Learn to squat (bodyweight squat)

Created by Elly McGuinness

Last Updated: August 13, 2020

CATEGORIES: Physical Fitness

If you want to learn to squat, you have come to the right place.  Although it is not everyone’s favorite exercise, there are many things to love about the squat.  It’s one of the best exercises to do as part of your home workout plan, at the park, or anywhere, at any time! No equipment is needed yet it works all the major muscles in the lower body.  Specifically, it will help you strengthen and tone your legs and buttocks.

Completing bodyweight workouts on a regular basis can take you closer towards your goals whether they are to perform better at your chosen sport, or simply have more strength, energy, and vitality.  A few benefits of properly executed bodyweight resistance exercises include improving sports performance, helping to increase muscle tone, and strengthening muscles and bones.

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If you are just starting to learn to squat, the body weight version is the best one to do.  Weights and other progressions can be added later when you have mastered the technique and it is safe to do so.  By the way, make sure you find out what the best type of exercise for beginners is.

The squat exercise in general is a ‘superstar’ in terms of the benefits you can receive from it.  It is an exercise that reflects movement your body is naturally designed to do and it works a large portion of muscle mass at once.  This provides ‘more bang for your buck’ than many other exercises.  It elicits a big response from the nervous system and can ultimately be great for strength, weight loss, and muscle tone.

Let’s look now at how to do a squat.

How to squat

bodyweight squat - start and end position

To learn to squat, start with feet just outside hip distance and turn them out slightly.  Sit back and imagine you are sitting into a chair.  You can even place a chair just behind you, to use as a guide.

You will need to start with a small movement, in order to maintain your posture.  If you are using a chair behind you, work towards lowering until you lightly tap the chair with your buttocks.  When you become more advanced you can work towards getting your thighs parallel to the ground, or even lower.  From there, push up through the hips to the start position.  

Always ensure you maintain correct postural alignment. The chest stays lifted, heels remain on the floor, and knees are in line with feet throughout.  If your knees drop inwards it normally means you need to squeeze your buttocks and/or tighten your abdominals more. 

When you are ready to advance, variations can include narrow squats, wide squats, and one-legged squats.

Additional guidelines to help you learn to squat

  • Warm-up for five minutes (e.g. by going for a walk or a jog) before completing this exercise to ensure you are properly prepared.
  • Keep your abdominals strong and breathe continuously.
  • Start with 10-15 repetitions.  Repeat for two sets with a little rest in between if you are feeling energetic.
  • Refer to a qualified exercise professional or physiotherapist for advice on technique and to determine an appropriate progression for your individual fitness level.  This is especially important if you have any injuries or are new to exercise.

Most people can learn to squat effectively.  It may take a bit of work with an appropriate health and fitness coach if you have muscle imbalances or a lot of tight muscles.  If you really want to see what an expert squat looks like, check out the nearest toddler.  Young kids naturally squat with great technique.  By watching them you will see this movement is a natural one for our body to do.  We just lose our way with it, often as a result of the compounding effects of modern lifestyle.

If you enjoyed reading this blog post you might also want to know about this simple tip to improve your posture or how to get going with a fun playground workout.

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I hope you’ve enjoyed learning about squats for beginners.  Feel free to comment below or get more online fitness advice in my physical fitness category. You might also enjoy my complete guide to resistance bands. It includes two full resistance band workouts!

Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links.This means that if you make a purchase after clicking on one of these recommended service provider links, like an insurance broker, or a travel agent, I may earn a commission – at no extra cost to you. [For my full disclosure, please see my DISCLAIMER page].

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Elly McGuinness


  1. Mindy

    Thanks for the great tips! Squatting is such an effective yet easy exercises that we can do anywhere, anytime!


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