Squats – Proper Execution, Mistakes & Tips

Squat , is one of the best muscle building exercises , to train more than half of the body’s own muscle mass at the same time! Squats are much more than a leg exercise – they are a basic exercise. In this post I will not only show you the right technique & execution for squats , but also how you can avoid injuries while squatting !

Squats – why should you do this exercise?

Squats, which are also called squats, count together with bench press , shoulder press , chin-ups and deadlifts are the five basic exercises in weight training. Many different muscle groups are trained when the legs are bent. That’s why this exercise is so effective for building muscle.

On the other hand, this also makes squats extremely demanding and exhausting. Many exercisers avoid this muscle exercise for precisely this reason. Squats involve multiple muscles at the same time. However, this is much more effective than training individual muscles in isolation!

Another advantage of the squat is the improvement in jumping and running strength, as well as coordination and balance. In addition, squatting is one of the best stomach, legs and buttocks for women!

So my recommendation to you: If you haven’t squatted yet, then start squatting today!

Which muscles are trained during the squat?

The following muscles are trained when squatting:

Main muscles

  • the entire thigh muscles – musculus quadriceps femoris
  • the hamstrings – musculus biceps femoris
  • the gluteus muscle (buttocks) – musculus gluteus maximus

Supporting muscles

  • the entire lower back – musculus erector spinae
  • Adductors – musculus adductor
  • the calves and even the abs!

Kniebeugen trainierte Muskeln

The squat effectively trains the entire leg muscles!

What training equipment do you need to perform squats?

Basically none at all at first. Simply bending your legs with your own body weight can be enough to get started. Very quickly, however, you will gain more strength through this exercise. Squats can then also be performed with both a barbell and dumbbells.

In the variant with the barbell, it should definitely be in a rack at the beginning of the exercise. The rack offers a high level of security. For example, if you can no longer push a heavy weight up by yourself, the rack will catch the barbell and it will not fall on your neck.

So if you want to build up muscles through squats in the long term, it is recommended for advanced users to use the following additional training equipment :

The right execution & technique for squats in 7 steps

The level of difficulty of this exercise is rated as “high”. In order to fully exploit the potential of the squat, a clean execution and technique is extremely important! In the following I will therefore go into all the important aspects of the classic barbell squat :

1. The stance while squatting

The feet are about shoulder width apart and point outwards at a 30 ° angle. When choosing the stance, make sure that the outer ligaments of the knee joints are not twisted during movement. If the hip is still inflexible at the beginning, a wider stance should be chosen.

2. The barbell for m squats

The barbell rests on the hood muscle (neck muscle) or the rear shoulder muscles. With the thumb lying on the bar, the dumbbell is gripped evenly on the outside a little more than shoulder width. Viewed from the side, the bar should be above the middle of the foot . Wrists and forearms form a straight line to relieve pressure on the elbows.

3. The head position when squatting

Under no circumstances should you put your head back. With your head slightly lowered, your gaze is directed to a point 2-3 meters away on the ground.

4. The downward movement of the squat

It is important to maintain tension in the buttocks and back of the thighs in the downward movement. In no case should you go down too quickly. There is a risk here of falling and losing muscle tension. That comes at the expense of good posture.

In between, it is advisable to take a look between your feet to check the position of your knees. The downward movement should not be stopped when the abdomen and hips are touching. An inclination of the back at a 45 ° angle is not unusual.

5. The lowest position when doing a squat

At the lowest point of the squat, the thighs are a little lower than parallel to the floor. If you follow previous recommendations of a maximum 90 ° knee angle, the knee position becomes unsafe.

The lower back must not be rounded. The back muscles must maintain control over the position of the pelvis. I recommend keeping your back in a slightly hollow back.

6. The upward movement when squatting

You have to go from the crouch into the upward movement explosively (“bounce”). For this purpose, the strength from the hamstrings and not from the leg extensors is used.

The upward movement is a movement out of the hip and up. Not forward! With the back angle at the same angle, shoulders and hips move upwards at the same time. Don’t forget to breathe out!

7. The breathing while squatting

During the exercise you should breathe deeply and evenly to ensure an adequate supply of oxygen. During the downward movement you breathe in, while the upward movement exhales.

When working with heavy weights, you can take a deep breath, hold your breath, and perform the so-called Valsalva maneuver before the heaviest repetition. To do this, you have to exhale against the closed airways (mouth and nose) and tense the abdominal muscles.

This maneuver increases the intra-abdominal pressure and the trunk gains stability in order to be able to handle heavy weights more safely. After reaching the lowest point of the squat, exhale slowly in the upward movement.

4 common mistakes when squatting, which you should definitely avoid

! Pause between downward and upward movement

The upward movement follows the downward movement seamlessly without a break. A break can overload the knee!

! upper body too vertical

If the upper body is tilted too much vertically, the knee position shifts unfavorably far forward.

! Dumbbell bar lies on the cervical vertebra

The dumbbell should rest on the hood muscle or the back muscles, not on the cervical vertebra!

! Too much weight on the dumbbell

The weight chosen should not be the main focus when doing squats. It only serves to reinforce the positive effects of the exercise. To Heavy weights usually cause bad posture and injuries.


For a long time it was assumed that the squat was harmful to the knees – but the opposite is the case! The thigh and lower leg muscles surrounding the knee are strengthened by properly performed squats and can support and stabilize the knee.

If you put a lot of emphasis on correct execution and technique, squats should not be missing in any training plan ! If done regularly, squatting will quickly produce noticeable and visible results. In this sense – shut up and squat!

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