Taking on King Squat

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Massage isn’t necessarily about scented candles, gentle pan pipe music and trying not to fall asleep, explains expert Mel Mitchell

Regular readers will remember May’s articles in which I spoke about the fundamental movements we use in everyday life. This month I thought I would explore in greater depth what is often described as the king of all exercises – others known as The Squat!
The squat is one of the most effective exercises anyone can do. Not only does it train every muscle in the lower body but it also works the upper back and core. Most of us don’t really think about ‘good squat form’ as we come up and down from a chair (which essentially is squatting!). But what does make a good squat?

No rules
Believe it or not there is no one best way to squat, and it should be tailored to the individual. If you watch a dozen people squat, you’ll see each of them will squat differently, particularly in terms of their stance. I often adopt the penguin stance with my toes pointing outwards. Does this mean my squat is any less efficient? Absolutely not! Essentially, as long as your squat meets the following criteria, chances are you have good squat form.

  1. Lower the crease of your hips to below your knees
  2. Neutral spine
  3. Weight evenly distributed between the ball and heel of the foot.


When coaching squats, I often cue people to stand with feet shoulder-width apart, but even this may need to be adjusted depending on the individual’s natural stance.
One of the most important things is that you keep your back straight with your chest up, keeping your spine in neutral. Squatting with rounded shoulders or having your chest down is not only less efficient but could lead to injury when squatting with added weight. Squatting with your chest down means your weight is going through your toes rather than your mid foot. There also might be a tendency to lift your heels as you go deeper into the squat. Try transferring your weight more towards your heels and you may find that not only does your chest lift, but you’ll feel more stable.

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