in line with the foot, maintaining contact of the whole foot, and strong hip drive and use of posterior chain are examples of key points that should be present in every squat. These lie at the heart of both safety and performance. While your “best” squat variation may look very different from someone else’s “best” squat variation, these points of performance should be present in both. So an athlete with longer femurs may require more forward torso inclination, or an athlete with particularly immobile ankles may require a more toes-out stance, because these are the points changes that allow them to meet the requirements of every squat.

3 - Your squat shouldn’t always be the same.

Even for someone whose sport is squatting (a powerlifter), using more than one form of squat is a superb tool to have in the toolbox. Squat wide, squat narrow, squat to a box, front squat, squat against bands or chains, squat with an odd object, etc. There are benefits to be garnered from all different squat styles. Leave no stone unturned!

There is no “best squat form.” There are principles to which we should adhere in every squat, but ultimately, your best squat will be uniquely yours, and will change with you as you develop. Happy squatting.

- PS


  • Deadlift - 5,5,3,3,3,1,1,1,1


  • 3 rounds for quality:

    • 12 lying hamstring curl

    • 12 back extensions

    • 1 min deadbug